We are almost a day away from ushering in a new year, as well as new laws for the State of Texas. These laws cover everything from ending surprise medical fees, stricter provisions in reporting harassment at universities and colleges to how you store your handguns or other firearms as well as other firearm laws.
HB 1143 relates to transportation or storage of a handgun or other firearm in a school parking area.
This law says that any school district or open-enrollment charter school in Texas may not prevent a school employee from transporting or keeping a firearm or ammunition in a locked vehicle in the schools parking area. Nor can the district or school regulate or tell the employee how or in what manner the firearm and-or ammo must be stored as long as it’s not in plain view.
HB 1791 is another law that relates to the carrying of handguns by licensed holders on the property that is owned or leased by a government entity.
HB 1791, says that as long as you are licensed, you can take your firearms to City Council meetings, County Commissioners Court meetings unless they are prohibited under Section 46.03 or 46.035 of the Texas Penal Code.
HB 121 this law provides a defence if you carry a firearm into a prohibited place. I’ve known people this law would have helped, had it always been in effect.
What is happening here is if you walk into a store or other establishment, and you didn’t notice the sign that says you cannot carry your firearm, that you will be afforded protections as long as you leave after being told you cannot have your gun on you. Before this, there was no defence to prosecution for trespass by certain persons carrying a firearm.
HB 302 this law prohibits residential lease agreements from restricting the possession of firearms by residents or their guests.
I used to work, part-time, as a property manager here in El Paso. The owner had language written into the lease that unless you were law enforcement you, and your guests, could not possess, store, hold or otherwise keep any firearm or ammunition on the property. This law now stops the property owner from including such language in any lease agreement.
HB 1177 concerns carrying a handgun during a state of disaster.
This new law prevents a person from being charged with the crime of carrying a handgun without License to Carry while evacuating from an area that has been declared a state or local disaster are, or while returning to the hare. It also allows you to keep your firearm if you are in a shelter during the time of the disaster.
[Editors Note: Keep in mind, all gun laws, old and new, only apply to you as long as you are not barred under State or Federal law from owning or possissing a firearm]
HB 1387 changes the limits on how many school marshals may be appointed to serve on a public or private school campus.
Before this change, it used to be on marshal per 200 students, and one per building where students receive instruction. The limit of 1-per-200 students has been changed to 1-per-100
Senate Bill 212 concerns harassment at colleges and universities.
When someone comes to any employee of a public, private or independent institution of higher education to report sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence or stalking against a fellow student or employee, they must report it to the schools Title IX coordinator. It’s a Class B misdemeanour if they don’t make the report and enhanced to a Class A if they intended to conceal the incident they were required to report.
This new law also bars such schools and employees form disciplining or discriminating against anyone who, in good faith, reports the incident and cooperates in the investigation, disciplinary process or judicial proceedings.
Senate Bill 1264 covers surprise medical costs.
I remember having to go to an emergency room that was not in my network. When the hospital billed the insurance company, I received a bill for the difference. It was astonishing, the amount I had to pay.
This bill is to end those surprises. Part of this bill has been in effect since September 1, 2019. The part that goes into force on 1 January 2020 requires that an HMO pay for emergency care performed by non-network providers and physicians in an amount the organisation determines is reasonable for the emergency care. The law also stipulates that the non-network provider or physician cannot bill the patient and the patient has no responsibility for an amount higher than what is covered under their plan.
House Bill 1532 partly went into effect on September 1, 2019, as well.
This bill will require nonprofit health organisations to develop anti-retaliation policies for physicians and submit biennial reports to the Texas Medical Board. On Sept. 1, 2019, this bill also amended the Medical Practice Act to require the Texas Medical Board to accept and process complaints against a certified nonprofit health organisation in the same way as it would allegations against a health professional. The TMB can refuse to certify, revoke the certification or impose an administrative penalty against an organisation that violates the act.