HBA-KMH H.B. 3281 76(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 3281 By: Maxey Environmental Regulation 4/15/1999 Introduced BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Texas is one of 25 states that has enacted some form of environmental audit privilege or immunity legislation. State audit policies encourage the use of audits and disclosure of violations discovered during an audit. Organizations use them to measure compliance environmental regulations, identify problems early and correct them quickly, provide assurance that pollution control systems are functioning properly, and improve the overall environmental program by making it more proactive. Unique to the Texas Environmental, Health, and Safety Audit Privilege Act, is the statutory provision requiring advance notification that an audit is about to begin. The provision has allowed the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission to track the audit activity and violation disclosures since the implementation of the statute in 1995. Historical violation information, by similar industry, could help focus attention and resources on common problems to help prevent future violations. H.B. 3281 authorizes the dissemination of information relating to common and significant violations of environmental and health and safety laws by an agency to which this information has been disclosed. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency, or institution. SECTION BY SECTION ANALYSIS SECTION 1. Amends Article 4447cc, V.T.C.S. (Texas Environmental, Health, and Safety Audit Privilege Act), by adding Section 14, as follows: Sec. 14. AUTHORITY OF STATE AGENCY TO REPORT TO REGULATED INDUSTRIES ON VIOLATIONS. Authorizes a state agency to which violations of environmental or health and safety laws are disclosed under this article to provide a regulated industry or an entity representing a regulated industry a summary of common and significant violations of those laws by members of that industry in order to help prevent future violations, notwithstanding Section 5 of this article. Provides that this section does not authorize a state agency to disclose information that would permit identification of a violation by any particular person. SECTION 2. Emergency clause. Effective date: upon passage.