HBA-AMW H.B. 578 77(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 578 By: Solomons State Affairs 3/1/2001 Introduced BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE The 76th Legislature authorized the Electronic Government Task Force to create the TexasOnline Internet portal to provide a single point of access to electronic government services in Texas for citizens and businesses. Through TexasOnline, Texas citizens have online access to such services as the Texas Tomorrow Fund and online applications for Texas public universities. In addition, residents of certain counties may renew their vehicle registration. Many Texas businesses also have online access to filing and payment of sales taxes, license renewal, and Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission event registration. TexasOnline continues to work with state and local governments to add services for people and businesses in Texas. House Bill 578 creates the Texas Online Commission to implement the Texas Online Project as a continuation and expansion of the services provided by the TexasOnline Internet portal. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking authority is expressly delegated to the Texas Online Commission and the governing board of the Department of Information Resources in SECTION 1 (Section 2054.263, Government Code) of this bill. ANALYSIS House Bill 578 amends the Government Code to create the Texas Online Commission as a state agency (Sec. 2054.253). The bill requires the Texas Online Commission (commission) to implement a Texas Online Project (project) that establishes a common electronic system using the Internet through which state agencies and local governments can electronically: _send documents to members of the public and persons who are regulated by a state agency or local government; _receive applications for licenses and permits and other documents for filing from members of the public and persons who are regulated by a state agency or local government that can be electronically signed by the member of the public or regulated person; and _receive required payments from members of the public and persons who are regulated by a state agency or local government (Sec. 2054.252). This project is a continuation and expansion of the demonstration project on electronic transactions between state or local government and members of the public (SECTION 4). The bill establishes the composition of the commission, sets forth the terms of commission membership, and provides that the member of the commission representing the Department of Information Resources (department) is the presiding officer (Secs. 2054.254, 2054.255, and 2054.256). The bill also requires the officers and other entities responsible for making appointments to make their initial appointments not later than October 31, 2001, and requires the governor to designate the initial terms of all appointees so that members terms expire on certain dates. The bill sets forth provisions regarding the first meeting and meeting schedule of the commission, reimbursement of expenses, and training for members of the commission (Secs. 2054.257, 2054.258, 2054.259, and SECTION 5). H.B. 578 sets forth the reporting requirements for and the general powers and duties of the commission (Sec. 2054.260 and 2054.261). The bill establishes provisions requiring the commission to assist and coordinate with other governmental entities regarding the project and electronic government initiatives (Sec. 2054.262). The bill requires the commission to prepare rules regarding operation of the project for consideration by the governing board of the department (board) and authorizes the board to adopt such rules (Sec. 2054.263). The bill requires the commission to adopt an icon, symbol, brand, seal, or other identifying device to represent the project, and authorizes the commission to request and accept a gift, donation, or grant from any person (Secs. 2054.264 and 2054.267). H.B. 578 requires the department to create a division in the department to assist the commission in implementing its powers and duties, including providing personnel to the commission (Sec. 2054.265). The bill requires the commission to develop and implement policies that clearly separate the policymaking responsibilities of the commission and the management responsibilities of the division (Sec. 2054.266). H.B. 578 requires a state agency to consider using the project for agency services provided on the Internet that require security. The bill requires a state agency that chooses to use the project to comply with the rules adopted by the department. If a state agency chooses not to use the project, the bill provides that the agency must provide proof to the commission that the services used by the agency are at least equivalent to, and at equal or lower costs than, those services that the project could provide. The bill also requires the commission to prescribe the documentation required. The bill authorizes a state agency or local government that uses the project to charge a fee to recover the actual costs reasonably incurred by the entity because of the project (Sec. 2054.111). The bill also requires each state agency to review its requirements for forms, data collection, and notarization when planning to deliver a service through the Internet, to determine the appropriate level of authentication (Sec. 2054.112). The bill also extends from September 1, 2001, to November 1, 2001, the abolishment date for the task force assessing the feasibility of certain electronic transactions between state or local government and members of the public (Sec. 2054.062). EFFECTIVE DATE On passage, or if the Act does not receive the necessary vote, the Act takes effect September 1, 2001.