Gov. Rick Perry highlighted important legislation, passed during the 82nd Legislative Session that takes effect September 1, including a balanced budget that doesn't raise taxes, and key measures that protect the lives of the unborn and strengthen the state's legal climate, private property rights, and penalties for those convicted of human trafficking.
"This session we further strengthened our state's robust economy the way we said we would: by living within our means, balancing our budget without raising taxes and protecting the Rainy Day Fund," Gov. Perry said. "Texans can be proud of the steps we have taken to cut down on frivolous lawsuits; protect the lives of the unborn and the integrity of elections; strengthen private property rights and increase penalties for human traffickers and sex offenders who exploit the most vulnerable in our communities."
This past legislative session provided a balanced budget for the 2012-13 biennium without raising taxes, allocating more than half of state funds to education, preserving more than $6 billion in the state's Rainy Day Fund, and extending the tax exemption for small businesses to 2014, a measure Gov. Perry fought to continue, that will keep taxes low for thousands of employers across the state.
Several key measures, along with issues the governor declared as emergency items during the regular session, become law on September 1, including:
* HB 274, which implements several changes to streamline and lower the cost of litigation in Texas courts, allowing parties to resolve disputes more quickly and fairly, and less expensively.
* HB 15, which requires a physician to perform a sonogram 24 hours before an abortion, except in cases of medical emergency.
* SB 18, which requires local and state governmental entities interested in acquiring private property to first make an offer, in writing and based on an appraisal, to the landowner to purchase the property through a voluntary sale for a fair price. The bill also clarifies eminent domain may only be used for public use.
* HB 3000 and SB 24, which create stiffer penalties and fines for individuals who commit human trafficking in Texas.
* HB 3, which increases the punishment for repeat sex offenders convicted of continuous sexual abuse of a child, including certain sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault offenses, to life without parole.
Other important legislation passed this session, which are already in effect or will take effect after September 1, includes:
* SB 14, which requires voters to show a valid form of photo ID at polling places, increases the penalty for voting illegally to a second degree felony, and increases attempted illegal voting to a state jail felony. Certain provisions of this bill take effect September 1 and the remainder will take effect January 1.
* SB 7, which provides Texas $467 million in savings by streamlining inefficiencies in the Medicaid program.
* SB 1736, which helps expedite the entry of military veterans and service members into the workforce by allowing colleges and universities to develop programs that give them credit for experience, education and training obtained during their military service.
* HB 3, passed during the special session, which reforms the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association to protect Texans from the effects of devastating hurricane seasons while keeping insurance coverage available to Texans living along the coast. It also implements reforms that will ensure the association timely and adequately compensates its policyholders without enriching trial lawyers or further undermining the organization's financial stability.
For more information on these measures and other legislation passed during the 82nd Legislative Session, please visit
For a full list of bills that were passed during the regular session that take effect September 1, please visit