New Year Brings New Laws – Part III
On January 1, 2012, new laws passed during the 82nd Regular Legislative Session went in to effect for the first time. These new laws range from bills addressing property tax exemptions to regulation of metal recycling entities. 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.
The laws mentioned below represent some of those pieces of legislation that were passed in conjunction with House and Senate Joint Resolutions which allow for changes to the Texas Constitution. These pieces of legislation passed and went into effect on January 1, 2012 after receiving voter approval on November 8, 2011:
- Senate Bill (SB) 516 amends the Tax Code to entitle the surviving spouse of a 100 percent or totally disabled veteran who qualified for a residence homestead exemption from property taxes on the basis of a service-related disability when the disabled veteran died to a residence homestead exemption for the same property to which the disabled veteran’s exemption applied. This exemption is dependent on the basis that the surviving spouse has not remarried since the death of the disabled veteran and that the property was the residence homestead of the surviving spouse when the disabled veteran died and that it remains as such. The bill entitles a surviving spouse who qualifies for such an exemption, if the surviving spouse subsequently qualifies a different property as the surviving spouse’s residence homestead, to a tax exemption for the subsequently qualified homestead in an amount equal to the dollar amount of the tax exemption for the former homestead in the last year in which the surviving spouse received the exemption for that homestead. This again is dependent on the basis that the surviving spouse has not remarried since the death of the disabled veteran. The surviving spouse is also entitled to receive from the chief appraiser of the appraisal district in which the former residence homestead was located a written certificate providing the information necessary to determine the amount of the exemption to which the surviving spouse is entitled on the subsequently qualified homestead. Senate Joint Resolution 14 was listed as Proposition 1 on the November ballot and passed with 686,479 Texans casting their vote. Of those 686,479, 82.88% voted in favor.
- Senate Bill 144 amends the Code of Criminal Procedure to authorize the governor, in all criminal cases except treason and impeachment, and on the written signed recommendation and advice of the Board of Pardons and Paroles or a majority thereof, to grant a pardon to a person who successfully completes a term of deferred adjudication community supervision. Senate Joint Resolution 9 was placed on the November ballot as Proposition 9. The amendment passed 57.31% to 42.68% after 669,639 people casted their vote.
Each of these laws went in to effect on January 1, 2012. It is important to learn and know about the new laws that were passed by the 82nd Texas Legislature. If you would like to view any of the other legislation that was passed during the 82nd Regular Session and the first called special session on your own, these websites are great resources:
- The Texas Legislature at www.capitol.state.tx.us .
- The Texas House of Representatives at www.house.state.tx.us .
- The Texas Senate at www.senate.state.tx.us .
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).