By: Kolkhorst S.B. No. 915
  relating to the textbook affordability pilot program and to certain
  studies and reports by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating
  Board regarding achievable cost-saving measures and the use and
  availability of electronic, public domain, and open source
  textbooks at institutions of higher education
         SECTION 1.  Subchapter C, Chapter 61, Education Code, is
  amended by adding Section 61.0764 to read as follows:
  this section:
               (1)  "Department" means the department selected by the
  board to administer the pilot program created by this section;
               (2)  "Electronic textbook" means computer software,
  interactive videodisc, magnetic media, CD-ROM, computer
  courseware, on-line services, an electronic medium, or other means
  of conveying information to the student or otherwise contributing
  to the learning process through electronic means, including an
  open-source textbook;
               (3)  "Faculty member" means any full-time or part-time
  employee of the university with teaching responsibilities; 
               (4)  "Institution" means the Texas A&M University;
               (5)  "Open source textbook" means an electronic
  textbook that is available for downloading from the Internet at no
  charge to a student and without requiring the purchase of an unlock
  code, membership, or other access or use charge, except for a charge
  to order an optional printed copy of all or part of the
  instructional material. The term includes
  state-developed open-source instructional material; and
               (5)  "Public domain textbook" means any literary work
  which is no longer under copyright protection or has failed to meet
  the requirements for copyright protection.
         (b)  The board shall establish and administer a pilot project
  at Texas A&M University to provide students with access to textbook
  pricing information and to encourage the adoption of more
  affordable textbook options. The board shall designate a department
  of the institution to administer the program.
         (c)  The pilot program established by subsection (b) shall
               (1)  each faculty member in the department to calculate
  the total estimated cost of all textbooks and materials for each
  course the faculty member teaches and to send the estimated cost to
  the head of the department administering the program;
               (2)  the department to prominently display the
  estimated costs submitted under Subdivision (1) in the course
  description and on the syllabus for the course; and
               (3)  the department to use open source, public domain,
  or electronic textbooks where possible.
         (d)  The department shall keep a record of the textbook costs
  for the duration of the program.
         (e)  This section expires January 31, 2019.
  AND ELECTRONIC TEXTBOOKS. (a) In this section "electronic
  textbook", "open source text book", and "public domain textbook"
  have the meanings assigned by Section 61.0764(a). 
         (b)  The board shall conduct a study and recommend policies
  regarding the use of open source, public domain, and electronic
  textbooks in higher education in this state and in other states. The
  study and policy recommendations must include a specific focus on
  the results of pilot program implemented by Texas A&M University
  under Section 61.0764 with respect to the use of open source, public
  domain, and electronic textbooks and must address methods for
  encouraging the use of open source, public domain, or electronic
  textbooks at public or private institutions of higher education in
  this state. 
         (c)  The department designated under Section 61.0764 shall
  assist the board in performing the board's duties under Subsection
  (a). The board shall establish procedures to assist a department in
  complying with this subsection. 
         (d)  The board may solicit and accept gifts and grants from
  any public or private source to conduct the study and develop policy
  recommendations under this section. 
         (e)  Not later than December 1, 2016, the board shall make an
  initial report and recommendations based on the study to the
  governor, lieutenant governor, speaker of the house of
  representatives, and presiding officer of each legislative
  standing committee with primary jurisdiction over higher
  education. The board may include recommendations in the study to
  expand the pilot program created under Section 61.0764 to the
  entire Texas A&M University System or to each institution of higher
  education. This subsection expires January 31, 2017.
         SECTION 2.  This Act takes effect immediately if it receives
  a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
  provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution. If this
  Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this
  Act takes effect September 1, 2015.