Legislative Updates

DPS’ Regulatory Services Division (RSD) and its statutory licensing programs are currently reviewing legislation recently passed by the 84th Texas Legislature.

   Handgun Licensing

Summary of new laws passed in the 84th Regular Legislative Session that impact Handgun Licensing.

Open Carry

House Bill 910   Effective: January 1, 2016

Caption:  Relating to the authority of a person who is licensed to carry a handgun to openly carry a holstered handgun; creating criminal offense.

General information:

  • Authorizes individuals to obtain a license to openly carry a handgun in the same places that allow the licensed carrying of a concealed handgun with some exceptions.  (See “Exceptions” below for more information.)
  • Unconcealed handguns, loaded or unloaded, must be carried in a shoulder or belt holster.
  • Individuals who hold a valid CHL may continue to carry with valid existing license. 
  • A separate license will not be required to open carry.  No additional fee will be required.
  • Individuals currently licensed will not be required to attend additional training.  Training curriculum for new applicants will be updated to reflect the new training requirements related to the use of restraint holsters and methods to ensure the secure carrying of openly carried handguns.  The new curriculum will be required for all classes beginning January 1, 2016. 
  • The eligibility criteria to obtain a license to carry do not change.
  • The department will be updating website, forms and training materials to reference License to Carry (LTC) instead of Concealed Handgun License (CHL). 
  • Changes to the laminated license have been implemented.  For examples of licenses currently in circulation, see:  LTC sample.

Signage:

  • Information regarding signage is available in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) found on the department’s website at:  FAQs

Exceptions:

  • Open carry is not permitted by a license holder regardless of whether the handgun is holstered:
    • on the premises of an institution of higher education or private or independent institution of higher education
    • on any public or private driveway, street, sidewalk or walkway, parking lot, parking garage or other parking area of an institution of higher education or private or independent institution of higher education
    • by an individual who is acting as a personal protection officer under Chapter 1702, Occupations Code  and is not wearing a uniform

CAMPUS CARRY

Senate Bill 11    Effective: August 1, 2016

Caption:  Relating to the carrying of handguns on the campuses of and certain other locations associated with institutions of higher education; providing a criminal penalty.  

  • Authorizes a license holder to carry a concealed handgun on or about the license holder’s person while the license holder is on the campus of an institution of higher education or private or independent institution of higher education in this state.   Open carrying of handguns is still prohibited at these locations.
  • Authorizes an institution of higher education or private or independent institution of higher education in this state to establish rules, regulation, or other provisions concerning the storage of handguns in dormitories or other residential facilities that are owned or leased and operated by the institution and located on the campus of the institution.
  • Requires the president or other chief executive officer of an institution of higher education in this state to establish reasonable rules, regulations, or other provisions regarding the carrying of concealed handguns by license holders on the campus or on specific premises located on the campus. 
  • Authorizes posting of a sign under Penal Code Section 30.06 with respect to any portion of a premises on which license holders may not carry.
  • The effective date of this law for a public junior college is August 1, 2017

VARIOUS OTHER CHANGES

House Bill 554   Effective:  September 1, 2015

Caption: Relating to a defense to prosecution for the offense of possessing or carrying a weapon in or into the secured area of an airport.

  • Amends the Penal Code to add a defense to prosecution if the actor possessed a handgun that he or she is licensed to carry at the security checkpoint of an airport, and exited the screening checkpoint for the secured area immediately upon completion of the required screening process and notification of possession of the handgun.
  • Adds the actor cannot be arrested for the sole offense of possessing a handgun that he or she is licensed to carry, unless a police officer gives the actor the opportunity to leave the area and he or she does not immediately comply.

House Bill 1376   Effective:  September 1, 2015

Caption:  Relating to the application of certain concealed handgun license laws to community supervision and corrections department officers and juvenile probation officers; reducing a fee.

  • Allows supervision officers and juvenile probation officers to establish proof of proficiency by a sworn statement that indicates the person demonstrated proficiency with a firearm instructor licensed by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement within the 12 month period preceding the application for the license to carry. 
  • This provision applies to supervision officers appointed or employed under Section 76.004, Government Code, to supervise defendants placed on community supervision. 
    • Reduces the fee for a license to carry to $25 for these individuals.
  • Individuals applying under this special condition will be required to provide proof they are a supervision officer or juvenile probation officer. 
  • A new fee schedule will be posted on the department’s website. 

House Bill 2604    Effective:  September 1, 2015

Caption: Relating to a concealed handgun license application that is submitted by a peace officer or a member of the state military forces.

  • Exempts applicants who are active peace officers from the requirement to submit fingerprints.
  • Repeals the provisions requiring a sworn statement from the head of the employing law enforcement agency regarding the applicant’s conduct and proficiency.
  • Regulatory Services Division (RSD) is in the process of updating the online application checklist.  Until the online application is updated, peace officers may disregard the notations requiring fingerprints and the sworn statement from the head of their employing law enforcement agency.
  • Updated application instructions for peace officers is available on the department’s website at:  Application Instructions for Peace officers/Prosecutors  

House Bill 2739   Effective:  September 1, 2015

Caption:  Relating to the use of a concealed handgun license as valid proof of personal identification.

  • Amends the Business and Commerce Code to require businesses to accept a LTC as a valid form of personal identification for access to goods, services, or facilities.
  • Does not affect laws requiring a driver license to operate a motor vehicle.
  • Does not effect the existing requirement to present a driver license when renting a car.
  • Does not affect the type of identification required under federal law to access airport premises or to pass through airport security.

House Bill 3710   Effective:  September 1, 2015

Caption:  Relating to a voluntary contribution to the fund for veterans' assistance when applying for a concealed handgun license.

  • Requires DPS to offer LTC applicants an opportunity to contribute money to the fund for veterans' assistance when applying for an original or renewal license.
  • The applicant will determine the amount of contribution. 

House Bill 3747   Effective:  June 16, 2015

Caption:  Relating to the issuance of a concealed handgun license to certain retired judicial officers.

  • Authorizes retired federal judges to receive a discounted LTC in the same manner as a retired state judge.
  • The reduced fee is $25.  A new fee schedule will be posted on the department’s website. 

Senate Bill 273   Effective: September 1, 2015

Caption: Relating to certain offenses relating to carrying concealed handguns on property owned or leased by a governmental entity; providing a civil penalty.

  • Prohibits a state agency or political subdivision from posting signs stating where license holders are prohibited from carrying a concealed handgun on the premises, unless specifically prohibited by Texas Penal Code 46.03 and 46.035. 
  • Provides a civil penalty to a state agency or political subdivision if falsely notifying a license holder that entering or remaining on certain governmental premises, leased or owned, is illegal.
  • Limits the scope of the governmental meeting prohibition by restricting it to the specific room or rooms in which the meeting is being held, and to public meetings for which notice is required under the Open Meetings Act.
  • Provides an opportunity for the agency or subdivision to cure the violation within three business days of receipt of written notice from a citizen.
  • Complaints of a violation are reported to the Attorney General Office.  More information may be found on the Texas Attorney General website at:  Office of the Texas Attorney General
  • Provides the Attorney General must give notice to the agency or subdivision and provide an opportunity to cure the violation before a civil penalty is imposed. 

   Controlled Substances

House Bill 1803
Effective: Jan. 1, 2014
Relating to the renewal of a controlled substance registration by physicians.

  • House Bill 1803 amends the Texas Health and Safety Code to require a physician’s Controlled Substance registration be valid for two years and expire on the same date as the physician’s registration with the Texas Medical Board

Senate Bill 406
Effective: Nov. 1, 2013
Relating to the practice of advance practice nurses and physician’s assistants and the delegation of prescriptive authority by physicians to and the supervision by physicians of certain advance practice nurses and physician’s assistants.

  • Senate Bill 406 amends the Texas Occupations Code allowing supervision and delegation of prescriptive authority, including Schedule II Controlled Substances, by physicians to advance practice nurses and physician’s assistants.

Senate Bill 1643
Effective: Sept. 1, 2013
Relating to the monitoring of prescriptions of certain controlled substances.

  • Senate Bill 1643 amends the Texas Health and Safety Code
    1. Redefines “hospital” to include a licensed, free-standing emergency medical care facility
    2. Redefines “patient” to include for whom , or an animal for which, a drug is intended to be administered, dispensed, delivered or prescribed by a practitioner for purposed of the Texas Controlled Substances Act.
    3. Defines the “health information exchange” as an organization that assists in the transmission or receipt of health-related information.
    4. Extends the date DPS must destroy patient records from the end of the 12th month to the end of the 36th month following entry of the data.
    5. Allows a person authorized to receive information under (a)(3)(B) or (C) access to the information through a Health Information Exchange, subject to proper security measures to ensure against disclosure to unauthorized personnel.
    6. May allow prescription information be stored in the patient’s medical or pharmacy record.
    7. Establishes an Interagency Prescriptive Work Group including DPS, Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), Texas State Board of Pharmacy (TSBP) and the Texas Medical Board (TMB).
  • Senate Bill 1643 amends the Texas Occupations Code
    1. Authorizes delegate accounts for a pharmacy technician, defined by §5451.003, acting at the direction of a pharmacist or a nurse licensed under §301, acting at the direction of a practitioner to access the prescription data.

   Texas Metals Program

House Bill 2187
Effective: Sept. 1, 2015
Relating to the regulation of metal recycling entities; imposing an administrative penalty; amending provisions subject to a criminal penalty.

  • HB 2187 was signed by Gov. Abbott on June 19, 2015, and is effective Sept. 1, 2015. This bill relates to the regulation of MRES; imposing an administrative penalty, and amending provisions subject to criminal penalty. HB 2187 also requires MRES to issue cash transaction cards to any seller of regulated material being paid by cash or debit card. Cash transaction cards are non-transferable and the metal recycler will be required to keep copies of each application and a copy of each cash transaction card for two years.

   Private Security

House Bill 2162
Effective Sept. 1, 2015
HB 2162 amends the Local Government Code to permit certain municipalities to regulate burglar alarm systems. The bill would require a municipal ordinance to use permit fees for the general administration of the subchapter, if the ordinance adopted required such fees.

House Bill 4030
Effective Sept. 1, 2015
HB 4030 amends the Occupations Code to require an application for a registration to perform any activity regulated by the Private Security Act, or an application for an endorsement entitling an individual holding a registration to perform any such activity for an appropriately licensed company to include the required fees, including the criminal history check fee, and fingerprints of the applicant provided in the manner set by the Texas Private Security Board.

Senate Bill 807
Effective Sept. 1, 2015
SB 807 amends the Occupations Code to require a state agency that issues an occupational license to waive the license application and examination fees paid to the state for an applicant who is a military service member or military veteran whose military service, training, or education substantially meets all of the requirements for the license or who is a military service member, military veteran, or military spouse who holds a current license issued by another jurisdiction that has licensing requirements that are substantially equivalent to the requirements for the license in Texas.

Senate Bill 1307
Effective Jan. 1, 2016
SB 1307 amends the Occupations Code to revise certain definitions for purposes of provisions applicable to the occupational licensing of military service members, military veterans, and military spouses. The bill defines "active duty" to mean current full-time military service in the U.S. armed forces, active duty military service as a member of the Texas military forces, or similar military service of another state; defines "armed forces of the United States" to mean the army, navy, air force, coast guard, or marine corps of the United States or a reserve unit of one of those branches; redefines "military service member" to mean a person who is on such active duty; redefines "military spouse" to mean a person who is married to such a military service member; and redefines "military veteran" to mean a person who has served on such active duty and who was discharged or released from such active duty.


   Vehicle Inspection

House Bill 2115
Effective Sept. 1, 2015
HB 2115 adds commercial fleet buyers to the list for initial inspections valid for two years for vehicles purchased in Texas or out-of-state. Only vehicles purchased in state were previously eligible for the initial two-year inspection.

House Bill 1888
Effective Jan 1, 2016
HB 1888 amends the Transportation Code by providing an exemption from inspection as a condition to register a motor vehicle in Texas when certain criteria is met and creates a penalty for failure to obtain an inspection in specific limited circumstances. The exemption applies to vehicles registered under the International Registration Plan (IRP), or a token trailer registered under Transportation Code, Chapter 502. Additionally, this bill provides authorization for the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles or the county assessor-collector to register a vehicle located in another state without a vehicle inspection, if the applicant certifies an inspection will be obtained upon return to Texas.

Senate Bill 449
Effective Sept. 1, 2016
SB 449 amends Transportation Code, Chapters 501 and 502, to establish the definition of an autocycle and specify that an autocycle is considered to be a motorcycle for the purposes of vehicle titling and registration. The Texas Transportation Code currently defines autocycle as a vehicle with three or fewer wheels on the ground, equipped with a steering wheel, equipped with seating that does not require the operator to straddle or sit astride the seat, and manufactured and certified to comply with federal safety requirements for a motorcycle.

Senate Bill 807
Effective Sept. 1, 2015
SB 807 amends the Occupations Code to require a state agency that issues an occupational license to waive the license application and examination fees paid to the state for an applicant who is a military service member or military veteran whose military service, training, or education substantially meets all of the requirements for the license or who is a military service member, military veteran, or military spouse who holds a current license issued by another jurisdiction that has licensing requirements that are substantially equivalent to the requirements for the license in Texas.

Senate Bill 1307
Effective Jan. 1, 2016
SB 1307 amends the Occupations Code to revise certain definitions for purposes of provisions applicable to the occupational licensing of military service members, military veterans, and military spouses. The bill defines "active duty" to mean current full-time military service in the U.S. armed forces, active duty military service as a member of the Texas military forces, or similar military service of another state; defines "armed forces of the United States" to mean the army, navy, air force, coast guard, or marine corps of the United States or a reserve unit of one of those branches; redefines "military service member" to mean a person who is on such active duty; redefines "military spouse" to mean a person who is married to such a military service member; and redefines "military veteran" to mean a person who has served on such active duty and who was discharged or released from such active duty.