HBA-DMD H.B. 3153 76(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 3153 By: Wolens State Affairs 3/25/1999 Introduced BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE The open records law provides that a legislator is provided one copy of any public information without charge, which fails to recognize that many times the information gathering is performed by a legislative agency, such as the legislative council or the budget board, or by a legislative committee, instead of individual members. This bill would clarify that the legislative agencies and committees have the same access to information. The Texas Legislative Council (council) is charged by statute (Section 323.006, Government Code) to conduct investigations and studies and to gather and disseminate information for the legislature's use. In support of that duty, the council maintains databases of statistical and demographic information. In order to obtain and correlate information for legislative policy analysis and development, the council must rely on the cooperation of, and obtain information maintained by, various agencies, including the Health and Human Services Commission, the Texas Workforce Commission, and the Texas Education Agency. This bill would give agencies the duty to cooperate in providing information to the extent permitted by state and federal law. Among its information services, the council provides support for legislative, congressional, and State Board of Education redistricting. For that purpose, the council under current law is entitled to access to various election information; this bill would add voter turnout information to the list of that information to which the council is entitled. In addition, in order to add to the available information concerning the demographics of districts, the bill would entitle the council to obtain appraisal records in electronic form from appraisal districts. 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 552.264, Government Code, to provide legislative agencies and committees with the same right of access without cost as an individual legislator. SECTION 2. Amends Chapter 323, Government Code (governing the Texas Legislative Council (council)), by adding Section 323.019 to place a duty on state agencies to provide the council with requested information to the extent permitted by state or federal law. SECTION 3. Amends Section 276.008(a), Election Code, to add "voter turnout" to the election information that must be provided by local election officials to the council. SECTION 4. Amends Subchapter A, Chapter 6, Tax Code, by adding Section 6.14 to require appraisal districts with electronic appraisal records to provide a copy of those records without cost to the council. SECTION 5. Emergency clause providing for immediate effect.