Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 2589
By: Hochberg
State Affairs


State agencies with budgets exceeding a certain amount are required to
maintain a generally accessible Internet site.  In addition to specified
information, such as budget, rules, and contracts, many sites also include
commonly requested information such as hearing announcements, program
descriptions, or publications.  Prior to the 77th Legislature, there was no
requirement for a state agency to post a notice stipulating the conditions
of use for information copied from a state agency Internet site.  Therefore
some sites posted a privacy policy notice or disclaimer, while others did
not.  Well-run commercial Internet sites clearly state a policy of use,
often referred to as "terms of service."  A terms of service statement
informs an individual of the requirements regarding the use of information
taken from an Internet site. House Bill 2589 requires the Department of
Information Resources to create a terms of service statement for state
agency Internet sites. 


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. 


House Bill 2589 amends the Government Code to require the Department of
Information Resources (DIR) to adopt a policy that prescribes terms under
which a person may use, copy information from, or link to a generally
accessible Internet site maintained by or for a state agency, and which
protects the personal information of members of the public who access
information from or through a generally accessible Internet site maintained
by or for a state agency.  The bill requires DIR to establish and
administer a clearinghouse for information relating to all aspects of
protecting the security of state agency information. The bill requires DIR
to post the policy on its Internet site.  All state agencies are required
to prominently post a link to the policy statement on a generally
accessible Internet site maintained by or for that agency. The bill
provides that the state strategic plan must include a strategic direction
for information resources management, including a best practices model to
assist state agencies in adopting effective information management methods
and obtaining effective information resources technologies. 

The bill establishes requirements for the content of the policy and
requires DIR to encourage each state agency to seek available grants and to
work with public educational institutions and members of the business and
industry community for the purpose of Internet website development and
maintenance.  The bill provides that the e-mail address of a member of the
public that is provided for the purpose of communicating electronically
with a governmental body is confidential and not subject to disclosure.
The bill provides that confidential information that relates to a member of
the public may be disclosed if the member of the public affirmatively
consents to its release. 


September 1, 2001.