By:  Zaffirini, Nelson, Ellis                          S.B. No. 273


                                A BILL TO BE ENTITLED

                                       AN ACT

 1-1     relating to development of a statewide consumer guide for senior

 1-2     citizens.


 1-4           SECTION 1.  Subchapter B, Chapter 403, Government Code, is

 1-5     amended by adding Section 403.026 to read as follows:


 1-7     WORK GROUP.  (a)  The comptroller shall develop and annually update

 1-8     a statewide consumer guide for senior citizens designed to assist

 1-9     senior citizens and their families in making informed choices

1-10     regarding available senior services.  The guide must:

1-11                 (1)  contain a directory of service providers for

1-12     senior citizens in a format developed by the interagency work group

1-13     created under Subsection (b) and arranged by geographical area if

1-14     appropriate;

1-15                 (2)  contain comprehensive information on services

1-16     available to senior citizens, including long-term care services,

1-17     housing assistance, meals, personal care, and transportation;

1-18                 (3)  enable a senior citizen or a person assisting a

1-19     senior citizen to identify and assess each option available for

1-20     meeting a senior citizen's individual needs; and

1-21                 (4)  prominently display:

1-22                       (A)  the regional toll-free access number of the

1-23     appropriate area agency on aging; and

 2-1                       (B)  the toll-free number of the Texas Department

 2-2     on Aging.

 2-3           (b)  An interagency work group is created to assist the

 2-4     comptroller in developing and updating the guide.  The work group

 2-5     is composed of representatives from:

 2-6                 (1)  the comptroller's office, appointed by the

 2-7     comptroller;

 2-8                 (2)  the Texas Department on Aging, appointed by the

 2-9     executive director of that agency;

2-10                 (3)  the Texas Department of Human Services, appointed

2-11     by the commissioner of human services;

2-12                 (4)  the Texas Department of Housing and Community

2-13     Affairs, appointed by the director of that agency; and

2-14                 (5)  the Health and Human Services Commission,

2-15     appointed by the commissioner of health and human services.

2-16           (c)  The comptroller may request that other state agencies or

2-17     universities designate representatives to serve on the work group

2-18     in addition to the representatives listed in Subsection (b) if the

2-19     agency or university requested to participate has an employee with

2-20     specialized expertise or knowledge of a subject matter to be

2-21     included in the guide.

2-22           (d)  A member of the work group serves at the will of the

2-23     appointing entity.

2-24           (e)  The comptroller shall appoint a member of the work group

2-25     to serve as presiding officer, and members of the work group shall

 3-1     elect any other necessary officers.

 3-2           (f)  The work group shall meet at the call of the presiding

 3-3     officer.

 3-4           (g)  The appointing entity is responsible for the expenses of

 3-5     a member's service on the work group.  A member of the work group

 3-6     receives no additional compensation for serving on the work group.

 3-7           (h)  The work group is not subject to Article 6252-33,

 3-8     Revised Statutes.

 3-9           (i)  The entities listed in Subsections (b)(2)-(5) shall take

3-10     all action necessary to assist the comptroller in developing and

3-11     updating the guide, including providing staff with expertise in

3-12     information and referral services and other necessary information,

3-13     but may not diminish services required to be provided by other law.

3-14           (j)  The work group may modify the contents of the guide if

3-15     the modifications do not detract from the goal of increasing

3-16     consumer access to senior services.

3-17           (k)  The comptroller shall make the guide available to:

3-18                 (1)  the public through the Internet; and

3-19                 (2)  each area agency on aging and, on request, to

3-20     another state agency in electronic format.

3-21           (l)  In conducting the work needed to develop the statewide

3-22     consumer guide for senior citizens, the interagency work group

3-23     shall consult with consumer and provider groups involved in the

3-24     delivery of long-term care services.

3-25           SECTION 2.  Subchapter B, Chapter 101, Human Resources Code,

 4-1     is amended by adding Section 101.031 to read as follows:


 4-3     DISTRIBUTION.  (a)  The board by rule shall require an area agency

 4-4     on aging to submit annually to the comptroller current information

 4-5     on local service providers and resources for senior citizens for

 4-6     inclusion in the senior citizen consumer guide created under

 4-7     Section 403.026, Government Code.  Each agency shall provide the

 4-8     information in a format prescribed by the comptroller.

 4-9           (b)  An area agency on aging shall make the guide available

4-10     to as many senior citizens in the agency's service area as

4-11     possible.

4-12           SECTION 3.  Not later than January 10, 1998, each area agency

4-13     on aging shall submit to the comptroller of public accounts

4-14     information on local resources for senior citizens in the agency's

4-15     area for inclusion in the initial senior citizen consumer guide

4-16     created under Section 403.026, Government Code, as added by this

4-17     Act.

4-18           SECTION 4.  Prior to completion of the guide, the comptroller

4-19     of public accounts shall provide opportunity for review and comment

4-20     of the guide under development to consumer and provider groups

4-21     involved in the delivery of long-term care services.  Not later

4-22     than February 14, 1998, the comptroller shall complete development

4-23     of the senior citizen consumer guide required by Section 403.026,

4-24     Government Code, as added by this Act, and make the guide available

4-25     in the manner required by that section.

 5-1           SECTION 5.  Not later than January 15, 1999, the interagency

 5-2     work group created under Subsection (b), Section 403.026,

 5-3     Government Code, as added by this Act, shall prepare and deliver to

 5-4     the clerks of the standing committees of the senate and house of

 5-5     representatives with primary jurisdiction over human services a

 5-6     report concerning the effectiveness of the senior citizen consumer

 5-7     guide required by Section 403.026, Government Code, as added by

 5-8     this Act.

 5-9           SECTION 6.  The importance of this legislation and the

5-10     crowded condition of the calendars in both houses create an

5-11     emergency and an imperative public necessity that the

5-12     constitutional rule requiring bills to be read on three several

5-13     days in each house be suspended, and this rule is hereby suspended,

5-14     and that this Act take effect and be in force from and after its

5-15     passage, and it is so enacted.