Here Are 5 New Laws Set To Go In Effect In Texas On Jan 1, 2024
The new year always gives us a chance to start anew, wipe away everything that happened the year prior, and just hit the reset button. It also means new laws in Texas go into effect.
Some of them are positive laws that can help people out, some are laws that we roll our eyes at, and some of them just fire us up because we feel it's a ridiculous law.
No matter where you stand on the fence, get ready, because these are the new laws that go into effect January 1, 2024, in Texas.
SENATE BILL 117: ANTI-DEI LAW
This is the most talked about law going into effect in January. This bill got passed back in May, and it's one of the most polarizing laws I've seen in Texas in my 10+ years here.
This law will terminate diversity, equity, and inclusion offices in public institutions of higher education. What this means is that any public university the offices, policies, and training that are intended to address and mitigate racial and gender inequalities in these universities.
Texas joins Florida as the ONLY state to do this, and that's why it's such a polarizing law. Politicians who fought for this bill have said some things that have ruffled the feathers of so many and created division within the state when it comes to our leaders working together.
COLA FOR RETIRED TEACHERS
The first question is, what is COLA? No, it's not the soda you drink. It stands for Cost Of Living Adjustment.
I think a lot of us agree that teachers are underpaid for what they do, but they do get taken care of once they retire. This law will only strengthen that.
For teachers who retired between September 1, 2013, and August 31, 2020, they'll see a 2% increase. Those educators who retired between September 1, 2001, and August 31, 2013, will see a 4% bump, and anyone who retired before August 31, 2001, will get a wonderful 6% bump.
Another piece of that law is the one-time payments these retired educators will receive. For those who are between the ages of 70-74, they'll receive a one-time payment of $2,400. Those who are 75 or older will get a $7,500 payment.
LIMITS ON APPRAISAL INCREASES
This law is the one that has made a lot of people happy, and that was obvious by how the voters overwhelmingly approved this one.
It has to do with how much the appraisal of your home can go up in a year. Sure, the value of your home going up is a good thing. However, with that comes a bigger property tax bill. This became an issue when seemingly everyone in Texas saw the value of their property jump anywhere from 25-30%, hiking up their property tax bill.
The new bill that kicks in on January 1st states those appraisals can only increase by 20% per year for non-homesteaded properties valued under $5 million.
For example, if your home was valued at $200,000 last year, then this year it was valued at $250,000, your taxes will be based on a value of $240,000. This will save you an immense amount of money on property taxes, and not be taken advantage of.
MARKETING OF VAPES/E-CIGARETTES
This law is geared more toward businesses that sell vapes or e-cigs. It's wrapped around the type of marketing that can be done to sell these things. While it's not tobacco, which already went through some stringent restrictions on how they can market their products.
With the increased vaping, Texas felt it was time to get in front of it. It is now a Class B misdemeanor if you're caught marketing, selling, or advertising anything related to e-cigarettes or vapes to a minor. In other words, the marketing campaign you use has to be targeted to adults, and that comes down to the packaging.
NEW LICENSE PLATES
No, Texas isn't changing the way their license plates look. They're adding one that you can change to or get, for an extra fee of course.
Specialty plates will hit the streets starting January 1 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of our state song "Texas, Our Texas" being written—just a little more state pride for us.
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Gallery Credit: Tara Holley