Tuesday, July 19, 2011


by Elect Todd Hunter on Tuesday, July 19, 2011 at 8:10am


July 19, 2011

In last week’s article I began outlining bills that where past during the 82nd Regular Legislative Session and which are set to become law on September 1, 2011. Throughout the 140 day Regular Session, Texas House Members and Texas Senate Members drafted, filed and passed a wide arrange of legislation. Many of these pieces of legislation are set to go into effect on September 1, 2011; as a result of this date being a little more than a month and a half away, I thought it would be a good opportunity to help keep you up-to-date on these new laws.

Countless hours of public participation were necessary for these pieces of legislation to pass and become law.

House Bill (HB) 451 expands the popular “Don’t Mess with Texas” program that many of us have come to know over the years. The new part of the program will be called the “Don’t Mess with Texas Water” program. The need for the expansion of the existing program is important because illegal dumping is a major environmental and public health issue that can have very negative impacts on the water quality of Texas surface waters. The prevention of illegal dumping is a difficult crime for law enforcement to prevent, which is why HB 451 establishes ways for Texas citizens to help combat this problem. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality will be tasked with placing signs on major highway water crossings which display a toll-free hotline to report illegal dumping. Hopefully, public participation will make the difference in ending illegal dumping. The program will also be optional for local governments.
HB 718 amends the “Funeral Service Disruption” section of the Penal Code to prevent the targeted picketing, disruption or other form of demonstration three hours before a funeral service and three hours after. This legislation was established to allow family members of a deceased individual, the ability to attend the funeral and mourn a lost loved one without others seeking to disrupt or prevent it.
HB 1032 impacts the sale of annuity contracts by establishing a rescission period. In recent years the sale of annuities to senior citizens has increased. Along with the increase of the sale of annuities, there has also been an increase in the number of complaints filed with the Texas Department of Insurance regarding deceptive trade practices in the selling of these annuities. A set period will allow individuals to both visit with friends and family into the long term viability of an annuity as well as time to digest all the information. If within twenty days an individual decides that the annuity is not right for them, then they will have the ability to return the annuity for an unconditional refund.

Each of these laws will go into effect on September 1, 2011. It is important to learn and know about the new laws that were passed by the 82nd Texas Legislature. If you would like to view any of the other legislation that was passed during the 82nd Regular Session and the first called special session on your own, these websites are great resources:

The Texas Legislature at www.capitol.state.tx.us .
The Texas House of Representatives at www.house.state.tx.us .
The Texas Senate at www.senate.state.tx.us .

If you have questions regarding any of the information mentioned in this article, please do not hesitate to call my Capitol or District Office. As always, my offices are available at any time to assist with questions, concerns or comments (Capitol Office, 512-463-0672; District Office, 361-949-4603).

- State Representative Todd Hunter, District 32

Rep. Hunter represents Aransas, Calhoun, Nueces (Part) and San Patricio Counties. He can be contacted at todd.hunter@house.state.tx.us or at 512-463-0672.

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