TITLE 3. LEGISLATIVE BRANCH
SUBTITLE C. LEGISLATIVE AGENCIES AND OVERSIGHT COMMITTEES
CHAPTER 323. TEXAS LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL
Sec. 323.001. CREATION AND MEMBERSHIP. (a) The Texas Legislative Council is an agency of the legislative branch of state government.
(b) The council consists of:
(1) the lieutenant governor;
(2) the speaker of the house of representatives;
(3) the chairman of the house administration committee;
(4) six senators from various areas of the state appointed by the president of the senate; and
(5) five other members of the house of representatives from various areas of the state appointed by the speaker.
(c) The lieutenant governor and the speaker are joint chairs of the council.
(d) If a vacancy occurs in the appointed membership, the appropriate appointing authority shall appoint a person to serve for the remainder of the unexpired term.
(e) Except for the lieutenant governor and the speaker, each member serves a term beginning on the date of the member's appointment and ending with the convening of the first regular legislative session that occurs after the date of appointment.
(f) The lieutenant governor and the speaker act as the council during a regular legislative session.
Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 479, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1328, Sec. 6, eff. June 21, 2003; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., 3rd C.S., ch. 3, Sec. 6.10, 6.11, eff. Jan. 11, 2004.
Sec. 323.003. MEETINGS. (a) The council shall meet as often as necessary to perform its duties. Meetings may be held at any time at the request of either of the joint chairs of the council.
(b) A majority of the members of the council from each house of the legislature constitutes a quorum. If a quorum is present, the council may act on any matter that is within its jurisdiction by a majority vote.
(c) The council shall keep complete minutes of each meeting.
(d) Each member of the legislature is entitled to attend and present his views in any meeting of the council, except that a legislator who is not a member of the council may not vote.
Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 479, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., 3rd C.S., ch. 3, Sec. 6.12, eff. Jan. 11, 2004.
Sec. 323.004. EXPENSES OF MEMBERS. Members of the council are entitled to reimbursement for necessary expenses incurred in performing functions as members of the council.
Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 479, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.
Sec. 323.005. COUNCIL EXPENDITURES; SALARIES. (a) The amount of allowable expenditures for the council is determined by legislative appropriation.
(b) The council shall determine the salaries of its assistants and employees.
(c) The certificate of either of the joint chairs of the council is sufficient evidence of the validity of a claim. On certification, the comptroller shall issue warrants on the treasury to pay each claim for mileage and per diem expenses, salaries of employees, and other authorized expenses.
Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 479, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., 3rd C.S., ch. 3, Sec. 6.13, eff. Jan. 11, 2004.
Sec. 323.006. POWERS AND DUTIES. (a) The council shall:
(1) study and investigate the functions and problems of state departments, agencies, and officers;
(2) conduct investigations and studies and make reports that may be considered useful to the legislative branch of state government;
(3) gather and disseminate information for the legislature's use;
(4) meet and perform council functions during the legislative interim;
(5) make periodic reports to all members of the legislature and keep the legislature fully informed of all issues that may come before the council, any action taken on an issue, and the progress made on an issue;
(6) report council recommendations to the legislature and, if appropriate, provide drafts of legislation with the report;
(7) assist the legislature in drafting proposed legislation; and
(8) provide data-processing services to aid members and legislative committees in accomplishing their legislative duties.
(b) By agreement with either house of the legislature or a legislative agency, the council may perform other services or functions for or on behalf of the house or agency.
Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 479, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.
Sec. 323.007. STATUTORY REVISION PROGRAM. (a) The council shall plan and execute a permanent statutory revision program for the systematic and continuous study of the statutes of this state and for the formal revision of the statutes on a topical or code basis. The purpose of the program is to clarify and simplify the statutes and to make the statutes more accessible, understandable, and usable.
(b) When revising a statute the council may not alter the sense, meaning, or effect of the statute.
(c) As part of the statutory revision program, the council shall:
(1) prepare a statutory record showing the status and disposition within the classification of the revised statutes of all acts enacted by the legislature;
(2) prepare and submit to the legislature in bill form statutory revisions on a topical or code basis;
(3) include a report with each revision that contains revisor's notes explaining in detail the work done; and
(4) formulate and implement a continuous revision program so that statutes that have been revised and enacted may be updated without the need for subsequent major revisions.
Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 479, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985. Amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 685, Sec. 1.15, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.
Sec. 323.008. STATUTORY REVISION ADVISORY COMMITTEE. (a) If the council determines a need exists, either of the joint chairs of the council may appoint statutory revision advisory committees to advise the council on matters relating to the revision of particular subjects of the law.
(b) Advisory committees consist of seven members appointed by a joint chair of the council. Advisory committee members serve for a period of two years from the date of appointment.
(c) In appointing an advisory committee, a joint chair shall include representatives of the:
(1) State Bar of Texas;
(2) judiciary; and
(3) Texas law schools.
(d) An advisory committee shall meet at the call of either of the joint chairs of the council.
(e) Each advisory committee shall select one of its members as chairman.
(f) Advisory committee members serve without compensation but are entitled to reimbursement for actual expenses incurred in attending official committee meetings. Those expenses are paid from funds appropriated to the council.
Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 479, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., 3rd C.S., ch. 3, Sec. 6.14, eff. Jan. 11, 2004.
Sec. 323.009. ORIENTATION FOR MEMBERS-ELECT. (a) The council may reimburse members-elect of the legislature for travel expenses incurred in attending an orientation program conducted by the council between the date of the general election and the convening of the regular legislative session.
(b) Payment of reimbursement shall be in accordance with rules adopted by the council.
(c) An individual may be reimbursed under this section for only one round trip between the individual's home and the City of Austin.
(d) An individual holding office as a member of the legislature when the orientation program occurs is not eligible for reimbursement under this section.
Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 479, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.
Sec. 323.010. INVESTIGATIONS AND SURVEYS. (a) The council or a council committee authorized by the council to hold hearings may hold public or executive hearings to make investigations and surveys.
(b) The hearing shall be held at a time and place in the state determined by the council.
(c) The council may:
(1) inspect and copy any book, record, file, or other instrument or document of a department, institution, county, or political subdivision of the state that is pertinent to a matter under investigation by the council; and
(2) examine and audit the books of a person, firm, or corporation having dealings with a department or institution under investigation by the council.
(d) Any member of the council or of the committee may administer oaths to witnesses appearing at the hearing.
Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 479, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.
Sec. 323.011. SUBPOENAS. (a) The council or a council committee may issue subpoenas to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of books, records, or other documents in their custody.
(b) A subpoena must be signed by either of the joint chairs of the council.
(c) The council sergeant at arms or any peace officer shall serve the subpoena in the manner prescribed for service of a district court subpoena.
(d) If a person to whom a subpoena is directed refuses to appear, refuses to answer inquiries, or fails or refuses to produce books, records, or other documents that were under the person's control when the demand was made, the council or a council committee shall report the fact to a Travis County district court.
(e) The district court shall enforce a council or committee subpoena by attachment proceedings for contempt in the same manner the court enforces a subpoena issued by that court.
(f) A subpoenaed witness who attends a council hearing or meeting is entitled to the same mileage and per diem as a witness who appears before a grand jury of this state.
Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 479, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., 3rd C.S., ch. 3, Sec. 6.15, eff. Jan. 11, 2004.
Sec. 323.012. ASSISTANCE FROM OTHER AGENCIES. (a) The council may request assistance and advice from all state departments or agencies, including the:
(1) attorney general;
(2) Texas State Library; and
(3) State Auditor.
(b) On the request of either of the joint chairs of the council, the attorney general shall render opinions and give advice and assistance to the council.
Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 479, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., 3rd C.S., ch. 3, Sec. 6.16, eff. Jan. 11, 2004.
Sec. 323.014. COMPUTER ACCESS, INFORMATION, AND USE. (a) The council shall consider each application for direct access to a computer under its control in which confidential information is stored or processed or that is connected with another computer in which confidential information is stored or processed and solely shall determine whether or not to permit direct access by the applicant. Direct access to such a computer may not be permitted unless protection of confidential information is ensured.
(b) If public information of the council is stored in a computer-readable form, the council has exclusive authority to determine the form in which the information will be reproduced for the requestor of the information.
(c) Notwithstanding Subchapter F, Chapter 552, the council has exclusive authority to determine the charge for direct access to a computer under its control and the charge for information reproduced for a requestor.
(d) The council may consider the needs of persons with disabilities when making decisions regarding the formats in which information is made available under this chapter.
Added by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 167, Sec. 2.11(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1987. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 76, Sec. 5.95(95), eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 877, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.
Sec. 323.0145. ELECTRONIC AVAILABILITY OF LEGISLATIVE INFORMATION THROUGH THE INTERNET. (a) In this section:
(1) "Internet" means the largest nonproprietary nonprofit cooperative public computer network, popularly known as the Internet.
(2) "Legislative information" means:
(A) a list of all the members of each house of the legislature;
(B) a list of the committees of the legislature and their members;
(C) the full text of each bill as filed and as subsequently amended, substituted, engrossed, or enrolled in either house of the legislature;
(D) the full text of each amendment or substitute adopted by a legislative committee for each bill filed in either house of the legislature;
(E) the calendar of each house of the legislature, the schedule of legislative committee hearings, and a list of the matters pending on the floor of each house of the legislature;
(F) detailed procedural information about how a bill filed in either house of the legislature becomes law, including detailed timetable information concerning the times under the constitution or the rules of either house when the legislature may take certain actions on a bill;
(G) the district boundaries or other identifying information for the following districts in Texas:
(i) house of representatives;
(iii) State Board of Education; and
(iv) United States Congress; and
(H) other information related to the legislative process that in the council's opinion should be made available through the Internet.
(b) The council, to the extent it considers it to be feasible and appropriate, may make legislative information available to the public through the Internet.
(c) The council may make available to the public through the Internet any documentation that describes the electronic digital formats of legislative information.
(d) The access to legislative information allowed by this section:
(1) is in addition to the public's access to the information through other electronic or print distribution of the information;
(2) does not alter, diminish, or relinquish any copyright or other proprietary interest or entitlement of the State of Texas or a private entity under contract with the state; and
(3) does not affect Section 323.014.
Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 877, Sec. 3, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.
Sec. 323.015. COMPUTER SECURITY; PENALTY. (a) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally or knowingly gains access to information stored or maintained by a computer under the control of the council and the person is not authorized by the council to have access to that information.
(b) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly damages, destroys, deletes, or alters or impairs access to or use of information stored or maintained by a computer under the control of the council and the person is not authorized by the council to do so.
(c) Subsection (b) does not apply to an interruption of utility service or other service that causes the damage, destruction, deletion, or alteration of or impairment of access to or use of the information unless the interruption was intended to have that result.
(d) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor.
Added by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 167, Sec. 2.11(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1987.
Sec. 323.016. GIFTS AND GRANTS. (a) The council may accept gifts, grants, and donations from any organization described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code for the purpose of funding any activity under this chapter.
(b) All gifts, grants, and donations must be accepted in an open meeting by a majority of the voting members of the council and reported in the public record of the council with the name of the donor and purpose of the gift, grant, or donation.
Added by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 617, Sec. 4, eff. Sept. 1, 1987.
Sec. 323.017. CONFIDENTIAL COMMUNICATIONS. Communications, including conversations, correspondence, and electronic communications, between a member of the legislature or the lieutenant governor and an assistant or employee of the council that relate to a request by the official for information, advice, or opinions from an assistant or employee of the council are confidential. Information, advice, and opinions given privately by an assistant or employee of the council to a member of the legislature, or the lieutenant governor, acting in the person's official capacity, are confidential. However, the member or lieutenant governor may choose to disclose all or a part of the communications, information, advice, or opinions to which this section applies, and such a disclosure does not violate the law of this state.
Added by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 1053, Sec. 2, eff. June 20, 1987. Renumbered from Sec. 323.016 by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 2, Sec. 16.01(25), eff. Aug. 28, 1989. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, Sec. 9.002, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.
Sec. 323.018. RECORDS OF DRAFTING AND OTHER REQUESTS. Records relating to requests of council staff for the drafting of proposed legislation or for assistance, information, advice, or opinion are not public information.
Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 877, Sec. 4, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.
Sec. 323.019. STATISTICAL AND DEMOGRAPHIC INFORMATION AND STUDIES. (a) The council may gather and analyze information relating to public education and other public services for the purpose of conducting statistical and demographic research and producing reports.
(b) State agencies in each branch of government shall cooperate with the council in the gathering of information and the production of reports under this section and shall provide information as requested by the council to the maximum extent permitted by state or federal law.
(c) In order to develop and evaluate legislative policy, the council is entitled to collect data from any state agency, including data that is confidential under state or federal law. In addition to other uses consistent with this section, the council may use data collected for the purpose of matching data from various agencies. Confidential data collected by the council does not lose its character as confidential information because of its collection by the council, and the providing of that data to the council does not constitute a release of the information by the state agency. For the limited purpose of collecting and matching data subject to 20 U.S.C. Section 1232g or other federal law governing education records, employees of the council are considered state school officials.
(d) The council is subject to any federal law governing the release of or providing access to any personally identifiable information to the same extent as the agency from which the data is collected. The council may not release or distribute the data to any individual member of the legislature, or to any other person, in a form that contains personally identifiable information.
(e) In collecting personally identifiable information under this section, the council and the state agency from which the data is collected shall cooperate in the confidential handling of the data, such as the encoding, decoding, and reencoding of the information. Personally identifiable information may be used by the council solely for the purpose of statistical and policy analysis, including data matching, and must be destroyed immediately when no longer needed for that analysis.
(f) Using information collected and matched under this section, the council may produce and release statistical data that does not include any personally identifiable information.
Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1585, Sec. 2, eff. June 20, 1999.
Sec. 323.020. CONTRACTS TO PERFORM STATISTICAL OR DEMOGRAPHIC ANALYSIS; CONFIDENTIALITY. (a) Subsections (c)-(g) do not apply in relation to a statistical or demographic analysis of information related to the redistricting process.
(b) At the request of a state agency, the council may determine whether and the extent to which council resources are available to contract or otherwise agree with the agency to perform a statistical or demographic analysis of information for the agency or to assist the agency in performing the analysis. A reference in this section to performing an analysis includes assisting an agency to perform the analysis.
(c) Except as provided by this section, information that the council acquires or produces in relation to a statistical or demographic analysis performed under Subsection (b) is confidential and not public information subject to Chapter 552, including:
(1) any information that identifies or tends to identify an individual or other entity that submitted information or that was asked to submit information for the analysis;
(2) working drafts and working papers developed in performing the analysis;
(3) contracts and subcontracts entered into for purposes of performing the analysis;
(4) internal and interagency correspondence sent or received in the course of performing the analysis;
(5) memoranda of understanding entered into in relation to performing the analysis; and
(6) data, data files, databases, computer coding, computer specification programs, data use agreements, and data dictionaries acquired or used in performing the analysis.
(d) Without regard to whether the council collects information for purposes of performing a statistical or demographic analysis of information under Subsection (b) indirectly through the state agency or directly from another governmental or nongovernmental entity, an individual or other entity that voluntarily provides information to the state agency or to the council for purposes of the analysis does not waive any exception from required disclosure or any privilege not to disclose the information, and the character of the information as privileged or excepted from required disclosure is not affected by that action of the individual or other entity.
(e) A final report containing a statistical or demographic analysis of information performed under Subsection (b), a cover letter or cover memorandum for the final report, and an announcement that the final report is available are not confidential and are subject to required public disclosure under Chapter 552 except to the extent that the final report, cover letter or cover memorandum, or announcement contains information that identifies or tends to identify an individual or entity other than information that names a staff member who performed work in relation to performing the analysis or that names government officials on a letterhead.
(f) Notwithstanding Subsection (c)(3), a contract or other agreement between the council and a state agency under Subsection (b) and the names of the staff members who perform work in relation to performing the analysis under the contract or agreement are not confidential. A contract or agreement between the council and a state agency under Subsection (b) is public information subject to Chapter 552.
(g) Information that an individual or other entity submits for the purpose of a statistical or demographic analysis of information performed by the council under Subsection (b) may not be used against the individual or other entity in a state agency enforcement proceeding. This subsection does not affect the ability of a state agency to obtain the information by other means and to use the information, if obtained by other means, in a state agency enforcement proceeding.
Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 918, Sec. 1, eff. June 20, 2003.