As we jump feet first into 2020, a new round of laws take effect across the state of Texas. Does it seem like we just talked about new Texas laws? Well, if you're having a case of deja vu, you aren't crazy. It was just about 4 months ago that some new laws took effect. Here is what to look for in 2020:

  • 1

    Surprise Medical Bills

    Texas Senate Bill 1264 will protect consumers who do not have a choice in health plans, such as state regulated plans, from receiving surprise medical bills. This new law applies mostly in emergency situations where a patient doesn't have the ability to choose a doctor or service within their insurance plan's network.

  • 2

    Bingo Fees

    If you play Bingo, you may see a change in how much you cash in on your winnings. If you play at a licensed authorized organization, they will no longer be mandated to collect a fee on non-cash valued prizes over $5. However, if you win at least $5 cash, there must be a 5% fee paid of the total amount. The organization will then we required to forfeit 50% of the fees to the Texas Lottery Commission.

  • 3

    Sexual Harassment at Colleges and Universities

    The amendment to Senate Bill 212 requires an employee of a public or private, or independent higher education who witnesses or receives information regarding incidents of sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence or stalking, to report it. The bill covers crimes against students and employees of the school. If a person is found to have not reported an incident or makes a false report, they can be charged with a Class B misdemeanor. The crime could be upgraded to a Class A misdemeanor if it is shown that the actor intended to conceal the incident that’s required to be reported.

  • 4

    Small Business Data Breaches

    With the passing of House Bill 4390, the Texas Privacy Protection Advisory Council has been created. The new law says a person who conducts business in Texas and has computerized data that includes sensitive personal information, will be required to disclose any breach of the system’s security to any individual whose sensitive personal information was, or is thought to have been, acquired by an unauthorized person. Notification must happen within 60 days of when the business learned a breach has occurred. They are also required to notify the Texas Attorneys General if the breach involves over 250 Texas residents.

  • 5

    Flood Funds

     

    With the passing of Senate Bill 7, $1.7 billion dollars is moved from the state's rainy day fund over to the Texas Water Code. This move creates The Flood Infrastructure Fund and the Texas Infrastructure Resiliency Fund. These funds help manage flood preparation, prevention, and recovery dollars.