HBA-CMT C.S.H.B. 2297 77(R)BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisC.S.H.B. 2297 By: Thompson Urban Affairs 3/26/2001 Committee Report (Substituted) BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Many cities may want to develop websites that would permit citizens to conduct certain city business activities over the Internet, including payment of municipal court fines. The cost of designing and implementing the program would be recovered through user fees that citizens would pay in addition to actual fines. However, a recent court decision has raised concerns regarding the legality of such fees. It has also been found in several other court cases that such a fee is unlawful as long as there is no authorization by law for the fee. C.S.H.B. 2297 provides that the governing body of a municipality may authorize a municipal official who collects fees, fines, court costs or other charges on behalf of the municipality or the state to accept payment by electronic means, and may authorize a municipal official to collect a handling fee for processing the payment by electronic means. 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. ANALYSIS C.S.H.B. 2297 amends the Local Government Code to provide that the governing body of a municipality may authorize a municipal official who collects fees, fines, court costs or other charges on behalf of the municipality or the state to accept payment by electronic means that is approved by the governing body in which the municipality receives payment through the Internet. The governing body may also authorize a municipal official to process the payment by electronic means with or without collecting a processing fee. The bill authorizes the municipal official collecting a processing fee to either deposit the fee in the general fund of the municipality or pay or cause the fee to be paid to the vendor furnishing or facilitating the electronic payment services pursuant to a contract with the municipality. EFFECTIVE DATE On passage, or if the Act does not receive the necessary vote, the Act takes effect September 1, 2001. COMPARISON OF ORIGINAL TO SUBSTITUTE C.S.H.B. 2297 modifies the original by providing that the bill takes effect on passage, or if the Act does not receive the necessary vote, the Act takes effect September 1, 2001 rather than taking effect on the 91st day after adjournment. The substitute also provides that the bill has no effect if Senate Bill 201, Acts of the 77th Legislature, is enacted and becomes law.