With the start of the new year, it is important to know about the laws that went into effect. Certain laws that were passed during the 85th Legislative Session came into effect earlier this month. These new laws range from bills relating to motor vehicle titles to the Texas Board of Nursing. Each of the bills that took effect this month went through a 140-day legislative session. During that 140-day period, these bills went before House and Senate Committees before going before the Texas House and Senate as a whole and then going to the Governor’s office.

The laws mentioned below represent some of those pieces of legislation that passed and went into effect this month:
• Senate Bill (SB) 2076 is relating to the titling of motor vehicles in this state. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will still issue original titles. But if a title is lost or destroyed, vehicle owners may obtain a Certified Copy of Title (CCO). Newly issued CCOs will supersede any previously issued title or CCO.
• SB 1329 is relating to the operation and administration of and practice in courts in the judicial branch of state government. As the state’s population grows in some areas while declining in others, the judicial needs of the various regions change. These shifting demographics can significantly impact the caseload of the existing courts. Historically, the Texas Legislature has compensated for changes in population by establishing new courts or changing existing judicial boundaries. Several factors are analyzed in the evaluation process, including increased caseloads, case backlogs, substantial population growth, and county support. In order to ensure that the creation of new courts and the modification of judicial jurisdictions is conducted in an orderly manner, SB 1329 consolidates these changes into a single omnibus bill.
• House Bill (HB) 2950 relates to the continuation and functions of the Texas Board of Nursing (BON) and to the regulation of the practice of nursing. Major Provisions in HB 2950 include: Establishes requirements for clinical competency programs, such as Excelsior College, to continue to operate in Texas; Continues the exception to initial licensure standards for graduates of certain out-of-state nursing programs, namely Excelsior College; Creates a process, similar to steps for an in-state program, for program improvement if a program’s national exam passage rate falls below BON’s standard for consecutive years; Requires BON to develop a path to initial licensure for graduates of out-of-state programs that are not substantially equivalent to Texas standards; Limits the use of subjective standards for licensure decisions by requiring BON to demonstrate a connection between a nurse’s conduct and the practice of nursing.

It is important to learn and know about the new laws that were passed by the 85th Texas Legislature. If you would like to view any of the other legislation that was passed during last session, these websites are great resources:

The Texas Legislature.
The Texas House of Representatives.
The Texas Senate

If you have questions regarding any of the information mentioned in this article, please do not hesitate to call my Capitol or District Office. As always, my offices are available at any time to assist with questions, concerns or comments (Capitol Office, 512-463-0672; District Office, 361-949-4603).

– State Representative Todd Hunter, District 32

Rep. Hunter represents Nueces County (Part). He can be contacted at todd.hunter@house.texas.gov or at 512-463-0672.