79R16319 DWS-D

By:  Staples                                                      S.B. No. 1670

Substitute the following for S.B. No. 1670:                                   

By:  Phillips                                                 C.S.S.B. No. 1670

relating to a motor vehicle financial responsibility verification program; providing a penalty. BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS: SECTION 1. Chapter 601, Transportation Code, is amended by adding Subchapter N to read as follows:
Sec. 601.451. DEFINITION. In this subchapter, "implementing agencies" means: (1) the Texas Department of Transportation; (2) the Texas Department of Insurance; and (3) the Department of Information Resources. Sec. 601.452. IMPLEMENTATION OF PROGRAM; RULES. (a) The Texas Department of Transportation in consultation with the other implementing agencies shall establish a program for verification of whether owners of motor vehicles have established financial responsibility. The program established must be: (1) the program most likely to: (A) reduce the number of uninsured motorists in this state; (B) operate reliably; (C) be cost-effective; (D) sufficiently protect the privacy of the motor vehicle owners; (E) sufficiently safeguard the security and integrity of information provided by insurance companies; (F) identify and employ a method of compliance that improves public convenience; and (G) provide information that is accurate and current; and (2) capable of being audited by an independent auditor. (b) The implementing agencies shall jointly adopt rules to administer this subchapter. (c) The implementing agencies shall convene a working group to facilitate the implementation of the program, assist in the development of rules, and coordinate a testing phase and necessary changes identified in the testing phase. The working group must consist of representatives of the implementing agencies and the insurance industry and technical experts with the skills and knowledge, including knowledge of privacy laws, required to create and maintain the program. Sec. 601.453. AGENT. (a) The Texas Department of Transportation in consultation with the other implementing agencies, under a competitive bidding procedure, shall select an agent to develop, implement, operate, and maintain the program. (b) The implementing agencies shall jointly enter into a contract with the selected agent. (c) A contract under this section may not have a term of more than 10 years. Sec. 601.454. INFORMATION PROVIDED BY INSURANCE COMPANY; PRIVACY. (a) Each insurance company providing motor vehicle liability insurance policies in this state shall provide necessary information for those policies to allow the agent to carry out this subchapter, subject to the agent's contract with the implementing agencies and rules adopted under this subchapter. (b) The agent is entitled only to information that is at that time available from the insurance company and that is determined by the implementing agencies to be necessary to carry out this subchapter. (c) Information obtained under this subchapter is confidential. The agent may use the information only for a purpose authorized under this subchapter and may not use the information for a commercial purpose. (d) A person commits an offense if the person knowingly uses information obtained under this subchapter for any purpose not authorized under this subchapter. An offense under this subsection is a Class B misdemeanor. SECTION 2. Sections 502.1715(c) and (d), Transportation Code, are amended to read as follows: (c) Fees [On or after August 31, 2005, fees] collected under this section shall be deposited to the credit of the state highway fund. Subject to appropriation, the money may be used by [the Department of Public Safety,] the Texas Department of Insurance, the Department of Information Resources, and the department to carry out Subchapter N, Chapter 601. (d) The [Department of Public Safety and the] Texas Department of Insurance, the Department of Information Resources, and the department shall jointly adopt rules and develop forms necessary to administer this section. SECTION 3. Section 502.1715(b), Transportation Code, is repealed. SECTION 4. The Texas Department of Transportation shall select an agent required by Section 601.453, Transportation Code, as added by this Act, before December 31, 2005. The agencies responsible for implementing Subchapter N, Chapter 601, Transportation Code, as added by this Act, shall require full implementation of the financial responsibility verification program under that subchapter for noncommercial vehicles before December 31, 2006, and implementation of that program for commercial vehicles when the implementing agencies determine that implementation for commercial vehicles is feasible. SECTION 5. This Act takes effect September 1, 2005.