FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 30, 2001
As a result of a Sunset Advisory Commission's review of the General Services Commission (GSC), the agency will continue under the provisions of Senate Bill 311 by Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, which the Texas Senate passed last week. Additionally, recommendations for the Texas Water Development Board by the Sunset Advisory Commission will take affect under Senate Bill 312 by Sen. Zaffirini, which the Texas Senate passed today (Monday).
The Sunset Advisory Commission recommended continuing the GSC and transferring its responsibility for state telecommunication operations and electronic project development to the Department of Information Resources (DIR). Other major provisions of SB 311 would:
- establish an 11-member Telecommunications Planning and Oversight Council to perform strategic planning for state telecommunications operations;
- require GSC to streamline Texas' travel program by contracting for an Internet-based reservation system;
- clarify that state agencies shall use the electronic commerce network for posting and procuring goods and services determined appropriate for electronic procurement; and
- create an information technology program office within DIR for oversight of major state information technology projects.
"SB 311 has a positive fiscal impact of approximately $50 million over the biennium, mostly due to savings from electronic procurement," Sen. Zaffirini said. "Recommendations by the Sunset Advisory Commission in both these instances are vital to ensuring that the most effective and up-to-date methods are implemented in state agencies."
Recommendations by the Sunset Advisory Commission for the Texas Water Development Board include requiring the board to create a capital spending plan for the use of state supported funding programs; authorizing the board to develop a pilot program directed toward assisting rural communities; and requiring the board and the State Soil and Water Conservation Board jointly to report to the Legislature about improving water conservation efforts.
GSC's primary function is to provide central services for state agencies and, in some cases, local governments. GSC's activities include procuring goods and services for customers; providing facilities management and construction services for state agencies; and providing administrative support to agency staff.
The Texas Water Development Board was created in 1957 to be the State's water planning and financing agency. The board's responsibilities include planning the development of the state's water resources; administering low-cost financing problems; and collecting and disseminating water-related data. The board is subject to review, not abolishment, under the Sunset Act.