From the Office of State Senator Troy Fraser

For Immediate Release
May 5, 1999
Contact: William A. Scott - (512) 463-0124


AUSTIN -- The Texas Senate today gave final approval of legislation that encourages computer manufacturers and sellers to identify and correct potential Year 2000 computer date failures before they occur.

Senator Troy Fraser, R- Horseshoe Bay, a co-author of the bill with Senator Robert Duncan, R-Lubbock, said the legislation would benefit both consumers and businesses.

"One of the most attractive features of this bill is that creates incentives for computer manufacturers and sellers to make a good-faith effort to notify their customers and offer to correct the Y2K problems at a nominal cost, before any problems related to the computer date change may arise," Fraser said.

The bill's passage comes after months of collaboration among Duncan and Fraser in the Senate and state Representatives Brian McCall, R-Plano; Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie; Rob Junell, D San Angelo; Arlene Wohlgemuth, R-Burleson; and Fred Bosse, D-Houston. The bill now goes to Governor George W. Bush for consideration.

"Our mission was to create a fair blueprint for the resolution of Year 2000 disputes," Duncan said. "It is essential for all sectors of the economy that these disputes be resolved uniformly, and that the outcomes be somewhat predictable so we can avoid an avalanche of lawsuits."

Fraser said consumers as well as businesses, small and large, will benefit from the legislation because computer manufacturers and sellers have an incentive to be pro-active in fixing Y2K problems.

The so-called "Y2K problem" stems from earlier computer programming decisions that prevent some computers from recognizing and processing dates beginning with the year 2000.

Under the bill, computer manufacturers and sellers would be granted defenses if they notify computer users at least 90 days in advance of a potential failure, explain the problem and offer to correct it at little or no cost.

The bills cover all disputes arising from Year 2000 problems except wrongful death, bodily injury, or workers' compensation cases. The legislation specifies that lawsuits stemming from a Y2K failure must be filed no later than two years after the computer date failure first caused harm.

The measures also encourage the rapid and efficient disposition of Y2K disputes as a result of computer date failures when they occur. By creating a framework to resolve Y2K disputes, the bills' authors hope to limit unnecessary litigation and minimize economic disruption.

In addition, the legislation calls for the creation of a Texas Year 2000 Project Office website, to be administered by the Texas Department of Information Resources, to assist computer manufacturers and sellers inform their customers of potential Y2K failures, and to provide information on how to fix those problems.

The Department of Information Resources also would be required to establish a toll-free telephone number for persons who are unable to access the Internet to provide remediation information.