Senate Committee on Business and Commerce - 87th R.S. (2021)

Committee: Senate Business and Commerce
Title: Interim Report
Subjects: 911 emergency telephone service | Blockchain technology | Broadband infrastructure | Digital currencies | Economy | Electric power plants | Electric Reliability Council of Texas | Electricity supplies | Electronic security | State employees | Telecommuters | Traffic | Universal Service Fund |
Library Call Number: L1836.87 B963
Session: 87th R.S. (2021)
Online version: View report [42 pages  File size: 639 kb]
Charges: This report should address the charges below.
1. Broadband and Telecommunications: Study broadband and other telecommunications related issues impacting Texans, including:
  • Monitoring the implementation of HB 5, 87th R.S., and HB 1505, 87th R.S.; discuss anticipated federal infrastructure funding dedicated to broadband initiatives;
  • Reviewing the Texas Universal Service Fund and reporting what, if any, changes should be made through a review of both the fund's contributions and disbursements, as well as the impact of technology on the long-term stability of the Texas Universal Service Fund; and
  • Monitoring the implementation of HB 2911, 87th R.S., relating to next generation 9-1-1 service and the establishment of a next generation 9-1-1 service fund.
2. Supply Chains: Examine the causes and impacts of recent supply chain disruptions on the Texas economy and individual industries. Study the factors that weaken links in the supply chain and the extent the pandemic has exposed those vulnerabilities. Recommend actions to strengthen the supply chain in Texas and mitigate disruptions in the future.
3. Blockchain and Virtual Currencies: Study current state and federal regulations surrounding blockchain and virtual currencies. Examine how these technologies impact industries such as banking, business, and electricity. Make recommendations to protect consumers while encouraging innovation. Monitor the implementation of HB 1576, 87th R.S., and HB 4474, 87th R.S.
4. Electricity: Assess the electricity market in Texas. Study issues impacting the Texas electric grid, including weather preparedness, transmission planning, maintenance scheduling, and the natural gas supply chain. Study the consequences of increased electric vehicle usage and charging on the generation, transmission and distribution, and retail sectors of Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) and evaluate their potential impact on increased electric demand and reliability of the grid. Evaluate potential benefits of real-time transparency of the intrastate gas market with respect to the functions of ERCOT and the Texas Energy Reliability Council. Examine the growth of renewable energy generation in the state and evaluate its impact on grid reliability. Make recommendations to strengthen the reliability of the grid, and meet the future generation needs of ERCOT through new and existing dispatchable generation. Assess plans to expeditiously add new dispatchable generation. Monitor the implementation of SB 2, 87th R.S., and SB 3, 87th R.S.
5. Cybersecurity: Review current state and federal laws regarding cybersecurity protections and requirements for local governments, state agencies, and critical industries of our state. Make recommendations for legislation to improve resilience and protection against cybersecurity attacks and ensure the privacy protection of the citizens of Texas.
6. State Workforce: Study where state employees are located and the benefits and drawbacks of remote working. Evaluate the impact of the potential growth of remote work and proximity of employees to their place of employment on traffic studies over the next 10 years. Study and make recommendations for establishing uniform statewide standards for remote work. Study possible implications and standards for statewide recruitment and employment of remote state employees from all parts of the state.

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