HBA-JLV H.B. 2914 77(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 2914 By: Bonnen Ways & Means 4/9/2001 Introduced BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Each legislative session, the comptroller of public accounts (comptroller) makes recommendations to the legislature to streamline and enhance the agency's administration of the state's fiscal matters. House Bill 2914 makes technical and policy changes to several statutes relating to the state's fiscal management and the comptroller's powers and duties to administer those laws. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking authority is expressly delegated to the comptroller of public accounts in SECTION 24 (Section 659.308, Government Code), SECTION 43 (Section 2113.205, Government Code), SECTION 56 (Section 2251.026, Government Code), and in SECTION 59 (Section 2252.902, Government Code), and to the General Services Commission in SECTION 50 (Section 2251.003, Government Code) of this bill. ANALYSIS House Bill 2914 amends the Business & Commerce, Education, Finance, Government, Health and Safety, Tax, and Utilities codes to make technical and policy changes relating to the state's fiscal management and the comptroller of public account's (comptroller) powers and duties to administer those laws. The bill amends the Business & Commerce Code to provide that any requirement of the Department of Information Resources that generally applies to one or more state agencies using electronic records or electronic signatures is considered to be a recommendation to the comptroller concerning the electronic records or electronic signatures used by the comptroller. The bill authorizes the comptroller to adopt or decline to adopt the recommendation (Sec. 43.020). The bill amends the Education Code to provide that the comptroller is no longer prohibited from issuing a warrant or initiating an electronic funds transfer to a person properly reported to the comptroller or to the person's assignee, the person's estate, the distributees of the person's estate, or the person's surviving spouse if the Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation consents to the issuance of the warrant or initiation of the transfer (Sec. 57.48). The bill amends the Finance Code to provide that individuals appointed to official committees are entitled to reimbursement for reasonable and necessary expenses incidental to travel that occurred in connection with the performance of official duties (Sec. 15.407). The bill amends the Government Code to authorize the comptroller to establish a procedure for a person to use a digital signature to authenticate a document, a communication, or data submitted to the comptroller if the digital signature is unique to the person using it, capable of independent verification, under the sole control of the person using it, and transmitted in a manner that makes it infeasible to change the signature, document, communication, or data without invalidating the signature. The bill provides that the electronic approval of a voucher is governed by these provisions if the comptroller has established a procedure for the person approving the voucher or is governed by provisions governing expenditures by state agencies (Sec. 403.027). The bill sets forth provisions relating to the comptroller's authority regarding intellectual property and requires the comptroller to establish intellectual property policies for the comptroller's office (Sec. 403.030). The bill authorizes a state agency to consent to the comptroller's issuance of a warrant or initiation of a direct deposit to a person that the agency had previously reported to the comptroller as having an indebtedness to the state or a tax delinquency. If the agency does not consent, the comptroller is still prohibited from issuing the warrant or initiating the direct deposit (Sec. 403.055). The bill provides that the energy management center is established as the state energy conservation office within the office of the comptroller (Sec. 447.001). The bill sets forth reimbursement provisions for the members of certain advisory committees (Sec. 659.034). The bill sets forth provisions authorizing the Texas Youth Commission (commission) to pay a commission employee certain amounts of longevity pay and hazardous duty pay (Sec. 659.044). The bill provides that the amount of an employee's lifetime service credit does not include the period served in a hazardous duty position if the employee is entitled to receive hazardous duty pay or is receiving the maximum amount of hazardous duty pay that the commission may pay to the employee (Sec. 659.046). The bill removes provisions prohibiting an employee from advancing to a step number in a new salary group higher than the step number rate held before the reallocation or reclassification if the employee's salary group is divided into steps by the General Appropriations Act (Sec. 659.254). The bill prohibits a state employee from being temporarily reassigned to a position classified in a salary group with a lower minimum salary rate (Sec. 659.260). The bill sets forth provisions relating to hazardous duty pay in the Government Code (Sec. 659.301659.308). The bill provides that an individual is entitled to reimbursement for certain expenses while performing the duties of the individual's office or employment if the individual is a member of the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission, the Texas Workforce Commission, the Public Utility Commission of Texas, the Board of Pardons and Paroles, or the Sabine River Compact Administration, or a full-time member of a board and receives a salary from the state for service on that board (Sec. 660.203). The bill sets forth provisions relating to recovering excess compensation paid to a state officer or employee (Sec. 668.001-668.007). The bill sets forth provisions authorizing a state agency to recover the amount of a state employee's indebtedness by reducing future gross pay. The bill sets forth provisions authorizing the comptroller to recover the amount of a state employee's indebtedness to a state agency (Sec. 668.002). The bill sets forth provisions to provide when an indebtedness is incurred. The bill provides that the provisions neither authorizes nor prohibits a state employee or the employee's successor from assigning the employee's or successor's right or eligibility to receive compensation (Sec. 668.006). The bill provides that a state agency's approval of a voucher includes the agency's approval of any interest that must be paid at the same time the principal amount is paid to a vendor (Sec. 2103.004). The bill sets forth provisions relating to payments by a state agency to debtors or delinquents. The bill authorizes a state agency to issue a payment to a person that is indebted to the state or has a tax delinquency and is also authorized to issue any part of that payment to the person's estate, the distributees of the person's estate, or the person's surviving spouse. The bill provides that a state agency is not prohibited from making a payment if each state agency that properly reported the person to the comptroller consents to the payment (Sec. 2107.008). The bill authorizes a state agency to use money appropriated for a particular fiscal year to pay expenses related to conducting a seminar or conference that will occur partly or entirely during a different fiscal year, if it is cost-effective to do so. The bill authorizes a state agency to use money appropriated for a particular fiscal year to pay the entire cost or amount of a periodical subscription, a maintenance contract, a post office box rental, insurance, or a surety or honesty bond. The bill also authorizes a state agency to use money appropriated for a particular fiscal year to pay for a utility service provided during that fiscal year and September of the next fiscal year. The bill authorizes the comptroller to establish procedures and adopt rules to administer these provisions (Sec. 2113.205). The bill deletes provisions prohibiting a state agency from accepting a bid or awarding a contract to certain out-of-state individuals and business entities unless they hold a sales and use tax permit issued by the comptroller or certify that they do not sell taxable property or services (Sec. 2155.004). The bill modifies provisions to require the state energy conservation office of the comptroller, rather than the energy management center of the governor's office, to assist a governing body of a state agency, commission, or institution in preparing energy conservation standards by providing technical assistance and advice (Sec. 2166.402). The bill requires the General Services Commission (commission) to establish procedures and adopt rules to administer provisions relating to the payment of goods and services, except that the commission is prohibited from establishing a procedure or adopting a rule that conflicts with a procedure established or a rule adopted by the comptroller (Sec. 2251.003). The bill provides that the renewal, amendment, or extension of a contract is considered to be the execution of a new contract for the purposes of prompt payment by a governmental entity (Sec. 2251.021). The bill authorizes a state agency to pay interest to a vendor in the amount specified in the contract between the agency and the vendor, but only if that amount is less than the amount specified in the prompt payment statutes. The bill requires interest to accrue on a payment to a vendor during the period that the comptroller is prohibited from issuing a payment to the vendor because of its tax delinquency, indebtedness to the state, child support delinquency, or student loan default. The bill requires that these provisions take effect on the date the comptroller files a certification with the secretary of state. The bill requires the secretary of state to publish the certification in the Texas Register (Sec. 2251.025). The bill sets forth provisions relating to the payment of interest by a state agency and requires a state agency to determine the amount of interest owed to a vendor by the agency if the amount is based on the contract between the vendor and the agency. The bill authorizes the comptroller to establish procedures and adopt rules to administer the portion of prompt payment provisions that govern interest payments by the comptroller on behalf of state agencies (Sec. 2251.026). The bill requires a state agency to determine whether a payment law prohibits the comptroller from issuing a warrant or initiating an electronic funds transfer to a person before an agency enters into a written contract with that person. The bill requires the agency to make the determination not later than the seventh day before and not later than the date of entering the contract. If the agency determined that a payment law prohibited the comptroller from issuing a payment to a person, the agency is prohibited from entering into the contract unless it required the agency's payments under the contract to be applied directly toward eliminating the person's debt or delinquency. The bill authorizes the comptroller to adopt rules and establish procedures to administer the provisions (Sec. 2252.902). The bill amends the Health and Safety Code to transfer the collection of certain 9-1-1 fees, emergency services fees, and equalization surcharges from the Commission on State Emergency Communications to the comptroller (Secs. 771.071, 771.0711, 771.072, 771.073, and 771.077). The bill exempts the federal government from fees or surcharges authorized by state or local emergency communications or a home-rule municipality (Sec. 771.074). The bill authorizes the comptroller to audit a service provider without first receiving notification of irregularity from the Commission on State Emergency Communications (Sec. 771.076). The bill amends the Tax Code to provide that a local revenue fund is no longer eligible to accrue credit interest (Sec. 111.064). The bill authorizes a governmental entity to file a claim for a refund of the state hotel occupancy tax paid by the entity only on a fiscal year basis (Sec. 156.154). The bill requires the comptroller to submit a biennial report to the governor, lieutenant governor, and the speaker of the house of representatives about franchise tax credits claimed by corporations for certain capital investments (Sec. 171.837). EFFECTIVE DATE On passage, or if the Act does not receive the necessary vote, the Act takes effect on the 91st day after adjournment. The bill also provides other implementation dates for certain sections of the bill.