BILL ANALYSIS H.B. 2540 By: Jones, J. (Cain) State Affairs 5-22-95 Senate Committee Report (Unamended) BACKGROUND State and federal governments have placed a priority on making governmental information available to the public. Technological 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 an electronic format. The increased recognition of the value of this information has led to a concurrent demand on the part of the public to exercise the right to such access. A major obstacle to reaching this goal has been the availability of online access to Internet. One solution may be providing public access, with governmental assistance, to an Internet terminal through public libraries. Currently, public libraries are connected to a statewide telecommunications network that allows access to national and foreign library holdings and other information. Only about 15 of the largest public libraries have access to this form of electronic database. However, 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. PURPOSE As proposed, H.B. 2540 allows the Texas State Library and Archives Commission to assist public libraries to increase public access to governmental information with technology grants. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the committee's opinion that this bill does not grant any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, institution, or agency. SECTION BY SECTION ANALYSIS SECTION 1. Amends Section 441.135(b), Government Code, to require the state grants program of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission to include public information technology grants to help public libraries make state, local, and federal government information that is accessible through the Internet or electronic bulletin boards available to the public through library computer terminals. SECTION 2. Effective date: September 1, 1995. SECTION 3. Emergency clause.