Date: Monday, November 28, 2011, 5:22 PM
State Wants to Know:Would Proposed Archival Rules Be an Unfunded Mandate on Your County?
The 82nd Legislature passed HB 1559, which directs the Texas State Library and Archives Commission to adopt new rules regarding the storage of court and local government records produced before Jan. 1, 1951. The commission has now published proposed rules in the Nov. 4 issue of the Texas Register and is asking counties to comment before Dec. 4, 2011, the earliest date the new rules could be adopted. The proposals relate to both the pre-1951 records included in HB 1559 and local government records deemed permanent by the commission under the Local Government Code 203.048.
In the Texas Register, Sarah Jacobson, manager of Records Management Assistance for the commission, said that “there may be fiscal implications” for counties regarding the proposed rules but the amount “cannot be determined.” The proposed rules are very detailed, and county records custodians are encouraged to speak up about the fiscal ramifications of the proposed rules. “The comments we receive are extremely helpful in determining whether proposed rules will significantly impact local governments’ record management programs,” Jacobson wrote in an email to TAC.
The proposed requirements for all involved paper documents include:
• Protection from fire, water, steam, structural collapse, unauthorized access, theft and other similar hazards; and
• Operational fire detection and suppression systems (or an adequate number of fire extinguishers). For records deemed permanent, the requirements also include:
• A maximum temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit and a constant relative humidity of 45 percent with a maximum variance of plus/minus 5 percent in a 24-hour period;
• Well-lighted without exposing records to direct sunlight;
• At least four inches off the ground;
• Not in a basement located within a 100-year flood plain area.
Written comments on the proposed rules may be mailed to: Michael Reagor Government Information Analyst P.O. Box 12927 Austin, TX 78711 Comments also may be submitted by fax to (512) 936-2306 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.