On September 1, 2021, more than 650 new Texas laws went into effect. As companies ensure compliance with several of the new laws, Jackson Walker provides a summary below of a number of effective and forthcoming new laws.
– “Constitutional transport”
– Diversity, equity and inclusion
– Open government
– Claims of sexual harassment
– Texas Code of Business Organizations
For an overview of the 2021 Texas legislative session, see “Overview of the 87th Texas Legislature: Key Keys, State Budgets, and the Role of Jackson Walker.” Please note that this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.
New law on constitutional transport
Now in effect, the 2021 Firearms Transportation Act authorizes Texans 21 years of age or older, who are not prohibited by state or federal law from owning a firearm, to legally carry a gun without a license to carry it. By law, property owners and commercial operators may prohibit the transportation of weapons to their premises, but must warn them by posting a sign at each entrance to the property that
- states “According to section 30.05, Penal Code (criminal offense), a person may not enter this property with a firearm” or a language that is substantially similar;
- includes the above language in both English and Spanish;
- appears in contrasting colors with capital letters at least an inch tall; i
- it is clearly visible to the public.
For more information on the new law, see “Legislative Update: Impact of the New” Constitutional Transportation “Law on Commercial Owners.”
Legislation related to the pandemic
Governor Abbott signed three COVID-19-related bills and they are now in effect.
- SB 6, called the Pandemic Liability Protection Act, provides retroactive liability protection for health care providers, first aid and other businesses, and extends current immunity to physicians, health care providers and first aid “during a disaster caused by man, a natural disaster or a health emergency “. In addition, according to the bill, doctors and those other professionals are generally not liable for injuries or deaths “arising from care, treatment, or lack of care or treatment” related to or affected by the pandemic.
- SB 25 requires nursing homes and assisted living centers to allow families to designate an “essential caregiver” who will be allowed face-to-face visits, even during a pandemic. The legislation clarifies that essential caregivers do not need to provide “the necessary care” to qualify, and that a center or provider cannot require a caregiver to give them that care. According to SB 25, nursing homes, state-supported living centers and long-term care facilities can file a petition with the Texas Commission on Human and Health Services (HHSC) to suspend visits. of designated essential caregivers if the face-to-face visit “poses a serious risk to the community. ”SB 25 limits the initial suspension of visits to seven days, regulates the duration of any HHSC-approved suspension extension, and limits the total number of days each year that a center or provider could suspend essential caregiver visits.
- SB 968 prohibits any company operating in Texas from requiring customers to prove their vaccination status or post-infection recovery in exchange for receiving services. In addition to prohibiting private companies from requiring vaccination tests at the entrance, to access or receive services from the company, SB 968 provides that any company that requires vaccination testing will not be allowed to hire states. and some state agencies that regulate different business sectors may verify compliance with SB 968 in the issuance of licenses and permits. SB 968 states that it should not be read to prohibit companies from implementing measures to detect and infect COVID-19 in accordance with state and federal law.
See “Legislative Update on Pandemic-Related Bills Sent to Governor Abbott” for more information.
Curriculum of social studies in public schools
HB 3979 provides for the adoption of “essential knowledge and skills” by the Texas State Board of Education in social curricula or in the civic curriculum, including the understanding of delimited social movements in the United States , founding documents and even decisions of the United States Supreme Court. For any course in social studies of the required curriculum, “a professor may not be obliged to discuss a particular event or a highly debated and currently controversial topic of public policy or social affairs,” and if the professor does, “To the extent of the teacher’s abilities, try to explore the topic from diverse and contentious perspectives without giving deference to any perspective.”
It should be noted that HB 3979 states that a teacher, administrator or any other employee of a state agency, school district or open enrollment school may not be required to “participate in training, counseling or therapy that presents any form career or sexual stereotypes or race or sex guilt “,” require or form part of a course “certain concepts, such as” an individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, is intrinsically racist , consciously or unconsciously sexist or oppressive ”or“ members of one race or sex cannot and should not attempt to treat others without regard to race or sex ”.
You can find more information about the new law in the article “Texas Legislative Update on Bills Related to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.”
Legislation on government transparency
Jackson Walker’s partner, Stacy Allen, helped the Texas Broadcasters Association (TAB) for its clients for a long time advocating for government transparency during the 202nd Texas legislative session. All three laws are now in effect. next:
- During periods subject to disaster declarations by the governor, government bodies whose offices were closed in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic used this as an excuse to postpone response to requests for the Information Act. Texas public, even though its employees worked from home and could have has made timely responses. SB 1225 specifies that a catastrophe would not include a period in which the physical office of the government body was closed, but staff were required to work remotely and could electronically access information that responded to requests for TPIA. When work does not continue remotely, the bill limits the suspension period to 14 calendar days for each catastrophe and requires immediate continuation of TPIA compliance.
- SB 930 requires local and state health authorities to publish information on outbreaks of infectious diseases in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, including the names of these facilities and the number of residents diagnosed.
- HB 54 prevents Texas law enforcement agencies from entering into contracts with “reality TV shows” that film their activities while acting in the performance of duty that will be broadcast as “entertainment.” Javier Ambler, namesake of the new law, died of heart failure after being appraised and forcibly detained by an assistant to a Williamson County sheriff after a 20-minute chase. The alleged crime was Ambler’s failure to dim his headlights to oncoming traffic. A film crew for PD live he accompanied the deputy and captured the entire ordeal, a factor cited by the sponsors of the bill as the reason for the most intense response that led to Ambler’s death. Although it made good sense, the bill, when first introduced, did not define what constituted a “reality television program” and could therefore have been interpreted as legitimate news coverage. of news. TAB successfully added a language to the bill that defines “reality show” as primarily entertainment and clarifies that it does not apply to a journalist’s news collection as defined in the reporter protection law. of the state.
For more information, see “Television Equipment Outside Texas Law at the Intersection of Free Speech and Public Policy.”
Claims of sexual harassment
There are now three laws relating to sexual harassment in Texas.
- SB 45 expands the definitions of employer and sexual harassment and imposes on employers the requirement to take immediate and appropriate action when a sexual harassment claim is made.
- HB 21 amends section 21.201 (g) of the Texas Labor Code to increase the period of filing charges with the Texas Labor Force Commission from 180 days to 300 days from the date of the alleged sexual harassment. It should be noted that the extended period only applies to sexual harassment claims; it does not apply to other forms of discrimination, namely, discrimination on the grounds of sex (which does not constitute sexual harassment), race, color, disability, national origin, or religion.
- SB 282 amends the Texas Government Code by adding section 576,001, which prohibits the Texas legislature from appropriating money and state agencies from using appropriate money to resolve or pay a sexual harassment claim against an elected or appointed member. of the executive, legislative or judicial. branch of state government. For the purposes of this Act, political subdivisions are considered school districts, charter schools, counties, municipalities, other special districts, and other subdivisions of the state.
For more information, see “Changes on the Horizon: Important Revisions to Texas Sexual Harassment Laws” and the Jackson Walker Fast Takes podcast episode “Texas Expands and Redefines Sexual Harassment Laws.”
Texas Business Code
During the 2021 legislative session in Texas, several key bills were passed that amended the Texas Code of Business Organizations (TBOC) and the Texas Code of Commerce and Commerce (TBCC).
- B. 1203, nmnibus modification package of the business organization code, from September 1, 2021
- B. 1523, LLC Registered Series, effective June 1, 2022
- B. 1280, Corrections to the Securities Act, as of January 1, 2022
- B. 873, Business Purchase – Disclosure of Controller Taxes, Effective September 1, 2021
- B. 3131, Training Certificates – Address, as of January 1, 2022
- B. 6, Shield of responsibility against pandemics, effective June 14, 2021
- B. 1578, Recovery of attorney’s fees in civil cases, as of September 1, 2021
For more information on each of the bills listed above, see “New Texas Business Organizations Code Legislation for 2021”.