How will this Legislative Session impact business owners? With the assistance of our own LRM Freshman State Rep. Jeff Leach, R-Plano, Tilting the Scales periodically posts updates on bills affecting businesses, along with an occasional oddity.


Texas Independence Day Ammo & Gun Sales Tax Waiver
HB 1533 (Leach)
This bill establishes Texas Independence Day (March 2) as a tax-free holiday, exempting individuals’ purchase of firearms and hunting supplies in the State of Texas from sales taxes. Exempt eligible items include the following:

  • Shotguns, rifles, pistols, revolvers, and other handguns
  • Gun cleaning supplies, gun cases, gun safes and optics
  • Ammunition
  • Archery equipment
  • Hunting stands, blinds and decoys.

Status: Bill Filed

Exemption from US Law for Firearms, Accessories and Ammunition Made in Texas
HB 872 (Laubenberg)
This bill exempts the intrastate manufacture of a firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition from federal regulation if manufactured in Texas. The Legislature of the State of Texas declares that a firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition manufactured in Texas, as described by Chapter 2003, Business & Commerce Code, as added by this Act, that remains within the borders of Texas: (1) has not traveled in interstate commerce; and (2) is not subject to federal law or federal regulation, including registration, under the authority of the United States Congress to regulate interstate commerce.
Status: Referred to Committee / Awating Hearing

Mandated A&M – Texas nonconference football game
HB 778 (Guillen)
This legislation would require UT and Texas A&M to play a nonconference, regular-season football game against one another every year. If either school refuses to play in the football game, the school will be prohibited from awarding to any student an athletic scholarship for the following year.
Status: Referred to Committee / Awating Hearing

Limited Full Contact Football Practice
HB 887 (Lucio)
This bill would prohibit a high school or middle school football team from holding more than one full-contact practice per week.
Status: Referred to Committee / Awating Hearing

Expanded Liquor Sale Hours
HB 421 & SB 236 (Thompson, S.)
Would expand the hours of liquor sales to include Sundays 12:00 pm-10:00 pm, and expanding hours on Monday through Saturday to 9:00 am-10:00 pm. Current law only allows for sale Monday through Saturday 10:00 am – 9:00 pm. The effect is one would be able to buy liquor on any day except for New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. The bill would also allow wholesalers to sell to retailers on any day except for Christmas day.
Status: Referred to Committee / Awating Hearing

Smoking Banned in Public Places
SB 86 (Ellis)
Smoking would be banned from any public place, place of employment, or in a seating area of an outdoor event. The exceptions would be a private residence, hotels or motels (no more than 20% of rooms may be designated as smoking, and all on the same floor must be contiguous, and smoke may not enter a non-smoking area),nursing homes or long-term care facilities, tobacco shops, tobacco bar in operation by May 15th, 2013, private clubs not employing any employees, outdoor area of a restaurant or bar, outdoor porch not accessible to the public, tobacco product manufacturing site. A business owner may completely ban smoking on their premises.
Status: Referred to Committee / Awating Hearing



Too Much Social Media Information!?
HB 318 (Giddings)
An employer would commit an offense if it requires or requests that an employee or job applicant disclose a user name or password for accessing their personal account, including a personal e-mail or a social networking website or profile. Right now, the employee, if asked, can merely deny the request.
Status: Referred to Committee / Awating Hearing

HB 63 (Craddick)
The “Texting While Driving” legislation proposes that a person may not read, compose or send any “text based” communication from a “handheld wireless device” while operating a motor vehicle. Defenses to prosecution include, among others, using a cell phone to read, select or enter a telephone number to make a call, using a cell phone in conjunction with hands free talking technology and using a cell phone to navigate using GPS.
Status: Favorable Vote from Transportation Committee / Awaring House Floor Debate

Goodbye Franchise Tax?
HB 607(Turner, E.S.) and its Senate companion SB 179 (Paxton)
Would phase out the franchise tax by reducing it by 25% each year between 2014 and 2017. The legislation maintains the $1 million exemption throughout the phase out to protect small business owners and removes the $50 penalty for failure to file a franchise tax report by entities that do not owe a tax.
Status: Referred to Committee / Awating Hearing

Suing the Lone Star
HB 586 (Workman)
Proposes that a state agency that enters into a contract waives sovereign immunity for breach of an express or implied provision. In other words, the state can be sued and money damages can be awarded.  This topic has gained recent attention when former Texas Tech football coach Mike Leach discovered that he could not recover on a suit against the state for the alleged wrongful termination of his employment contract.
Status: Referred to Committee / Awating Hearing

Land Grab
HB 476 (Kolkhorst)
Proposes significant revisions to the eminent domain authority of governmental entities, providing increased protections and options for the property owners including ensuring that condemned land is used for public purposes and that landowners are fairly compensated.
Status: Referred to Committee / Awating Hearing