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State Laws Go Into Effect

Please join the HAR Governmental Affairs Team in thanking our Greater Houston Area legislators who received TAR’s special recognition for all of their great work during the 84th Legislature: Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, Senators Robert Nichols and Larry Taylor, and Representatives John Otto, Senfronia Thompson, Dennis Bonnen, Greg Bonnen, Wayne Smith, and Sarah Davis. Additionally, we would like to say thank you and farewell to retiring TAR Hall of Famer Rep. Otto who has been a champion on appraisal reform and other real estate industry issues. Rep. Otto is not seeking re-election.

Below are bills signed by Governor Abbot and effective on September 1:

  • Patent Reform: SB 1457 (Nichols) curbs the behavior of patent trolls in harmful patent infringement claims. This law introduces basic requirements for these claims, such as the number of the patent in question and the identity of the plaintiff, and a civil penalty for their abuse. Violators could receive civil penalties including up to $50,000 per violation.
  • No source-of-income requirements for landlords: SB 267 (Perry) mandates that cities and counties will not be allowed to prohibit a property owner, or the owner’s agent, from choosing whether to lease housing to someone based on the person’s lawful source of income, including a federal housing choice voucher.
  • Property owners associations (POAs) rental oversight: HB 2489 (Leach) protects the rights of property owners who wish to lease their own property. This law negated certain rights of a homeowner and condominium association to obtain basic lease information from landlords.
  • Windstorm Insurance Reform: SB 900 (Taylor) ensures coastal property owners have access to affordable and available windstorm insurance coverage by strengthening the Texas coastal insurance pool. The law makes several reforms to the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association, which is the state-backed policy underwriter that acts as the insurer of last resort for homeowners who live in hurricane prone areas along the Gulf Coast.

Vote for Propositions 1 and 7 on the November 3 Ballot

  • Of the seven constitutional amendments which will appear on the Tuesday, November 3rd ballot, Propositions 1 and 7 are crucial to the REALTOR® Party. The ballot language for Propositions 1 and 7, which Realtors are strongly encouraged to support, is below.
  • Proposition 1 (SJR 1) – “The constitutional amendment increasing the amount of the residence homestead exemption from ad valorem taxation for public school purposes from $15,000 to $25,000, providing for a reduction of the limitation on the total amount of ad valorem taxes that may be imposed for those purposes on the homestead of an elderly or disabled person to reflect the increased exemption amount, authorizing the legislature to prohibit a political subdivision that has adopted an optional residence homestead exemption from ad valorem taxation from reducing the amount of or repealing the exemption, and prohibiting the enactment of a law that imposes a transfer tax on a transaction that conveys fee simple title to real property.”
  • Proposition 7 (SJR 5) “The constitutional amendment dedicating certain sales and use tax revenue and motor vehicle sales, use, and rental tax revenue to the state highway fund to provide funding for nontolled roads and the reduction of certain transportation-related debt.”

Important Dates

  • Monday, October 5 – Last day to register to vote in November 3 Election
  • Monday, October 19 to Friday, October 3o – Early Voting
  • Tuesday, November 3 – Houston Mayoral and Houston City Council Election, statewide constitutional amendments, Propositions 1 and 7, the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, Harris County and Fort Bend County bond elections, and Houston City Council term limits are among items that will be on the ballot.
  • Saturday, December 12 – Run-off elections

Easy Voter Registration

Go to the Texas Secretary of State’s website, www.sos.state.tx.us, to receive a Voter Registration Application or pick up an application at HAR’s reception desk, Membership Department, or at any of HAR’s three branch locations.

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