By Chisum, Duncan, Stiles, Talton, Uher H.B. No. 2473 74R6424 DLF-D A BILL TO BE ENTITLED 1-1 AN ACT 1-2 relating to audits and compliance management systems to determine 1-3 compliance with certain laws, rules, and regulations; providing 1-4 penalties. 1-5 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS: 1-6 SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. This Act may be cited as the Texas 1-7 Environmental, Health, and Safety Audit and Compliance Management 1-8 System Privilege Act. 1-9 SECTION 2. PURPOSE. The purpose of this Act is to encourage 1-10 voluntary compliance with environmental and occupational health and 1-11 safety laws. 1-12 SECTION 3. DEFINITIONS. (a) In this Act: 1-13 (1) "Audit or compliance management system report" 1-14 means an audit or compliance management system report described by 1-15 Section 4 of this Act. 1-16 (2) "Compliance management system" means a voluntary 1-17 compliance assurance program established for a regulated facility 1-18 or operation having at least the following elements: 1-19 (A) a policy requiring conduct of operations in 1-20 compliance with environmental or health and safety laws; 1-21 (B) incentives to encourage employees to ensure 1-22 compliance and report violations to management; 1-23 (C) a clear definition of responsibility for 1-24 compliance for each facility or operation; 2-1 (D) adequate resources dedicated to compliance 2-2 assurance activities; 2-3 (E) training for employees with responsibilities 2-4 related to compliance operations; 2-5 (F) systematically implemented procedures for 2-6 bringing about compliance at each facility or operation; 2-7 (G) regular facility or operation-specific 2-8 reviews of compliance; 2-9 (H) auditing of compliance by qualified 2-10 personnel who are independent from those who manage facility or 2-11 site operations; 2-12 (I) a mechanism to ensure prompt action to 2-13 correct noncompliance and address the underlying cause of the 2-14 noncompliance; 2-15 (J) a mechanism for disciplining employees who 2-16 intentionally or negligently contribute to the commission of 2-17 violations; 2-18 (K) effective management oversight of compliance 2-19 and correction of noncompliance; and 2-20 (L) a regular management review of compliance 2-21 performance and management systems to identify needed improvements. 2-22 (3) "Environmental or health and safety law" means: 2-23 (A) a federal or state environmental or 2-24 occupational health and safety law; or 2-25 (B) a rule, regulation, or regional or local law 2-26 adopted in conjunction with a law described by Paragraph (A) of 2-27 this subdivision. 3-1 (4) "Environmental or health and safety audit" means a 3-2 voluntary evaluation, review, or assessment conducted by an owner 3-3 or operator, an employee of the owner or operator, or an 3-4 independent contractor of: 3-5 (A) a regulated facility or operation; or 3-6 (B) an activity at a regulated facility or 3-7 operation. 3-8 (5) "Owner or operator" means a person who owns or 3-9 operates a regulated facility or operation. 3-10 (6) "Person" means an individual, corporation, 3-11 business trust, partnership, association, and any other legal 3-12 entity. 3-13 (7) "Regulated facility or operation" means a facility 3-14 or operation that is regulated under an environmental or health and 3-15 safety law. 3-16 (b) A person acts intentionally for purposes of this Act if 3-17 the person acts intentionally within the meaning of Section 6.03, 3-18 Penal Code. 3-19 (c) To fully implement the privilege established by this 3-20 Act, the term "environmental or health and safety law" shall be 3-21 construed broadly. 3-22 SECTION 4. AUDIT OR COMPLIANCE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM REPORT. 3-23 (a) An audit or compliance management system report is a report 3-24 that includes each document and communication arising out of the 3-25 environmental or health and safety audit or out of a compliance 3-26 management system. 3-27 (b) General components that may be contained in a completed 4-1 audit or compliance management system report include: 4-2 (1) a report prepared by an auditor, monitor, or 4-3 similar person, which may include a description of: 4-4 (A) the scope of the audit or compliance 4-5 management system; 4-6 (B) the information gained in the audit or 4-7 through the compliance management system and findings, conclusions, 4-8 and recommendations; and 4-9 (C) exhibits and appendices; 4-10 (2) memoranda and documents analyzing all or a portion 4-11 of the materials described by Subdivision (1) of this subsection or 4-12 discussing implementation issues; and 4-13 (3) an implementation plan or tracking system to 4-14 correct past noncompliance, improve current compliance, or prevent 4-15 future noncompliance. 4-16 (c) The types of exhibits and appendices that may be 4-17 contained in an audit or compliance management system report 4-18 include supporting information that is collected or developed for 4-19 the primary purpose of and in the course of an environmental or 4-20 health and safety audit or the compliance management system, 4-21 including: 4-22 (1) interviews with current or former employees; 4-23 (2) field notes and records of observations; 4-24 (3) findings, opinions, suggestions, conclusions, 4-25 guidance, notes, drafts, and memoranda; 4-26 (4) legal analyses; 4-27 (5) drawings; 5-1 (6) photographs; 5-2 (7) laboratory analyses; 5-3 (8) computer-generated or electronically recorded 5-4 information; and 5-5 (9) maps, charts, graphs, and surveys. 5-6 (d) To facilitate identification, each document in an audit 5-7 report should be labeled "COMPLIANCE REPORT: PRIVILEGED DOCUMENT," 5-8 or labeled with words of similar import. Failure to label a 5-9 document under this section does not constitute a waiver of the 5-10 audit privilege and does not create a presumption that the 5-11 privilege does not apply. 5-12 SECTION 5. PRIVILEGE. (a) An audit or compliance 5-13 management system report is privileged as provided in this section. 5-14 (b) Except as provided in Sections 6, 7, 8, and 9 of this 5-15 Act, any part of an audit or compliance management system report is 5-16 privileged and is not admissible as evidence or subject to 5-17 discovery in: 5-18 (1) a civil action, whether legal or equitable; 5-19 (2) a criminal proceeding; or 5-20 (3) an administrative proceeding. 5-21 (c) A person, when called or subpoenaed as a witness, cannot 5-22 be compelled to testify or produce a document if: 5-23 (1) the testimony or document relates to a matter that 5-24 was the subject or within the scope of an environmental or health 5-25 and safety audit or compliance management system and that is 5-26 addressed in a privileged part of an audit or compliance management 5-27 system report; and 6-1 (2) the person is: 6-2 (A) a person who conducted any portion of the 6-3 audit or who was responsible for any part of the compliance 6-4 management system; 6-5 (B) a person to whom the audit or compliance 6-6 management system results are disclosed under Section 6(b) of this 6-7 Act; or 6-8 (C) a custodian of the audit or compliance 6-9 management system results. 6-10 (d) An employee of a state agency may not request, review, 6-11 or otherwise use an audit or compliance management system report 6-12 during an agency inspection of a regulated facility or operation, 6-13 or an activity of a regulated facility or operation. 6-14 (e) A party asserting the privilege described in this 6-15 section has the burden of establishing the applicability of the 6-16 privilege. 6-17 SECTION 6. EXCEPTION: WAIVER. (a) The privilege described 6-18 by Section 5 of this Act does not apply to the extent the privilege 6-19 is expressly waived by the owner or operator who prepared the audit 6-20 or compliance management system report or caused the report to be 6-21 prepared. 6-22 (b) Disclosure of an audit or compliance management system 6-23 report or any information generated by an environmental or health 6-24 and safety audit or compliance management system does not waive the 6-25 privilege established by Section 5 of this Act if the disclosure: 6-26 (1) is made to address or correct a matter raised by 6-27 the environmental or health and safety audit or compliance 7-1 management system and is made only to: 7-2 (A) a person employed by the owner or operator, 7-3 including temporary and contract employees; 7-4 (B) a legal representative of the owner or 7-5 operator; 7-6 (C) an officer or director of the regulated 7-7 facility or operation or a partner of the owner or operator; or 7-8 (D) an independent contractor retained by the 7-9 owner or operator; 7-10 (2) is made under the terms of a confidentiality 7-11 agreement between the person for whom the audit or compliance 7-12 management system report was prepared or the owner or operator of 7-13 the audited facility or operation and: 7-14 (A) a partner or potential partner of the owner 7-15 or operator of the facility or operation; 7-16 (B) a transferee or potential transferee of the 7-17 facility or operation; or 7-18 (C) a lender or potential lender for the 7-19 facility or operation; or 7-20 (3) is made under a claim of confidentiality to a 7-21 governmental official by the person for whom the audit or 7-22 compliance management system report was prepared or by the owner or 7-23 operator. 7-24 (c) A party to a confidentiality agreement described in 7-25 Subsection (b)(2) of this section who violates that agreement is 7-26 liable for damages caused by the disclosure and for any other 7-27 penalties stipulated in the confidentiality agreement. 8-1 (d) Information that is disclosed under Subsection (b)(3) of 8-2 this section is confidential and is not subject to disclosure under 8-3 Chapter 552, Government Code. A public entity, public employee, or 8-4 public official who discloses information in violation of this 8-5 subsection commits an offense. An offense under this subsection is 8-6 a Class B misdemeanor. 8-7 SECTION 7. EXCEPTION: COURT-REQUIRED DISCLOSURE. (a) A 8-8 court of competent jurisdiction may require disclosure of a portion 8-9 of an audit or compliance management system report in a civil, 8-10 criminal, or administrative proceeding if the court determines, 8-11 after an in camera review consistent with the appropriate rules of 8-12 procedure, that: 8-13 (1) the privilege is asserted for a fraudulent 8-14 purpose; 8-15 (2) the portion of the audit or compliance management 8-16 system report is not subject to the privilege under Section 8 of 8-17 this Act; or 8-18 (3) the portion of the audit or compliance management 8-19 system report shows evidence of noncompliance with an environmental 8-20 or health and safety law and appropriate efforts to achieve 8-21 compliance with the law were not promptly initiated and pursued 8-22 with reasonable diligence after discovery of noncompliance. 8-23 (b) A party seeking disclosure under this section has the 8-24 burden of proving that Subsection (a)(1), (2), or (3) of this 8-25 section applies. 8-26 SECTION 8. NONPRIVILEGED MATERIALS. (a) The privilege 8-27 described in this Act does not apply to: 9-1 (1) a document, communication, datum, report, or other 9-2 information required by a regulatory agency to be collected, 9-3 developed, maintained, or reported under a federal or state 9-4 environmental or health and safety law; 9-5 (2) information obtained by observation, sampling, or 9-6 monitoring by a regulatory agency; or 9-7 (3) information obtained from a source not involved in 9-8 the preparation of the environmental or health and safety audit or 9-9 in the compliance management system. 9-10 (b) A regulatory agency may not adopt a rule or impose a 9-11 condition that circumvents this Act by requiring disclosure of an 9-12 audit or compliance management system report. 9-13 SECTION 9. COURT REVIEW AND DISCLOSURE. (a) If there is 9-14 reasonable cause, based on information obtained from a source 9-15 independent of an audit or compliance management system report, to 9-16 believe a criminal offense has been committed under an 9-17 environmental or health and safety law, the attorney representing 9-18 the state may obtain an audit or compliance management system 9-19 report for which a privilege is asserted under this Act under a 9-20 search warrant, criminal subpoena, or discovery as allowed by the 9-21 Code of Criminal Procedure and the Texas Rules of Criminal 9-22 Procedure. 9-23 (b) On receipt of the audit or compliance management system 9-24 report, the attorney representing the state shall seal the report 9-25 and may not review or disclose the contents of the report. 9-26 (c) Not later than the 30th day after the date an audit or 9-27 compliance management system report is received under Subsection 10-1 (a), the owner or operator who prepared the report or for whom the 10-2 report was prepared may file with a court of competent jurisdiction 10-3 a petition requesting an in camera review to determine whether all 10-4 or a portion of the report is privileged or is subject to 10-5 disclosure under this Act. An owner or operator who fails to file 10-6 a petition under this subsection within the period specified by 10-7 this subsection waives the privilege. 10-8 (d) On the filing of a petition under Subsection (c) of this 10-9 section, the court shall issue an order that: 10-10 (1) schedules the in camera review for a date not 10-11 later than the 45th day after the date the petition is filed; and 10-12 (2) authorizes the attorney representing the state to 10-13 remove the seal from the report to review the report, subject to 10-14 appropriate limitations on distribution or disclosure of the report 10-15 that are specified in the order to protect against unnecessary 10-16 disclosure. 10-17 (e) The attorney representing the state may consult with 10-18 enforcement agencies regarding the contents of the report as 10-19 necessary to prepare for the in camera review. 10-20 (f) Information used in preparation for the in camera review 10-21 under Subsection (e) of this section: 10-22 (1) is confidential; 10-23 (2) may not be used in any investigation or legal 10-24 proceeding; and 10-25 (3) is not subject to disclosure under Chapter 552, 10-26 Government Code. 10-27 (g) Subsection (f) of this section does not apply to 11-1 information a court finds to be subject to disclosure. 11-2 (h) On the motion of a party, a court or the appropriate 11-3 administrative official shall suppress evidence offered in any 11-4 civil, criminal, or administrative proceeding that arises or is 11-5 derived from review, disclosure, or use of information obtained 11-6 under this section if the review, disclosure, or use is not 11-7 authorized under this section. A party allegedly failing to comply 11-8 with this section has the burden of proving that the evidence 11-9 offered did not arise and was not derived from the unauthorized 11-10 review, disclosure, or use. 11-11 (i) The parties may stipulate to entry of an order directing 11-12 that specific information contained in an audit or compliance 11-13 management system report is or is not subject to the privilege. 11-14 (j) A court may compel the disclosure of only those portions 11-15 of an audit or compliance management system report relevant to 11-16 issues in dispute in the proceeding. 11-17 (k) A person commits an offense if the person: 11-18 (1) discloses information in violation of Subsection 11-19 (b) or (f) of this section; or 11-20 (2) knowingly discloses information provided to the 11-21 person in violation of this section. 11-22 (l) An offense under Subsection (k) of this section is a 11-23 Class B misdemeanor. 11-24 (m) A court may find a person who discloses information in 11-25 violation of this section in contempt of court and may order other 11-26 appropriate relief. 11-27 SECTION 10. VOLUNTARY DISCLOSURE; IMMUNITY. (a) Except as 12-1 provided by this section, a person who makes a voluntary disclosure 12-2 of a violation of an environmental or health and safety law is 12-3 immune from an administrative, civil, or criminal penalty for the 12-4 violation disclosed. 12-5 (b) A disclosure is voluntary only if: 12-6 (1) the disclosure was made promptly after knowledge 12-7 of the information disclosed is obtained by the person; 12-8 (2) the disclosure was made to an agency that has 12-9 regulatory authority with regard to the violation disclosed; 12-10 (3) the disclosure arises out of: 12-11 (A) a voluntary environmental or health and 12-12 safety audit; or 12-13 (B) the operation of a compliance management 12-14 system; 12-15 (4) the person who makes the disclosure initiates an 12-16 appropriate effort to achieve compliance, pursues that effort with 12-17 due diligence, and corrects the noncompliance within a reasonable 12-18 time; and 12-19 (5) the person making the disclosure cooperates with 12-20 the appropriate agency in connection with an investigation of the 12-21 issues identified in the disclosure. 12-22 (c) A disclosure is not voluntary for purposes of this 12-23 section if it is a report to a regulatory agency required solely by 12-24 a specific condition of an enforcement order or decree. 12-25 (d) The immunity established by Subsection (a) of this 12-26 section does not apply and a penalty may be imposed under 12-27 applicable law in a civil or administrative proceeding if the 13-1 disclosed violation was committed wilfully and intentionally by the 13-2 person who made the disclosure. 13-3 (e) The immunity established by Subsection (a) of this 13-4 section does not apply and a criminal penalty may be imposed under 13-5 applicable law if: 13-6 (1) the person who made the disclosure intentionally 13-7 committed or intentionally aided or abetted in the commission of 13-8 the disclosed violation; or 13-9 (2) the offense was committed intentionally by a 13-10 member of the person's management and the person's policies or lack 13-11 of prevention actions or systems contributed materially to the 13-12 occurrence of the violation. 13-13 (f) A penalty that is imposed under Subsection (e) of this 13-14 section should, to the extent appropriate, be mitigated by factors 13-15 such as: 13-16 (1) the voluntariness of the disclosure; 13-17 (2) efforts by the disclosing party to conduct 13-18 environmental or health and safety audits; 13-19 (3) implementation of a compliance management system; 13-20 (4) remediation; 13-21 (5) cooperation with government officials 13-22 investigating the disclosed violation; 13-23 (6) relative lack of harm or economic benefit; or 13-24 (7) other relevant considerations. 13-25 (g) In a civil, administrative, or criminal enforcement 13-26 action brought against a person for a violation for which the 13-27 person claims to have made a voluntary disclosure, the person 14-1 claiming the immunity has the burden of establishing a prima facie 14-2 case that the disclosure was voluntary. After a prima facie case of 14-3 voluntary disclosure is established, the enforcement authority has 14-4 the burden of rebutting the presumption by a preponderance of the 14-5 evidence or, in a criminal case, by proof beyond a reasonable 14-6 doubt. 14-7 SECTION 11. APPLICABILITY. The privilege created by this 14-8 Act applies to environmental or health and safety audits that are 14-9 conducted, and to conduct associated with a compliance management 14-10 system, on or after the effective date of this Act. 14-11 SECTION 12. RELATIONSHIP TO OTHER RECOGNIZED PRIVILEGES. 14-12 This Act does not limit, waive, or abrogate the scope or nature of 14-13 any statutory or common law privilege, including the work product 14-14 doctrine and the attorney-client privilege. 14-15 SECTION 13. EMERGENCY. The importance of this legislation 14-16 and the crowded condition of the calendars in both houses create an 14-17 emergency and an imperative public necessity that the 14-18 constitutional rule requiring bills to be read on three several 14-19 days in each house be suspended, and this rule is hereby suspended, 14-20 and that this Act take effect and be in force from and after its 14-21 passage, and it is so enacted.