LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

Several States make Changes

Texas

2019 proved to be a busy year for legislatures across the nation. Recently, the Texas Business and Commerce Code was amended to eliminate the duplicative assumed name certificates for business entities required to register with the Secretary of State. Effective September 1, 2019, corporations, limited liability companies, limited partnerships, limited liability partnerships, and foreign filing entities are no longer required to file an assumed name certificate at the county level. Businesses not requiring registration with the Secretary of State, such as general partnerships, real estate investment trusts, and joint ventures, are still required to file an assumed name certificate at the county level.

North Dakota

Earlier this year, North Dakota joined the masses and changed the way it determines whether a business entity name is available. Effective April 26, 2019, North Dakota’s name availability standard changed from the “deceptively similar” standard to a less restrictive “distinguishable in the records” standard. This change should result in a wider range of names available for new domestic entities and a greater chance of legal name registration for foreign entities.

Florida and Montana

Both Florida and Montana recently passed comprehensive revisions to their corporate laws. The modified and new provisions regarding corporate governance, largely based on the 2016 Model Business Corporation Act, bring uniformity, making it easier for corporations to operate in those states. Florida’s new legislation takes effect January 1, 2020, while Montana’s goes into effect June 1, 2020.

Maine and Oklahoma

Lastly, the benefit corporation movement continues to sweep the nation. Maine and Oklahoma both passed legislation allowing companies to register as benefit corporations. This corporate designation gives greater legal protection for companies pursuing for profit business models while maintaining a primary objective to generate a public benefit. Nearly all states now recognize some type of public benefit business entity.