H.B. 2540
By: Jones
Committee Report (Unamended)


The state and federal governments have placed a priority on
providing government related information to the public.  Federal
agencies, through Congressional intent, are required to allow
public access to specific government information.  Technology
advances offer less costly and more effective techniques to
disseminate electronic information, resulting  in a significant
increase in the number of people and organizations that can utilize
information in electronic format (Internet).  The increased
recognition of the value of current information to the individual
recipients and to the state and federal governments has led to a
growing demand on the part of the public to exercise their right to
such access.

A major building block to reaching this goal is the availability of
online access to Internet.  A solution to this problem would be to
provide public access, with government assistance, to an Internet
terminal through public libraries.  Currently, public libraries and
the State Library are connected to a statewide telecommunications
network (THEnet), which is part of a federally-sponsored
international network that allows access to national and foreign
library holdings and other information.  Only about 15 of the
largest public libraries, however, have access to this form of
electronic database, according to the Texas Department of
Information Resources.  While networked systems are few, about two-thirds of the population of the state is served by public libraries
with integrated automated library systems.  Therefore the physical
infrastructure for the delivery of information is already in place
for the majority of the population of the state.  


House Bill 2540 would allow the Texas State Library and Archives
Commission to provide public information technology grants to help
public libraries make state, local, and federal government
information available for public access through the Internet or
electronic bulletin board system.


It is the committee's opinion that this bill does not expressly
grant any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer,
department, agency or institution.


     SECTION 1:  Amends Section 441.135(b) of the Government Code
by amending Subsections (b)(3) and (b)(4) and adding Subsection
(b)(5) as follows:

           (b)(3) deletes the word "and";

           (b)(4) adds the word "and";

           (b)(5) permits the Texas State Library and Archives
Commission to make available to public libraries a "public
information technology grant" which may be used to assist the
libraries in providing to the public state, local, and federal
government information that is accessible through the Internet or
electronic bulletin board system through computer terminals.

     SECTION 2:  Effective date.

     SECTION 3:  Emergency Clause.


HB 2540 was considered by the House Committee on State, Federal,
and International Relations in a public hearing on 26 April 1995.

The following person testified in favor of the bill:

     Ms. Elizabeth Crabb
     Texas Library Association

The following person testified neutrally on the bill:

     Ms. Lisa deGruyter
     Texas State Library and Archives

The bill was reported favorably without amendment with the
recommendation that it do pass and be printed and be sent to the
Committee on Local and Consent Calendars, by a record vote of 6
ayes, 0 nays, 0 pnv and 3 absent.