FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 12, 2012
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AUSTIN — Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa introduced three pieces of legislation today on the first day of early filing for the 83rd Legislative Session that begins in January 2013. Senator Hinojosa filed Senate Bill 118, a bill that prohibits an employer from requiring or requesting unrestricted access of an employee's or applicant's personal email and social media accounts.
With the recent rise in social media use, many employers have begun reviewing prospective and current employees by viewing what the content on their public Facebook, Twitter or other social media profiles.
"It is important to protect personal privacy. Although it may seem reasonable for employers to want to see what kind of people they are hiring or employing by looking at their public social media profiles, this does not mean they have the right to gain unrestricted access to personal social media accounts. I look forward to working with stakeholders on this issue to ensure that privacy," stated Hinojosa.
A growing number of states are considering similar legislation, and Texas needs to keep pace with the protection of an individual's personal privacy. Under the legislation, an employer will still be allowed to view the information a user determines to be "public," however, they will no longer be allowed to request access to information not shared publically and meant to be personal.
Senator Hinojosa also filed Senate Bill 117, a bill relating to the right of a spouse to enter the marital residence accompanied by a peace officer under certain circumstances.
"I have had several constituents in my district come to me with concerns that a spouse will effectively 'lock out' their partner during a separation or divorce proceeding. In situations like this, personal items such as medical records, medical supplies, legal and financial documents, and items pertaining to personal safety cannot be obtained. The purpose of this legislation is to establish a procedure whereby a spouse can request a justice court to have a peace officer escort them to their house in order to get these vital items," Hinojosa explained.
Additionally, Senator Hinojosa filed Senate Bill 116 which, if passed, will consider businesses owned by veterans who have a service-connected disability to be considered for Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) Certification.
"The State of Texas owes those veterans who not only fought for our freedom in times of war and conflict and incurred a disability, but through all that, continued to have the strength and perseverance to start their own business. Veterans should be able to get recognition for this," said Hinojosa.