P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 22, 2001
AUSTIN - Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, today filed two pieces of legislation that aim to increase sensitivity in the handling of forms and other information Texas citizens provide government agencies. Senate Bills 866 and 867 are expected to be heard next Tuesday, March 6, before the Senate Committee on Business & Commerce.
"We need to clean up our own house in terms of respecting the privacy of citizens, especially as more and more information between government and citizens is being shared over the Internet," Senator Nelson, who has been leading the fight to restore medical privacy in Texas, said. "Careless storage, lax Internet security or improper release of information could lead to the embarrassment or harm of individuals."
Senate Bill 866:
- Creates a set of principles for state agencies and other government entities to use in the handling of personal records.
- Specifically prohibits the release of social security numbers, bank or credit card numbers, computer passwords or computer network locations without an Attorney General opinion.
- Directs entities to establish a record retention schedule so that information is retained only for the period of time necessary to accomplish the purpose for which it was obtained.
- Directs the Department of Information Resources to establish minimum privacy standards for all government web sites.
- Creates a legal definition for "personal information."
- Directs the Attorney General's Office, Comptroller's Office, Department of Information Resources and Record Management Interagency Coordinating Council to study privacy issues, including the implications of posting government information on the Internet.
Senate Bill 867 directs the Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the House to establish a joint interim task force to study the issue of privacy and calls for both legislators and a cross-section of citizens to serve on this task force.