HBA-JRA C.S.S.B. 613 76(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisC.S.S.B. 613 By: Carona Ways & Means 5/3/1999 Committee Report (Substituted) BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Currently, Texas law requires the comptroller to withhold a significant number of financial records from both private and public entities. Therefore, the applicability of the Texas Open Records Act can be difficult to determine when the comptroller receives requests for information. Often, the comptroller must seek a ruling from the Office of the Attorney General to determine if a request falls within one of the exceptions granted by the Open Records Act. S.B. 613 provides the comptroller a defense from prosecution for relying upon a determination from a state agency or the Office of the Attorney General before releasing certain information. In addition, this bill makes certain tax and audit records public information. 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 2101.037, Government Code, by adding Subsection (c), as follows: (c) Provides that it is an affirmative defense to prosecution under Section 552.352(a) (relating to the distribution of confidential information) that the comptroller, the project director, another officer or employee of the comptroller, or an independent contractor of the comptroller acted in reliance on a determination made by a state agency about the confidentiality of information supplied by the agency to the project director under Subsection (b). SECTION 2. Amends Section 111.006, Tax Code, by amending Subsection (a) and adding Subsections (f) and (g), as follows: (a) Prohibits certain confidential matter from being used publicly, opened to public inspection, or disclosed except as permitted by this section, rather than under subsection (b), (d), or (e). (f) Provides that Subsection (a)(2) does not apply to information obtained by the comptroller or the attorney general during an examination of a governmental body, as that term is defined in Section 552.003, Government Code. Provides that information obtained by the comptroller or the attorney general during an examination of the governmental body that is confidential under law when in the possession of the governmental body remains confidential while in the possession of the comptroller or the attorney general. (g) Authorizes information made confidential by Subsection (a)(2) that relates to a taxpayer's responsibilities under Chapter 153 to be examined by an official of another state or of the United States under certain circumstances. SECTION 3. Amends Section 151.027(c), Tax Code, to provide that this section does not prohibit the release of information in or derived from a record, report, or other instrument required to be furnished under this chapter by a governmental body, as that term is defined in Section 552.003, Government Code. SECTION 4. Effective date: September 1, 1999. SECTION 5. Emergency clause. COMPARISON OF ORIGINAL TO SUBSTITUTE The substitute modifies the original in SECTION 2 (Section 111.006, Tax Code) to provide that information obtained by the comptroller or the attorney general during an examination of the governmental body that is confidential under law when in the possession of the governmental body remains confidential while in the possession of the comptroller or the attorney general.