New laws affecting TDLR licensees take effect September 1

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AUSTIN – More than 30 new state laws that will affect more than 500,000 Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) licensees will go into effect September 1, 2021. Some laws will take effect later. The laws were passed during the 87th Regular Session of the Texas Legislature.

In order to administer these changes, in some cases the agency must first develop rules for implementation. Some bills include specific direction to TDLR on the rules the agency must adopt and the deadline for adoption. The rulemaking process gives the public an opportunity to provide comment and feedback at TDLR advisory board meetings.

The public can also participate in the process when proposed rules are published in the Texas Register and at meetings of the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation when the rules are discussed and brought up for a vote. The rulemaking process can take several months to complete.

To keep abreast of proposed rule changes, TDLR urges interested parties to sign up for email updates tailored to specific licensing programs: https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/TXDLR/subscriber/new. Select "important notices" for the programs of interest.

The following is a selection of new laws affecting TDLR licensees. For a full list, please see the TDLR website: https://www.tdlr.texas.gov/legislation.htm.

HB 1560, TDLR’s Sunset bill:

Extends TDLR for another 12 years. The Texas Sunset Commission will next evaluate TDLR and whether it should remain an agency in 2033.

Deregulates the Polygraph industry in Texas. As of Sept. 1, 2021, a Polygraph license will no longer be required to perform polygraph examinations.

Combines the Barbering and Cosmetology programs and creates a new board.

Deregulates specialty cosmetology licenses for wig stylists and wig salons as of Sept. 1, 2021. A cosmetology license will not be required to provide styling services for wigs.

Deregulates Combative Sports Seconds licenses, Combative Sports Matchmakers licenses and Combative Sports Event Coordinators licenses as of Sept. 1, 2021.

Moves Home Warranty regulation from the Texas Real Estate Commission to TDLR.

Reapportions membership of the Driver Training and Traffic Safety Advisory Committee.

Air Conditioning & Refrigeration:

HB 871bans a municipality from charging air conditioning and refrigeration contractors a registration fee to work in that municipality.

Barbering:

HB 1560 combines the Barbering and Cosmetology programs and creates a new advisory board; abolishes instructor licenses.

Combative Sports:

HB 1560 deregulates Combative Sports Seconds licenses, Combative Sports Matchmakers licenses and Combative Sports Event Coordinators licenses as of Sept. 1, 2021.

Cosmetology:

HB 1560 combines the Barbering and Cosmetology programs and creates a new board; abolished wig salon and wig specialty licenses; abolishes instructor licenses.

HB 3721 requires that human trafficking awareness signs displayed in cosmetology establishments include information about how to report suspicious activity to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

HB 1560 deregulates specialty cosmetology licenses for wig stylists and wig salons as of Sept. 1, 2021. A cosmetology license will not be required to provide styling services for wigs.

Driver Education and Safety:

HB 985, The Julia Wells Act, requires that driver education courses include information about human trafficking prevention.

SB 2054 waives fees and costs associated with driver education and safety courses and driver license examinations for foster children, former foster children and youth experiencing homelessness.

HB 3212 requires that driver education courses include information about the dangers of street racing.

HB 3319 requires that driver education courses include safety information about driving around large trucks as well as information about laws requiring drivers to slow down or move over when emergency vehicles are pulled over on the side of the road.

Health Professions (Athletic Trainers, Behavior Analysts, Dietitians, Dyslexia Therapy, Hearing Instrument Fitters and Dispensers, Massage Therapy, Midwives, Podiatrists, Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists)

SB 40 and HB 4 allow the use of telehealth and telemedicine in health professional programs that TDLR administers.

Massage Therapy:

HB 3721 requires massage establishments to post human trafficking awareness signs that include information on how to contact the Texas Department of Public Safety to report suspicious activity.

HB 1540 includes new criminal penalties for allowing prostitution in a massage establishment.

SB 1130 allows massage therapy schools to provide distance education in certain circumstances.

HB 2803provides commercial landlords or tenants in multiunit properties with the ability to terminate a lease if certain unlawful activities including human trafficking, prostitution or an illicit massage establishment occurs.

 Midwives:

SB 1941directs the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to create a strategic plan for improving the diagnosis and treatment of hyperemesis gravidarum, a disorder that occurs during pregnancy and can cause extreme, persistent nausea and vomiting that leads to dehydration, weight loss or electrolyte imbalance.

 Motor Fuel Metering and Quality:

HB 2106 creates the Financial Crimes Intelligence Center, which will track and investigate skimmers and coordinate law enforcement responses. The FCIC will be housed in Tyler.

SB 2062creates the Motor Fuel Metering and Quality Advisory Board.

Podiatry

HB 2509 creates a nationally accredited post-doctor of podiatric medicine program that will prepare podiatrists for independent practice of podiatric medicine in Texas.

SB 768 increases the criminal penalties for manufacture or delivery of fentanyl and related substances.

Towing

HB 914allows for designated municipal employees to request the removal and storage of certain abandoned or illegally parked or operated vehicles.

About TDLR

TDLR provides regulatory oversight for a broad range of occupations, businesses, facilities, and equipment in Texas. The agency protects the health and safety of Texans by ensuring they are served by qualified, licensed professionals. Inspections of individuals, businesses, and equipment are done on a regular basis to safeguard the public. Currently, the agency regulates 40 business and occupational licensing programs with more than 1,000,000 licensees across the state.

Visit TDLR’s website for more information and resources. You can search the TDLR licensee database, and also find past violations in which a final order was issued against companies or individuals. TDLR’s Customer Service line is available anytime between 7 a.m. until 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, at 1-800-803-9202. TDLR representatives are fluent in English, Spanish and Vietnamese.