• January 14, 2014



NEW YEAR BRINGS NEW LAWS (Part III) 150 150 Elect Todd Hunter


On January 1, 2014, new laws that were passed during the 83rd Regular Legislative Session went into effect for the first time. These new laws range from bills addressing residential lease agreements to the training of employees at the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. Each of the bills that took effect on January 1 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 on January 1:
• SB 60 according to its Bill Analysis amended current law by authorizing the placement of a security freeze on the consumer file or other record created or maintained by a consumer reporting agency regarding a person that is under the age of 16 years old. Currently, credit consumers may place freezes on their credit file to prevent identity thieves from opening lines of credit in their name. Because of the fact that most children do not have an established credit file, they are particularly susceptible to tarnished credit histories in the event that their identity is stolen.
• SB 771 amended current law to require Child Protective Services supervisors at the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to complete training prior to assuming the role in a supervisory position. Prior to this bill, a supervisor had up to 60 days after starting in his or her new role to complete their training. According to a previous Senate committee on Health and Human Services interim report, they were able to identify some possible changes in protocol that they found could end up helping reduce the turnover experienced by the agency.
• SB 945 amended current law to try and help patients in hospitals understand the level of training of those that are providing direct patient care. Specifically, this bill requires that a health care provider in a hospital wear a photo identification badge that clearly states the name of the provider, what department they work in, and their title. In addition to that, the badge must also include the state of provider’s status as a student, intern, trainee, or resident.
• SB 1120 amended current law which pertains to a residential tenant’s lease obligation following the loss of the leased premises as a result of a natural disaster. Generally, after a natural disaster, an apartment or property management company will often relocate a resident to another unit if the unit the tenant is renting is uninhabitable. This bill prohibits an apartment or property management company from requiring a displaced resident to sign a new lease with a term for longer than the existing lease term before relocating them to a habitable unit.

It is important to learn and know about the new laws that were passed by the 83rd Texas Legislature. If you would like to view any of the other legislation that was passed during the 83rd Regular 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.state.tx.us or at 512-463-0672.