2013 Potential New Laws


Currently Being Debated

Every two years, the Texas Legislature meets to discuss and debate new laws for our state. Well, it is that time again.

Today we will discuss some of the new laws being considered, but I remind you that these are NOT law yet, and may not ever become law. Also, even if they do pass, the version passed may be changed significantly from the version highlighted here.

If you follow our blog closely, then you know we will keep you advised as to the status of significant bills, just as we did in 2011 when the legislature last met.

See New Laws for Veterans & New Texas Boating Laws

Fingerprinting During Traffic Stops—HB157

This proposed law would allow a driver to “provide one fingerprint from each hand” during a motor vehicle stop in lieu of providing a driver’s license, and would allow the officer to detain the person only for the amount of time necessary to identify that person. Also, this law would prevent the officer from arresting someone solely for not having their driver’s license.

Copy of Driver’s License to Get/Renew Insurance—HB163

This proposed law states that “an insurer may not deliver, issue for delivery, or renew a personal automobile insurance policy unless the policyholder provides the insurer with a copy of each named insured ’s driver ’s license.”

Combining Concealed Handgun and Driver’s Licenses—HB158

This proposed law would allow a person to include their CHL information on their driver’s license. Currently, CHL holders must carry a separate license that is quite similar to their driver’s license, so this law would eliminate the need to issue and carry two licenses.

Reduced Penalty for Possession of Marijuana—HB184

This proposed law would reduce the penalty for possession of marijuana in an amount of less than 1 ounce. The current penalty is a Class B Misdemeanor (up to 6 months in jail and up to $2,000 fine) for possession of less than 2 ounces, but that would change to a Class C Misdemeanor (fine only) if the amount is less than 1 ounce.

Defensive Driving for Commercial Driver’s License Holders—HB355

This proposed law would allow CDL holders the same opportunity to have moving violations dismissed as all other drivers upon completion of a driver’s safety course if he/she was not driving a commercial vehicle at the time of the infraction. The current law specifically precludes CDL holders from this benefit, even if they were driving a personal vehicle at the time of the infraction, which can severely impact their employment.

Requiring Only One License Plate—HB657

This proposed law would reduce the number of license plates that would be issued upon vehicle registration. Also, this law would allow operation of a vehicle upon a road while only displaying one license plate if it is displayed on the rear of the vehicle.

–Authored by Matthew L. Harris, Esq.,


Matthew Harris Law, PLLC – Civil Litigation Division

1001 Main Street, Suite 200, Lubbock, Texas, 79401-3309

Tel: (806) 702-4852 | Fax: (800) 985-9479

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