AUSTIN – Texas State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, pre-filed another round of legislation today ahead of the upcoming session of the Texas Legislature, which reconvenes Tuesday, January 12, 2021 and concludes its business Monday, May 31, 2021. Bills filed today include:

Animal Welfare: SB197 provides a sales tax exemption for nonprofit animal welfare organizations that rely on foster homes to care for displaced animals. Currently the Tax Code exempts organizations that operate an animal shelter facility from collecting sales tax. SB 197 extends that same exemption to rescue groups that operate through a network of foster homes rather than a facility. "The spirit of this law was to exempt rescue organizations as they work to find forever homes for stray animals. This is the right thing to do and will help connect more animals to people who will love and care for them," Senator Nelson said.

Retired Officer Certification: SB 198 allows a retired law enforcement officer to meet the firearms qualification requirement of their Texas Commission on Law Enforcement licensure using any state License to Carry instructor. "Backing the blue is a lifetime commitment, and we stand by both our retired and active duty officers," Senator Nelson said. "Current law requires retired officers to complete their weapons qualification at the law enforcement agency from which they retired. SB 198 lifts that burden and provides a much more convenient avenue to maintain their license."

AED Liability & Training Reform: SB 199 extends current liability protections regarding automated external defibrillators (AED) usage to businesses and property owners. The bill also extends civil liability protections to any person or entity that owns, occupies, manages, or is responsible for an AED, unless they did not comply with requirements in statute or were willfully negligent. Senator Nelson passed legislation in previous sessions that extended Good Samaritan protections to lay persons and expanded use of AEDs at state buildings, gyms, malls, airports and other businesses. "AEDs are easy to use and have proven to save lives — even before trained first responders reach the scene," Senator Nelson said. "SB 199 furthers Texas' efforts to expand access to AEDs by alleviating burdensome regulations and legally protecting Good Samaritans."

Internet Service Tax Repeal: SB 200 amends the Tax Code to remove internet access service as a taxable service, aligning state law with the federal Internet Tax Freedom Act, which states that internet service providers are no longer required to collect and remit tax on sales of internet access services as of July 1, 2020. "Texans are taxed enough, and this bill will make sure that their internet service is off limits from taxation," Senator Nelson said.

Lawmakers may file legislation through March 12, 2021. Senator Nelson filed two bills on the first day of pre-filing.

SENATOR JANE NELSON represents District 12, including portions of Tarrant and Denton Counties. She is Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and the highest-ranking Republican in the Texas Senate.

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