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 , , ,

Voting procedures from 2016 in effect for November elections

The state’s voter identification policies used in the 2016 presidential election will remain in effect for the Nov. 7 election, based on a federal appeals court ruling in September that said it would minimize confusion among voters and election officials.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling said the temporary policies will stay in effect until the court can hear oral arguments on a new law enacted this year by the 85th Legislature, SB 5 by Huffman. Continue reading

Posted in General Government | Tagged , ,

New Texas law affects property damage lawsuits

Recent flooding and property damage caused by Hurricane Harvey in Houston and other Gulf Coast communities have drawn public attention to the potential impact of HB 1774 by G. Bonnen, a new law that revises state statutes governing lawsuits on weather-related property insurance claims. The bill took effect September 1, shortly after the hurricane made landfall, and affects property damage claims and lawsuits filed after that date.

The bill establishes a new requirement for a person or company with property insurance to give an insurance carrier at least 61 days’ notice before filing a lawsuit against the carrier for a natural disaster-related property damage claim. Continue reading

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

New state laws allow for changes to driver’s license appearance

The photograph on a Texas driver’s license no longer has to be in color under a new law enacted this year by the 85th Texas Legislature. HB 1345 by Dale, which made the change, applies to a license issued or renewed on or after September 1, 2017. The Department of Public Safety (DPS) has not stated whether it will change photographs on driver’s licenses, only that the new law will allow the department to explore all options when the next contracting opportunity arises. Continue reading

Posted in Public Safety, Transportation | Tagged , , , ,

DFPS to expand life skills assessment to younger foster youth

Under a new law enacted by the Texas Legislature this year, the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) must conduct independent living skills assessments for a wider age range of youth in foster care. The assessment is used to identify the types of assistance youth may need to prepare for adult life outside the foster care system.

SB 1758 by Zaffirini, which took effect September 1, requires the assessment for youth in DFPS permanent managing conservatorship who are 15 years old and for all youth in DFPS conservatorship who are at least 16 years old. Starting September 1, 2018, DFPS also must conduct assessments for 14-year-olds in permanent managing conservatorship. Before the new law took effect,  DFPS conducted the assessment, which is in an online self-reporting format, around a youth’s 16th birthday. Continue reading

Posted in Human Services | Tagged , ,