Several new laws went into effect in Texas on January 1, 2023, including changes to property tax collection, an expansion of the judicial branch, and an amendment to pollution standards.

One of the laws, House Bill 3774, written by District 67 Representative Jeff Leach, allows for public access to the state’s court documents database with approval from the Texas Supreme Court, and restructures the state’s court system by adding new courts and standardizing procedures. The bill restructures Texas’ court system adding 10 district courts, five statutory county courts, one statutory probate court and one criminal law magistrate court.

Senate Bill 12, written by Senator Paul Bettencourt, revises the tax code to restrict public school districts’ levies on the homes of elderly or disabled individuals, and makes districts eligible for additional state aid to compensate for any decrease in revenue.

Senate Bill 1210, introduced by Senators Nathan Johnson and Bettencourt, aims to reduce the use of hydrofluorocarbons, which are harmful to the ozone layer and contribute to global warming, by requiring the use of compliant refrigerants in building codes. The transition is expected to create 33,000 new manufacturing jobs and sustain 138,000 existing positions nationwide, with many of the new jobs expected to be in Texas.

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