As we reach the middle of 2020, let us go over new laws passed as of January 1. Whether COVID-19 related or not, it is important now more than ever to educate everyone with new changes. With the new year we are all faced with new conditions going over a wide variety of topics during the 2019 legislative session. Here is what we know:

WORK RELATED LAWS

Inmate Work –

“Inmates released from prison will get a little help from the prison system after Jan. 1. They will now be released with documents needed to help them find a job, including certificates showing job skill courses and training they have completed. And anyone without access to their Social Security card or birth certificate will get help in getting those documents, under House Bill 918. When released, inmates should also have a resume that shows their work history both in and out of prison along with documents showing they’ve completed a practice job interview.”

https://www.star-telegram.com/news/politics-government/article238112044.html

Harassment at Colleges, Universities, General Education, or Domestic –

As of January 1, 2020, Senate Bill 212 has stated that all allegations of sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking at certain public and private institutions of higher education against a student or employee MUST BE REPORTED as it is a criminal offense.

The legislation would also deem a class B misdemeanor to those who fail to report violations of any of the above offenses. If students or employees attempt to hide incidences after he or she was expected to report, it is elevated to a class A misdemeanor. Furthermore, organizations cannot punish or discriminate against anyone who reports the incident in good intentions and cooperates with an enquiry, unless this individual is the perpetrator.

Surprise Medical Bills –

Senate Bill 1264 Penalizes health organizations and hospitals for admitting patients without reviewing network or health care provider. The new law is designed to prevent large hospital bills against some patients who did not have a choice. The bill also requires that the patient cannot be billed by non-network or incorrect insurance provider and that the patient does not have financial liability greater than the liability of the hospital or clinic under the health insurance program. That includes a copayment, deductible, or coinsurance as applicable. Anyone can file a violation report here: https://www.tdlr.texas.gov/complaints/

Business Data Breaches –

House Bill HB 4390 states that business owners who have had data breaches containing confidential and personal information are to report it within 60 days of the findings. If a breach involves at least 250 Texas residents, the business owners must notify the attorney general.

2020 COVID-19 UPDATES

As most of us are aware about news on COVID-19, here are some important details you might have missed about the second wave of reopening. According to the DSHS (Texas Department of State Health Services) Governor Greg Abbott has reopened activities and businesses in Texas as of May 18, 2020. Here is what you can expect:

  • Hair Salons and Barbershops
  • Tanning Salons
  • Gyms
  • Malls and Retail Stores
  • Restaurants
  • Movie Theatres
  • Public Museums and Libraries
  • Public Pools

All reopened to the public with 6 feet restrictions, masks, proper sanitation practices, and by appointment or 25% capacity limits.

“Since reopening, Texas has seen a modest but steady increase in the growth of new coronavirus cases, and the state is not meeting all benchmarks for reopening set by White House officials or even Abbott himself. The state set new daily records this week for both new cases and deaths.”

https://www.texastribune.org/2020/05/18/texas-coronavirus-reopening/

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