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Library-Related Legislation

HB 402 by Rep. Senfronia Thompson, relating to the adoption of the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act. It provides guidelines for states publishing official primary legal materials online, will make the legal system easier for laypeople and attorneys to access, and gives guidance on how to preserve amended or outdated legal materials. UELMA offers a technology-neutral, outcomes-based approach to ensuring that online state legal material deemed official is trustworthy, will be preserved, and will be permanently available to the public. Signed by the Governor. Effective 9/01/2019

HB 700 by Rep. Ryan Guillen, relating to the use of the skills development fund by certain entities. The bill expands the types of organizations that can apply for grants from the Texas Workforce Commission Skills Development Fund to include public libraries and local workforce development boards. The bill passed the House, but was amended on Senate floor to remove public libraries on request from the Governor’s office and passed as amended. Rep. Guillen refused to concur with amendment and a conference committee was appointed. The conference committee was unable to add public libraries back to the final bill, but did add a requirement that TWC study and develop recommendations for increasing the effectiveness of the fund, including expanding participation in opportunities available through the fund. Signed by the Governor. Effective 9/01/2019

HB 703 by Rep. Cody Harris, relating to the confidentiality of birth records. Referred to the Public Health Committee chaired by Rep. Senfronia Thompson.

The bill extends the length of time before birth records enter the public domain from 75 years, to 125 years. TLA opposes the bill, and submitted testimony to the Public Health Committee expressing our concerns. The Texas State Genealogical Society and other organizations worked with the author to modify the bill. The Committee Substitute for HB 703 extends the time from 75 years to 90 years. The substitute passed the committee and was sent to Calendars. The bill was never scheduled for the House floor. Died

HB 1960 by Rep. Four Price, relating to the creation of the governor’s broadband council. Referred to State Affairs Committee chaired by Rep. Dade Phelan. The bill was heard March 25 and the author, Rep. Price shared that the bill would be modified to include representatives from a library advocacy group, and K-12 education on the Council. The bill was updated to include a representative from the library community in the membership of the council and passed by the committee. Signed by the Governor. Effective immediately.

HB 1962 by Rep. Stan Lambert, and SB 618 by Sen. Bob Hall, relating to the continuation and functions of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

On November 14, the Sunset Commission voted to continue the Texas State Library and Archives Commission for another 12 years with no major operational changes. Members accepted the Sunset staff report recommendations, and added a new recommendation to allow TSLAC to advertise the agency’s programs and services, and develop educational materials for the public and for sale.

This bill reflects those recommendations.  HB 1962 was referred to the Culture, Recreation & Tourism Committee chaired by Rep. John Cyrier.

HB 1962 was heard by the Culture, Recreation & Tourism Committee on March 12 and left pending in committee. On March 26, the committee substitute was passed. The Committee Substitute for HB 1962 includes an entirely new section titled Archival Legislative Records which we were unaware of.

The bill was amended in the House and Senate to carve out Legislative records and establish that ownership and legal custody of those records remains with the legislative entity. It also states that the Legislative Reference Library is the depository for records created by members of the legislature and the lieutenant governor. The Legislative Reference Library is also responsible for the preservation legislative records placed in other approved depositories.

TLA strongly objected to the new section relating to Legislative records, however, we supported passage of HB 1962 because reauthorization of the state library is essential to Texas libraries. The bill passed the House and Senate as amended. Filed without Governor’s signature. Effective 9/01/2019

HB 3730 by Rep. Valoree Swanson (Spring) requires that school districts and vendors must certify compliance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) to be eligible to participate in TexQuest. TLA opposed this bill. It was passed by the House Committee on Culture, Recreation & Tourism, and placed on the calendar for consideration. However, the bill was not considered before the deadline for the House to pass House bills; therefore, it did not advance. Died

HB 4181 by Rep. Charlie Geren (Fort Worth) makes monumental changes to how official records of the Texas legislature are managed, creating a legislative branch carve out from public scrutiny, undermining the public’s right to know, and limiting government accountability. TLA strongly opposed this bill; however, it was passed by the House and Senate. Filed without Governor’s signature. Effective immediately.

SB 29 by Sen. Bob Hall (Rockwall) prohibits the use of public money by certain political subdivisions for specific lobbying activities, and significantly limits the ability of cities, counties, and school districts to pay for membership fees and dues to nonprofit state associations that lobby. TLA opposed this bill. It passed the Senate but was defeated in the House. Died


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