Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 3153
By: Wolens
State Affairs


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. 


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 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.