Keller - Roanoke - Northeast Fort Worth | November 2023



More than 60 Community Impact journalists across the state cover wide-ranging issues for local readers, delivering news to over 2 million mailboxes monthly and more than 100,000 inboxes daily. The stories below were curated for this community because of their impact in Texas.

Vehicle inspection to no longer be required by 2025

Texas food banks face growing need As a number of pandemic-era supplemental food programs and benefits were discontinued in early 2023, food banks statewide have faced struggles meeting demand. “There’s even some people who weren’t on [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program] benefits and weren’t benefiting from those extra allotments who we’re now seeing in our lines because they’re simply not able to make ends meet,” said Celia Cole, executive director of Feeding Texas, a statewide nonprofit that works to address food scarcity. Several bills went into effect in September providing additional thresholds for those in need of assistance, including House Bill 1287, which provides a threshold on vehicle value for applicants for SNAP benefits, and HB 1743, which allows inmates to apply for SNAP benefits before going on parole.

Beginning in 2025, Texas drivers will no longer need to get their vehicles inspected. The framework On Aug. 5, Gov. Greg Abbott signed House Bill 3297 into law, which eliminates mandatory vehicle safety inspections for noncommercial vehicles. Drivers must still pay the annual inspection fee of $7.50 but will no longer need to take their vehicle in for inspection prior to registering it. If a vehicle was not previously registered, drivers will pay $16.75 instead and won’t be required to pay the $7.50 fee for the next registration year for the same vehicle. The 17 Texas counties that require annual emissions tests—including Dallas, Harris and Tra- vis counties, along with several counties around Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston—will continue to do so. Only 13 other states have mandatory vehicle inspections since the federal government ended

Inspection program replacement fee The $7.50 fee supports the following funds:

Texas mobility fund ($3.50): Finances the construction, reconstruction, acquisition and expansion of state highways

General revenue fund ($2): Serves as Texas’ primary operating fund

Clean air account ($2): Safeguards Texas’ air resources, recovers the costs of permitting new or modified emission sources and recovers the costs of permit reviews and renewals


survival of his business. “I just think it defies logic,” said Larry Harris, owner of Larry’s Auto Inspection in Houston. “If nobody is making sure the vehicles are safe, there’s going to be some unsafe vehicles on the street.” Larry Harris said he was particularly concerned about people being able to drive without their steering wheel, brakes or tires up to standard.

the program requirement in 1976. According to the professionals

While proponents—such as state Rep. Cody Harris, R-Palestine, who filed the bill—have argued mandatory vehicle inspections are unnecessary, one vehicle inspector said he worries doing away with the requirement could put drivers’ safety at risk and threaten the

2023 Texas SNAP benefits applications

Texas Senate passes education savings account bill

Statewide SNAP benefits eligibility There are 3.36 million Texans eligible to receive supplemental funding. Age ranges: 5 and under: 467,991 6-17: 1.2M 18-59: 1.21M 60-64: 135,293 65+: 352,460 Total: 3.36M

tuition, books and other educational expenses. The proposal now heads to the House, where its future is unclear. Democrats and rural Republicans in the lower chamber have historically opposed similar legislation. “Let me be abundantly clear: the Texas Senate will pass this bill over and over again until the Texas House passes it and sends it to Gov. Abbott’s desk,” Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said in a statement following the vote.

Texas senators approved a bill Oct. 12 that would set aside $500 million in taxpayer dollars to help families pay for private school tuition. The controversial proposal is a top priority of Gov. Greg Abbott. He directed lawmakers to tackle “education freedom” and other topics during the third special legislative session of the year, which began Oct. 9. Senate Bill 1 would allow families to apply to receive $8,000 per child to pay for private school




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