New laws take effect in new year

by Cristin Parker

The new year ushered in a few new laws for Texas residents.

State legislators approved the new laws during the 85th session of the Texas Legislature, which met in 2017.

“Every two years, the Texas Legislature convenes for a 140-day regular legislative session,” the Texas Legislature Online website explains. “Some years, the Legislature holds special sessions to address items not resolved during the regular session. Between regular legislative sessions, legislative committees are charged to study key issues and research information that will help guide future legislative decisions.”

New potential laws will be debated in the coming weeks. The 86th Texas Legislature began Tuesday, Jan. 8 and will conclude on May 27.

“I look forward to serving the people of House District 11 and will be meeting with constituents in the coming months to learn of their priorities for the upcoming session,” Representative Travis Clardy-(R), Nacogdoches, said in a statement published on his official website.

One new law that took effect on Jan. 1, was SB 2076, which relates to the titling of motor vehicles, amending Section 501.134 of the state’s Transportation Code.

The bill reads, “If a printed title (of a motor vehicle) is lost or destroyed, the owner or lienholder disclosed on the title may obtain, in the manner provided by this section and the county tax assessor-collector office’s rule, a certified copy of the lost or destroyed title directly from the department by applying in a manner prescribed by the department and paying a fee of $2.

“The department must plainly mark “certified copy” on the face of a certified copy issued under this section.

“A certified copy of the title that is lawfully obtained under this section supersedes and invalidates any previously issued title or certified copy. If the certified copy of the title is later rescinded, canceled, or revoked under Section 501.051, the department may revalidate a previously superseded or invalidated title or certified copy of title.”

This bill was supported by Rep. Clardy.

“This is actually something that goes through our regional office in Longview, so there’s no change at our level,” Cherokee County Tax Assessor Chief Deputy of Vehicles Shonda Potter said. “We have the forms people would need, and we can help them fill those out, but the actual titling process happens at the Longview office.”

Potter explained as new titles are issued, each will be provided a four-digit code to verify when that title was generated, and that the newest copy would be the valid copy.

“The newest copy would supersede all others,” Potter said.