Please stay tuned to the TCJL Pandemic Tracker for updates on legislation arising from or related to the ongoing COVID-19 emergency. We have added five bills to the TCJL Pandemic Bill Tracker since our last report. They concern business interruption insurance, unemployment benefits, contact tracing, disciplinary authority of licensing agencies, and landlord-tenant relations. The bills are as follows:

SB 249 by Schwertner: Adds §2002.007, Insurance Code, to require a policy of business interruption insurance issued for delivery, delivered, or renewed on or after January 1, 2022, to cover loss caused by a pandemic, including loss caused by the order of a civil authority to mitigate the spread of the pandemic, without regard to whether the pandemic caused direct physical loss to the policy owner’s property.

SB 255 by Menendez: Bars the Workforce Commission from seeking to recover erroneously paid unemployment benefits from the person who received the benefits.

HB 888 by Patterson: Authorizes the Department of Health Services or a health authority to conduct contact tracing only in accordance with the regulatory requirements established by this bill. Requires the executive commissioner to adopt rules for mandatory training of conduct tracers. Restricts the disclosure and use of contact data. Bars the department or a health authority from requiring a person to participate in contact tracing and immunizes a non-participant from civil and criminal liability. Bars a contact tracer from obtaining any information from a third party without the participant’s consent. Provides that a contact tracer is a public employee for purposes of the Tort Claims Act. Provides for injunctive relief and criminal penalties for violations.

HB 899 by Middleton: Prohibits a licensing agency from revoking, suspending, refusing to renew a license, reprimanding a license holder, or take any other disciplinary action against a license holder based on the license holder’s failure to comply with a state, local, or interjurisdictional emergency management plan or rule, or ordinance adopted under the plan.

HB 900 by Huberty: Adds §24.0061(i), Property Code, to exempt a landlord from liability for damages to a tenant resulting from the execution of a writ of possession.

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