Senate Business & Commerce – Interim Charge on Cybersecurity

On May 18th, the Senate Committee on Business & Commerce heard witness testimony on the current state and federal laws regarding cybersecurity protections. Members of the committee focused questions on ransomware attacks, barriers to collecting data on breeches, legacy systems, cybersecurity insurance, and preparedness at state regulatory agencies.

Amanda Crawford from the Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) spoke on the importance of recently passed bills HB 1118 relating to agency and government compliance with cybersecurity training and SB 475 creating the Texas Risk and Authorization Management Program which assesses and certifies cloud products and services. Committee Chair Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown) and Senator Nathan Johnson (D-Dallas) led with questions on ransomware insurance policies, discussing with DIR how some agencies have bought insurance, but that DIR has mostly set up for incident response.

Chair Schwertner also highlighted the contributions of retiring Senator Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound) to cybersecurity initiatives and legislation, noting that someone from Business & Commerce could “take the reigns.”

Details on witness testimony and committee discussions can be found in the HillCo report for the May 18th Senate Business & Commerce hearing included in this advisory.

House Insurance – Discussions on Data Usage in HB 2090 Database Bill

The House Committee on Insurance took up a number of interim charges last week, including the implementation of HB 2090 relating to the establishment of a statewide All Payor Claims Database (APCD) under the UT Health Science Center.

During discussions with the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI), Insurance Committee Chair Tom Oliverson (R-Cypress) asked about the data storage, ownership, and usage as part of the APCD and TDI noted that HB 2090 prohibits commercial use of the data. Lee Spangler from the UT Health Science Center agreed with TDI, stating that the data ultimately belongs to the state and it can’t be monetized, but the Center may charge for assisting with noncommercial research. Chair Oliverson cautioned that he didn’t want the database used as a profit center for UT.

Details on witness testimony and committee discussions can be found in the HillCo report for the May 17th House Insurance hearing included in this advisory.

AG Paxton – Amended Petition in Google Lawsuit

Attorney General Ken Paxton has filed an amended petition to his ongoing lawsuit against Google alleging that Google’s incognito mode misleads users and represents that search history and location activity are not tracked.

The amended petition adds to AG Paxton’s existing lawsuit alleging that Google tracks user’s locations without their knowledge and uses the data to target advertisements.

For more information, read the amended petition here.