This year’s session of the Texas Legislature ended on May 31. Here’s a look at what happened:
- Bills filed: 6,927
- Bills passed by the House and Senate and sent to the governor: 1,073
- Bills tracked by NFIB: Just under 1,000
- Bills considered “high priority” by NFIB, whether good or bad: 125
- Bills opposed by NFIB: 16 (1 passed)
- Wage-related bills: 11 (none passed)
- Health insurance mandate bills: 33 (1 passed)
- Bills creating cause of action against employers: 21 (2 passed)
Priority Bill Summary
- Unemployment Insurance Tax Relief (HB 7): HB 7 allows employers negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to financially recover and hire back employees by preventing a large increase in the unemployment insurance tax.
- Commercial Vehicle Litigation Reform (HB 19): HB19 makes it harder for trial lawyers to exploit businesses by manipulating evidence at trial to seek exorbitant sums in damages when the commercial driver was not at fault or the plaintiff was not injured.
- PPP Loan Tax Relief (HB 1195): HB 1195 ensures that business owners who took out the PPP loan to make payroll would not be taxed on their state gross receipts for the forgiven portion of the loan.
- Industry-Based Certifications (HB 3938): HB 3938 creates an Industry-Based Certification Advisory Council which will ensure that our secondary education schools are most appropriately aligned with the current and future workforce needs of their communities, regions, and the state.
- Pandemic Liability Protection (SB 6): SB 6 will help alleviate the looming threat of costly legal battles as a result of the damaging effects of COVID-19. It extends liability protections for premises owners, product manufacturers, and health care providers during a pandemic emergency.
- Business Freedom and Uniformity Act (SB 14): SB 14 would have prohibited cities and counties from regulating private employment laws above and beyond what the state and federal government already require. Example: regulation of hiring, scheduling, leave, and benefits. The legislature failed to pass this into law.
- Tangible Personal Property Tax Relief (SB 1449): SB 1449 increases the minimum amount of tangible personal property that is exempt from rendition and assessment for property taxes from $500 to $2,500.
- Small Business Bridge Loan Program (SB 678): SB 678 provides a small bridge loan to keep small businesses afloat between the time of disaster and the point federal funds become available.
- Access to Capital (HB 3271): HB 3271 establishes a program for community development financial institutions to make loans to micro-businesses for disaster recovery and a program for the Texas Economic Development Bank to assist participating financial institutions in making such loans.
In addition, the legislature passed 10 bills to improve career and technical development programs in our schools. All 10 were driven and supported by NFIB.
If you have questions about these or other bills and how they may affect your small business, contact NFIB State Director Annie Spilman at [email protected] or NFIB State Legislative Director John McCord at [email protected].