Nearing the end

Of the legislative session, that is! The 86th Regular Session of the Texas Legislature will come to a close in just 10 days, on Monday, May 27. Much has moved forward since my last post.

Starting with our Sunset bill, HB 1962, which this week was heard in the Senate Business & Commerce Committee. The Senate sponsor, Sen. Hall, filed a committee substitute that modified the recommendations regarding Legislative records that I wrote about in my last post. Whereas the House amendment to HB 1962 would have completely removed TSLAC’s ability to manage any record of the legislative branch regardless of age, the new version is more closely focused and pertains to records of members of the legislature and the lieutenant governor. The bill also provides the authority to advertise services and to sell reproductions of archival treasures with the proceeds benefiting preservation efforts.

On the budget side, we seem to have been unsuccessful in persuading the legislature of the need for long-term storage capacity for state agency records and archives. We will be completely out of storage space to store state records this year. While there is still a chance we may receive funds to implement a temporary solution, we now know we will not receive requested funds for the long-term solution to expand the current State Records Center on Shoal Creek Boulevard in Austin. We will be directed to conduct a study of records storage needs due to the Legislature December 1, 2019.

On other fronts, several bills have passed or seem likely to pass that will benefit libraries statewide. HB 1960 by Price, which would create a broadband council in the Governor’s Office and include a representative of a library organization, has passed and been sent to the Governor for signature. HB 402 by Thompson that would implement the Uniform Electronic Legal Materials Act, or UELMA, in Texas and put TSLAC in a position of implementing that plan, has been sent to the Governor. SB 1109 by Lucio that would direct the Health and Human Services Commission and TSLAC to work together to conduct an outreach program to elderly Texans with visual impairments has passed the Senate and is waiting for a House vote.

TSLAC thanks everyone who came to testify on behalf of our budget and our Sunset bill, most recently Gretchen Pruett, Eric Lashley, and Martha Doty Freeman, who appeared at the Senate Business & Commerce Committee meeting to speak in favor of the TSLAC Sunset bill.

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