As of Sept. 1, almost 100 new or changes to laws took effect, many of which pertained to transferred authority.

Many traffic related licenses that were once the duty of the Texas Department of Public Safety and other regulatory agencies are now under the guidance of the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. Some of the newer laws also affect the same people who were already regulated by TDLR.

As an example, a code enforcement officer while performing official duties may possess or carry an instrument used for deterring an animal bite.

Another important change was to the repeal of the driver responsibility program and the amount, and allocation, of state traffic fine funds; eliminating program surcharges; authorizing and increasing criminal fines; increasing a fee.

Those former drivers who were not able to qualify for a license because of prior neglectful behavior, ie. driving without a license or failure to maintain insurance are now being given a reprieve from having to pay fines and penalties – for now. 

Be forewarned, if you violate some of those same laws, the fines and such will be much stiffer in the future. 

Another bill that came through the Texas Senate removed certain barriers for handicap parking and tightened up the language of how those parking spaces are to be labeled going forward.

Other topics of concern were hearing instrument fitters and dispensers, laser hair removal, massage therapy, midwives, orthotists and prosthetists and no less than seven bills pertaining to podiatry. The most noteworthy of which was House Bill 3285, which related to programs and initiatives pertaining to opioid addiction and misuse.

There were an additional 10 bills of various general agency matters such as helping former release inmate in job assistance; the ability of a criminal conviction inhibiting certain license applications; human trafficking prevention training for certain health care professionals.

These and many other changes can be found at tdlr.texas.gov.

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