In May 2000, the Department of Information Resources (DIR) contracted with BearingPoint (formerly KPMG Consulting) to provide a single point of access to government information and services that is private, secure, convenient, efficient, service-oriented, and accessible. BearingPoint assembled a team of Internet and e-Commerce industry leaders that included Oracle, Cisco, Sun Microsystems, and Northrop Grumman to develop a solution.
In August 2000, as a result of this effort, the State of Texas launched TexasOnline, its official e-government site, for state and local government business. The Web site, Texas.gov, is designed to serve as a portal for both state agencies and local governments to create a comprehensive network of services that citizens can access without leaving their homes and businesses. Texas.gov offers a pre-existing online framework that government agencies can use without incurring the expenses and experiencing the technical challenges involved in building their own separate Web sites. Texas.gov is a self-funded endeavor in that the convenience fees and subscription fees charged to the citizens and participating governments provide the funds to cover development and operational costs.
In 2001, the TexasOnline Authority was created by Senate Bill 187 of the 77th Legislature to coordinate the growth of electronic government services in Texas. The Authority consists of individuals representing state agencies, local governments, higher education, and regulated businesses.
In June 2003, Senate Bill 1152 was passed by the 78th Legislature. This bill requires that the Texas Department of State Health Services (formerly Texas Department of Health - TDH) or its successor to participate in TexasOnline. In response to this bill, the Consumer Health Protection (CHP) Regulatory TexasOnline project was initiated in August 2003. It is a cooperative effort between the DIR, the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and BearingPoint.
Texas.gov: Website Mission and Purpose
The State of Texas Web site, Texas.gov, is intended to serve as the official compilation of Texas government electronic resources, both at the state and local levels, and as an index of Texas governmental or taxing authority web sites and services. The site is organized by subject to provide a collection of links and portals designed to allow citizens, visitors, businesses, state government, and others to quickly and efficiently locate appropriate resources. Providing the Texas.gov Web site is a public service, meeting the mission of the TexasOnline Division of the DIR, which is to:
- Improve public access to government information, programs and services;
- Provide a mechanism for state government to become more efficient, effective, and responsive to the public through the use of online Web portals;
- Provide a tool to improve cross-agency or cross-boundary organizational collaboration activity on significant policy and/or administrative issues among Texas State government employees;
- Support state agencies' uses of the web to achieve their missions; and
- Expedite state government's internal functions.
Texas.gov: What This Means to You
The DSHS has been authorized by the Texas Legislature and the TexasOnline Authority to charge an additional fee (currently in the form of a subscription fee) to recover costs associated with the development and maintenance of Texas.gov services. This fee became effective September 1, 2004, for renewal applicants and January 1, 2005, for new applicants.
Licensees pay a subscription fee (See Asbestos License Fees) when they make application for licensure, regardless of whether they choose to apply via Texas.gov or in the traditional manner. Moreover, the Texas.gov Web site accepts payment by major credit cards such as: VISA, MasterCard, Discover, AMEX or ACH (electronic check).
HB2292, 78th Regular Session required that all licenses be converted to a 2-year license period. The 2-year license will be put into effect by staggering the license periods as people renew and as new licenses are issued. Those renewals with expiration dates during odd numbered months will be renewed for one year while those for even months will be renewed for two years. The 2-year renewals and all new licenses issued for 2005 will be twice the price of the current fee plus a subscription fee unique to each license category.