HBA-DMD H.B. 2948 76(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 2948 By: Goodman Public Safety 4/14/1999 Introduced BACKGROUND & PURPOSE Currently, under Section 550.065(b), Transportation Code, information held by certain governmental entities regarding a motor vehicle accident is privileged and for the confidential use of certain authorities. Current law prohibits the dissemination of personal information electronically, resulting in a prohibition against the publication of accident reports by the press in their electronic editions. H.B. 2948 authorizes the release of certain personal motor vehicle accident information and provides a penalty for using that information to solicit business from accident victims without certain conditions being met. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency or institution. SECTION BY SECTION ANALYSIS SECTION 1. Amends Section 550.065, Transportation Code, to provide that information related to a motor vehicle accident is available to the public, rather than providing that the information is privileged and for the confidential use of certain governmental agencies, with an exception. Prohibits the Department of Public Safety (department) or other governmental entity from disclosing information related to motor vehicle accidents to any person unless the person affirms on the appropriate form that the information will not be used for the direct solicitation of business or employment for pecuniary gain by certain persons. Requires the department or governmental entity to provide a copy of the motor vehicle accident information, upon written request and payment of any required fee. Deletes a list of entities to whom the department or governmental entity is required to release motor vehicle accident information. Deletes a provision regarding the department or governmental entity's entitlement to receive information. Redesignates Subsection (c) to Subsection (d). Makes a conforming change. SECTION 2. Amends Section 550.067(b), Transportation Code, to make a conforming change. SECTION 3. Amends Sections 730.003(4) and (6), Transportation Code, to redefine "motor vehicle record" and "personal information." SECTION 4. Amends Section 730.008(a), Transportation Code, to authorize the disclosure of personal motor vehicle accident information from the state agency or state agent or contractor (agency), rather than the department, to a person requesting the information. Makes a conforming change. SECTION 5. Amends Chapter 38, Penal Code, by adding Section 38.17, as follows: Sec. 38.17. USE OF ACCIDENT REPORT INFORMATION FOR PECUNIARY GAIN. Sets forth that this section applies only to information described by Section 550.065(a) (Release of Accident Reports and Certain Information Relating to Accidents), Transportation Code. Specifies the situations under which a person commits an offense. Creates an offense for a person who obtains information, or engages another to obtain information from the department or another governmental entity and subsequently uses the information for direct solicitation for pecuniary gain. Provides that the offense is a Class B misdemeanor SECTION 6.Repealer: Chapter 731 (Disclosure of Personal Information from Motor Vehicle Records), Transportation Code. SECTION 7. Effective date: September 1, 1999. Makes application of SECTION 6 of this Act prospective to a civil action brought under Section 731.005 (Civil Cause of Action), Transportation Code. SECTION 8. Emergency clause.