New law requires freestanding emergency centers to post health insurance information

A law enacted in 2017 by the 85th Texas Legislature, HB 3276 by Oliverson, requires a freestanding emergency medical care facility to list all health insurance plans for which the facility is a participating provider. These facilities, which have become more common across Texas in recent years, are not physically attached to a hospital, although they may have a hospital affiliation. Continue reading

Posted in Insurance, Public Health, Regulation and Licensing | Tagged , , , ,

Texas Legislature’s 2017 regular and special sessions in review

domecenterThe 85th Texas Legislature considered a variety of issues in 2017. Members filed 6,800 bills and joint resolutions during the regular session, which ended May 29, and 560 bills and joint resolutions during the first called session, which ended August 15. In the regular session, 1,211 bills were approved by both chambers and sent to the governor for approval, followed by 12 more during the first called session.

Gov. Greg Abbott signed a total of 1,019 bills into law and allowed 153 to become law without his signature. The governor also vetoed 50 bills and some individual line-items in the general appropriations act. Continue reading

Posted in General Government | Tagged

Legislature directs some pre-K spending on quality standards

The 85th Texas Legislature last year eliminated funding for a grant program designed to improve the quality of prekindergarten (pre-K) programs but adopted a budget rider requiring all districts and charter schools offering pre-K to use a portion of their regular formula funding to meet the program’s established high-quality standards. These standards, contained in Education Code, secs. 29.167 – 29.171, include requirements for curriculum, student progress monitoring, teacher qualifications, and family engagement. Continue reading

Posted in Public Education | Tagged , , , ,

Laws let Texans donate to fund testing of sexual assault kits

Two laws enacted by the 85th Legislature this year allow Texans who are obtaining a driver’s license or registering a vehicle to contribute money for the testing of evidence from sexual assaults or other sex crimes. By early 2018, the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles expects to have the system available for vehicle registrations and the Department of Public Safety (DPS) plans to begin collecting donations during the driver’s license application process. Continue reading

Posted in Criminal Justice, Public Safety | Tagged , , ,

Texas paves the way for automated vehicles

With the enactment earlier this year of SB 2205 by Hancock and HB 1791 by Pickett, Texas joined 20 other states that expressly regulate automated vehicles. Until then, Texas law had not addressed automated vehicles directly, leaving it ambiguous how certain laws referencing vehicle operators applied.

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Posted in Transportation | Tagged , , ,