HBA-SEB H.B. 2208 76(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 2208 By: Goodman Juvenile Justice and Family Issues 3/11/1999 Introduced BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE The 74th Texas Legislature adopted legislation which created a children's advocacy center program (program) for local communities, with the program's funding funneled through the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services (department). During the 75th Legislative Session, the legislature authorized the department to enter into a contract with a statewide organization that has expertise in the establishment and operation of children's advocacy center programs. It also addressed issues of information sharing between partner agencies working in the setting of a children's advocacy center. Since the program's funding is channeled through the department, some people perceive the program as belonging to the department. This perception may undermine the effectiveness of providing a neutral setting where all investigative and prosecutorial agencies work together on an equal basis for the best interests of children. H.B. 2208 authorizes the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) or the department to contract with a statewide organization with expertise in the establishment and operation of children's advocacy centers in order to enhance the program and requires OAG to adopt standards with respect to the program. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking authority is expressly delegated to the Office of the Attorney General in SECTION 2 (Section 264.410, Family Code) of this bill. SECTION BY SECTION ANALYSIS SECTION 1. Amends Section 264.409, Family Code, to authorize the Office of the Attorney General or the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services to contract with a statewide organization of individuals or groups of individuals who have expertise in the establishment and operation of children's advocacy center programs. Requires a contract entered into by the attorney general to authorize the statewide organization to spend for administrative purposes not more than 12 percent of the annual legislative appropriation to implement this subchapter (Children's Advocacy Centers). SECTION 2. Amends Section 264.410, Family Code, to require the attorney general, by rule, to adopt standards for a local children's advocacy center program if the attorney general enters into a contract pursuant to this section (Contracts with Children's Advocacy Centers). Requires the statewide organization to assist the attorney general in developing the standards. Makes a conforming change. SECTION 3. Amends Section 264.411, Family Code, to delete existing text regarding the appeal process when a statewide organization's waiver of specific requirements is denied. The requirements establish the organization's eligibility for a contract. SECTION 4. Effective date: September 1, 1999. SECTION 5. Emergency clause.