P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 9, 2021
AUSTIN — Today the Texas Senate approved several bills authored by Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, including legislation that would help survivors of domestic violence, cut red tape for retired law enforcement officers and cleanup the Tax Code. These bills now go to the House for consideration:
Animal Welfare: SB197 provides a sales tax exemption for nonprofit animal welfare organizations that rely on foster homes to care for displaced animals. Currently the Tax Code exempts organizations that operate an animal shelter facility from collecting sales tax. SB 197 extends that same exemption to rescue groups that operate through a network of foster homes rather than a facility. "The spirit of this law was to exempt rescue organizations as they work to find forever homes for stray animals. This is the right thing to do and will help connect more animals to people who will love and care for them," Senator Nelson said.
Retired Officer Certification: SB 198 allows a retired law enforcement officer to meet the firearms qualification requirement of their Texas Commission on Law Enforcement licensure using any state License to Carry instructor. "Backing the blue is a lifetime commitment, and we stand by both our retired and active duty officers," Senator Nelson said. "Current law requires retired officers to complete their weapons qualification at the law enforcement agency from which they retired. SB 198 lifts that burden and provides a much more convenient avenue to maintain their license."
AED Liability & Training Reform: SB 199 extends current liability protections regarding automated external defibrillators (AED) usage to businesses and property owners. The bill also extends civil liability protections to any person or entity that owns, occupies, manages, or is responsible for an AED, unless they did not comply with requirements in statute or were willfully negligent. Senator Nelson passed legislation in previous sessions that extended Good Samaritan protections to lay persons and expanded use of AEDs at state buildings, gyms, malls, airports and other businesses. "AEDs are easy to use and have proven to save lives — even before trained first responders reach the scene," Senator Nelson said. "SB 199 furthers Texas' efforts to expand access to AEDs by alleviating burdensome regulations and legally protecting Good Samaritans."
Wayfair Clean-up: SB 477 aligns the Tax Code so that collection requirements for marketplace providers are in line with those applicable to other types of sellers. Senator Nelson sponsored legislation last session allowing Texas to collect online sales tax in compliance with the Supreme Court's Wayfair decision. "This is a cleanup bill to update the work we did last session on online sales tax collections — which has proven to be a critical component of our fiscal resilience in the face of the ongoing pandemic," Senator Nelson said.
College Transcripts: SB 478 modifies the Tax Code to exempt private universities from the requirement that sales tax be collected on the purchase of an academic transcript to match the exception in place for students at our public universities. "Scholars should not be subjected to sales tax when they request their hard-earned academic transcript. By applying the same sales tax exemption to private universities as public universities, we can remove a barrier for individuals looking to continue their education — or join the workforce," Senator Nelson said.
Document Access for Domestic Violence: SB 798 makes it easier for survivors of domestic violence to obtain a new copy of their birth certificate and a state ID at no cost by amending the Health and Safety Code as well as the Transportation Code. "Survivors of domestic violence may not have time to grab personal identification documents when fleeing dangerous living situations. SB 798 supports survivors by making it easier to obtain the appropriate documents — at no cost — so they can focus on healing and moving forward with a fresh start."
Obsolete Reports: SB 800 streamlines agency reporting requirements. This legislation repeals obsolete reports, reduces the frequency of some reports, and redirects certain reports to relevant recipients as recommended by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. "Agencies should be focusing their time, energy and taxpayer dollars on serving the people of Texas — not producing reports that no one reads. This bill streamlines resources by eliminating redundant or obsolete reporting requirements."