Highlights of the 80th legislative session how did it impact human resources
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Highlights of the 80th Legislative Session How Did It Impact Human Resources?. Texas State Human Resources Association July 17, 2007 Christine Bailey, CCP, GRP and Stacey Robbins McClure, MBA, PHR State Auditor’s Office. Legislative Statistics.

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Highlights of the 80th Legislative SessionHow Did It Impact Human Resources?

Texas State Human Resources AssociationJuly 17, 2007

Christine Bailey, CCP, GRP and

Stacey Robbins McClure, MBA, PHRState Auditor’s Office


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Legislative Statistics

Source: Texas Legislative Service, Telicon, June 5, 2007, Unofficial Session Recap.

Session ended: May 28, 2007

Last day for Governor veto: June 17, 2007


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General Appropriations Act

  • Article IX – Revision to State’s Classification Plan (Plan).

    • 83 Reallocations

    • 64 New Jobs

    • 58 Deletions

    • 122 Title Changes

  • Classification Plan for 2008-2009 includes 835 individual job classifications.


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General Appropriation Act

  • Article IX – Revision to the Classification Plan for Fiscal Years 2008 and 2009 (continued)

    • New Classification Series – 16 classifications

      • Boiler Inspector (2 levels – Salary Groups B12 and B13)

      • District Engineer (2 levels – Salary Groups B21 and B22)

      • Dorm Supervisor (1 level – Salary Group B09)

      • Information Technology Auditor (2 levels – Salary Groups B15 and B17)

      • Information Technology Security Analyst (2 levels – Salary Groups B14 and B16)

      • Project Manager (2 levels – Salary Groups B15 and B17)

      • Psychiatric Nursing Aide/Assistant (5 levels – Salary Groups A05, A06, A08, A09, and A11)


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General Appropriations Act

  • Agency Resources for Classification Plan for Fiscal Years 2008 and 2009

    • Conversion Manual includes:

      • Mapping of All Changes

      • Automatic Conversions

      • New Classification Titles

      • Classification Deletions

      • Reallocations

      • Classification Title Changes

      • Frequently Asked Questions

    • Job Descriptions includes revisions to over 450 classifications

      • Revised Listing of Job Classifications with O’NET and SOC codes


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General Appropriations Act

  • Article IX – State Agency Employees

    • Pay Increases Contingent upon Office of the Comptroller of Public Accounts’ Certification.

      • 2 percent increase, with $50 minimum on September 1, 2007.

      • 2 percent increase, with $50 minimum on September 1, 2008.

      • Revised Law Enforcement Salary Schedule.

      • Does not include institutions of higher education, but it does include Texas A & M service agencies.


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Agency Responsibilities

  • Review employees to ensure proper classification of work.

    • Choose occupationally-specific job classifications versus general jobs (for example, Human Resources Specialist vs. Program Specialist).

    • Identify employees for new classifications.

  • Review employees to ensure proper level of work.

    • Entry

      • Generally, this level requires little or no previous training or experience. Work is usually performed under close supervision.

    • Journey

      • Generally, this level requires previous training or experience and specific skills. Work is usually performed under moderate supervision.

    • Senior

      • Generally, this level requires a high level of responsibility, training, experience, and competence. Work is usually performed under minimal supervision.

  • Update and/or create functional job descriptions for your own agencies.



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General Appropriations Act

  • Article IX – Sec. 19.68. Review of Background Check Procedures

    • All state agencies currently conducting background checks will report on their procedures to the State Auditor’s Office (SAO), the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR), the DPS (Department of Public Safety) and the Legislative Budget Board (LBB) by November 1, 2007.

    • The SAO will complete a review of all agencies conducting background checks.

    • DPS will report to the Eighty-first Legislature on the availability of background check information.


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General Appropriations Act

  • Article I

    • Employees Retirement System (ERS)

      • Maintains current health insurance benefit contribution rates.

      • No change in retirement contributions or benefits.

  • Article III

    • Teacher Retirement System (TRS)

      • Both the TRS and Optional Retirement Program state contribution rates are increased from 6.0 percent to 6.58 percent.

      • Funding for Higher Education Group Insurance is increased to bring the state’s contribution rate closer to that forgeneral state employees.


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Employee Wellness

Concealed Handguns

Ethical Standards

Veteran’s Preference

Deferred Compensation

Retirement Systems

Hot Topics During the Session


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Benefits and Insurance

  • Deferred Compensation Plan Participation for State Employees

    • HB 957 by Representative Orr

      • Makes participation in the 401(k) plan automatic for any new employee hired after January 1, 2008, unless the employee elects not to participate.

      • Employee contributes a minimum of 1 percent to a default investment product selected by the ERS Board of Trustees.


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Benefits and Insurance

  • Employee Wellness

    • HB 1297 by Representative Delisi

      • Requires the Department of State Health Services to designate a wellness coordinator to develop a model wellness program and to assist state agencies with wellness initiatives.

      • Creates a Worksite Wellness Advisory Board as a function of the Department of State Health Services (DSHS).

        • The board would be composed of representatives from areas of government and health organizations. DSHS employees would provide support to the board.

      • The bill would establish a statewide wellness coordinator at DSHS. The coordinator would create

      • Requires state agencies and institutions to designate a wellness liaison with the statewide wellness coordinator.


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Benefits and Insurance

  • Employee Wellness (continued)

    • New Leave Types

      • Allows each state agency to have a wellness policy that allows each state employee 30 minutes to exercise 3 times per week.

      • Allows employees to attend on-site wellness seminars.

      • Allows each state agency to provide 8 hours of leave time to employees who complete a health risk survey and receive a physical exam.


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Benefits and Insurance

  • Supplemental TRICARE Military Health Benefits

    • HB 3470 by Representative Delisi

      • Reconciles a conflict encountered with legislation passed during the 79th Legislative session.

      • Authorizes ERS to implement a program that assists employees using TRICARE health care benefits in lieu of state benefits by offering access to an enhanced TRICARE benefits package.


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Benefits and Insurance

  • Education Benefits Eligibility of Surviving Minor Children of Public Employees Killed in the Line of Duty

    • SB 457 by Senator Watson

      • Amends the language of Section 615.0225(a), Texas Government Code, to authorize education benefits for a child of a public service or law enforcement employee killed in the line of duty regardless of whether the employee is the custodial or noncustodial parent.


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Compensation

  • Hazardous Duty Pay

    • SB 737 by Senator Williams

      • Currently, hazardous duty pay is paid at the rate of $10 per month for each year of service and is capped at $300 per month. 

      • Because hazardous duty pay is capped at $300 per month, this means that any employee who puts in more than 30 years of service is no longer eligible to accrue additional hazardous duty pay at the rate of $10 per month.

      • This bill removes the cap so that employees with tenure may be paid for their years of service.


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Compensation

  • Hazardous Duty Pay – Department of Criminal Justice

    • HB 2498 by Representative Gonzalez Toureilles

      • Amends Government Code, Section 659.305.

      • Provides hazardous duty pay for a full-time correctional officer employed by the Department of Criminal Justice.

      • $12 for each 12-month period of lifetime service credit accrued by the employee or $300, whichever is less.


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Government

  • Standards for Law Enforcement Officers

    • HB 12 by Representative Hilderbran

      • Adds Government Code, Chapter 614.

      • Requires law enforcement agencies to adopt physical fitness standards that a law enforcement officer must meet to continue employment with the agency.

      • The standards applied to an officer must directly relate to the officer's job duties.

      • An officer’s violation of the standards is just cause for dismissal or transfer to a position not compensated within Salary Schedule C.

      • A law enforcement agency may exempt a law enforcement officer from a standard based on the facts and circumstances of the individual case, including whether an officer was injured in the line of duty.


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Government

  • Ethical Standards

    • HB 590 by Represenatative Delisi

      • Provides that state employees “shall” follow certain ethical standards.

      • Directs each state agency to adopt a written ethics policy consistent with standards laid out in the Texas Government Code.

      • Requires state agencies to distribute ethics policy to new employees within the first three days of employment.


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Government

  • Financial Accounting and Reporting

    • HB 2365 by Representative Truitt

      • Allows the State to follow state statutory modified accrual standards of accounting as described in the bill, if other accounting bases conflict with state law.

      • The state could account for other post-employment benefits (OPEBs) on this statutory basis if generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) require accounting on any basis other than pay-as-you-go.

      • Has the practical impact of exempting those who choose the alternate accounting from requirements in Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) statement 45, and potentially some in GASB statement 43. GASB 45 requires governmental entities to account for OPEBs, in particular retiree health benefits, in a manner similar to methods used for pension benefits.


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Government

  • Financial Accounting and Reporting

    • HB 2365 by Representative Truitt

      • Requires state systems to inform its members about the extent of the system’s commitments regarding other post-employment benefits.

        • Notice must include whether the other post-employment benefits are limited by funding obligations or whether the funding obligations extend throughout the life of the member.

        • This information must be disclosed on the system’s Web site.


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Government

  • Public Information

    • HB 2564 by Representative Hancock

      • Allows a governmental body to set a limit on the amount of time it would spend copying or providing information for inspection at no charge.

        • The time limit may not be less than 36 hours for one requestor during one fiscal year.

      • Requires that each time a governmental body complies with a request without charging for personnel time, it must provide the requestor with a statement showing the number of personnel hours spent complying with the request and the cumulative amount spent during the applicable fiscal year.


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Government

  • Enterprise Resource Planning

    • HB 3106 by Representative Isett

      • Amends and transfers the responsibility for enterprise resource planning from the Department of Information Resources' Electronic Government Program Management Office to the Comptroller of Public Accounts (Comptroller).

      • Also requires the Comptroller to ensure that the uniform statewide accounting project includes enterprise resource planning and allows the Comptroller to require state agencies to modify, delay, or stop the implementation of individual enterprise resource planning systems, or to replace or modify their internal enterprise resource management planning systems to provide uniformity.


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Government

  • Identification Cards Issued to Peace Officers

    • HB 3613 by Representative Thomas

      • Requires a law enforcement agency or other governmental entity that appoints or employs a peace officer or reserve peace officer to issue an identification card to its full-time and part-time peace officers and reserve officers.

      • Stipulates what information must be included on the ID card, that there must be an expiration date, and that the cards must be tamperproof. As part of the stipulations, the card must include a phone number that is operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week that a person may call to verify the validity of the identification card.

      • Includes procedures for lost or stolen ID cards.


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Government

  • Relating to the Calculation of Deadlines under the Public Information Law

    • SB 175 by Senator Wentworth

      • Various current statutes, including the Public Information Act, use a variety of terms referencing a day in which a person is generally required to work. This variation in terms can, at times, cause complications to arise in the calculation of certain deadlines.

      • This bill clarifies that the term "business day" is to be used to calculate certain deadlines and makes conforming changes to other sections currently using the term "working day."


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Government

  • Travel Reimbursement

    • SB 1310 by Senator Wentworth

      • Requires state agencies to process travel reimbursement requests within 45 days of submission if the expenses are not in dispute.

      • Requires state agencies to reimburse state employees for reimbursable travel expenses within 30 days of a resolution of a dispute.


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Leave

  • Amateur Radio Operator Leave

    • SB 11 by Senator Carona

      • Adds Section 661.919 to Texas Government Code

      • A state employee who holds an amateur radio station license issued by the Federal Communications Commission may be granted leave not to exceed 10 days each fiscal year to participate in specialized disaster relief services without a deduction in salary or loss of vacation time, sick leave, earned overtime credit, or state compensatory time if the leave is taken:

        • (1)  With the authorization of the employee's supervisor; and

        • (2)  With the approval of the Governor.

      • The number of amateur radio operators who are eligible for this leave may not exceed 350 state employees at any one time during a state fiscal year.

      • The division of emergency management in the governor's office shall coordinate the establishment and maintenance of the list of eligible employees.


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Leave

  • Military Leave Eligibility

    • SB 11 by Carona

      • Member of a state of federally authorized Urban Search and Rescue Team.

      • Adds this group to list of employee entitled to a paid leave of absence from the person's duties on a day on which the person is engaged in authorized training or duty ordered or authorized by proper authority for not more than 15 workdays in a federal fiscal year. During a leave of absence the person may not be subjected to loss of time, efficiency rating, personal time, sick leave, or vacation leave.

      • These employees are also entitled to be restored to the positions that they held when ordered to duty upon return.


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Military

  • Tuition Exemption for Children of Certain Military Personnel

    • HB 125 by Representative Delisi

      • The State of Texas currently grants an exemption for tuition and certain fees for Texas veterans who attend college under Chapter 54 of the Texas Education Code. The children of a member of the military killed while serving are eligible to obtain the same educational benefit. 

      • This bill extends this benefit to the children of military personnel who become totally disabled in the line of duty.


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Military

  • Adoption of Refund Policy for Students Called to Active Military Service

    • SB 309 by Senator Van de Putte

      • Currently, a student can receive a refund from a university or college when called to active military service. However, career and vocational schools are not required to give a refund to a student called to active military service.

      • This bill:

        • Requires career schools and colleges to refund tuition and fees to a student who withdraws from the institution as a result of being called to active military service.

        • Authorizes the student to choose to take an incomplete and re-enroll at no additional cost within 12 months of finishing military service.

        • Authorizes a student to receive an appropriate final grade or credit if an instructor determines that the student has completed a substantial portion of the course.


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Military

  • Reemployment Rights of Certain Members of the National Guard

    • SB 311 by Senator Van de Putte

      • Current law, as provided by the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), protects the jobs of reserve and guard members who are deployed to active duty.  Under this law, the State must ensure the reemployment rights of Texas guard members who work in Texas.  However, USERRA does not extend those reemployment rights to persons who serve in the military forces of another state and work in Texas.

      • This bill allows Texas employees to retain their jobs in Texas while serving in the military forces of another state. 


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Military

  • Exemption from Tuition and Mandatory Fees for Texas National Guard Members

    • SB 685 by Senator Van de Putte

      • Currently the Texas National Guard Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) provides an exemption from the payment of tuition to an institution of higher education. 

      • This bill exempts mandatory fees, in addition to tuition, for members of the Texas Military Forces attending institutions of higher education for up to 12 credit hours per semester through TAP.


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Retirement - TRS

  • Continuation and Functions of Teacher Retirement System (TRS)

    • HB 2427 by Representative Truitt

      • Grants TRS a greater range of oversight tools to adequately protect investments made by public education employees in 403(b) products.

      • Requires TRS to provide equal access to retirement counseling services across the state.

      • Restructures TRS's disability retirement benefit program to ensure the protection of Pension Trust Fund assets.


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Retirement

  • Transfer of TexaSaver 457 Plan Administered by the Employees Retirement System to a 457 Plan Created by an Institution of Higher Education

    • HB 3322 by Representative Truitt

      • Facilitates the plan-to-plan transfer authorized by federal law such that the assets of the TexaSaver Program that belong to University of Texas (UT) System employees are transferred to the UT System’s Section 457 plan.


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Retirement

  • Investment Authority of the Teacher Retirement System

    • SB 1447 by Senator Duncan

      • Authorizes TRS to buy and sell certain investments and other instruments used by pension funds only to efficiently manage and reduce the risk of the overall investment portfolio.

      • Allows delegation of investment authority to and contracting with private professional investment managers of not more than 30 percent of the fund.


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Retirement - TRS

  • Teacher Retirement System Funding and Benefits

    • SB 1846 by Senator Duncan

      • Allows TRS to require that the rate of contribution to the TRS retirement trust fund by active members be increased up to 6.58 percent if a supplemental benefit payment is authorized by the legislature and TRS determines that, after paying the supplemental benefit payment, the funding period of the pension trust fund would exceed 30 years by one or more years.

      • Stipulates that the state contribution rate may not be lower than the active member contribution rate and that the state contribution rate shall be 6.58 percent for the 2008-09 biennium.

      • Exempts school districts from return-to-work retiree employer surcharge payments for retirees who retired before September 1, 2005.

      • Directs TRS to make a one-time supplemental benefit payment to eligible annuitants in September 2007.


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Retirement

  • Determination of Compensation Under the Teacher Retirement System

    • SB 1877 by Senator Averitt

      • Adds the relevant parts of amounts received for awards for student achievement, educator excellence, and mentoring programs and all salary amounts designated as health care supplementation to the definition of “salary and wages” required to be reported and deducted for member contributions to the TRS and to credit in benefit computations.


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Unemployment Compensation

  • Operation of the Unemployment Compensation System and Computation of an Individual's Benefits

    • HB 2120 by Deshotel

      • Includes provisions allowing the Texas Workforce Commission to use wages ordered paid by a final order of the Commission when calculating benefit payment amounts.

      • Modifies the section of the law that defines wages used to calculate an individual's benefit amounts.

      • Conforms state law to newly issued federal unemployment compensation confidentiality regulations.


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Veteran’s Preference

  • Appeal by a Veteran of Certain Adverse Employment Decisions

    • HB 1275 by Representative McClendon

      • Authorizes veterans entitled to employment preferences under Chapter 657, Texas Government Code, who are aggrieved by an employment decision, to appeal such decision by filing a written complaint with the governing body of the public entity.

      • The governing body shall respond to the complaint not later than the 15th business day after the date the governing body receives the complaint.


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Workers’ Compensation

  • Relates to Workers' Compensation Medical Benefits for Certain Prosthetic or Orthotic Devices

    • SB 458 by Watson

      • Currently, artificial limbs are not treated by all workers' compensation carriers as a physical structure of the body.

      • Therefore, an accident resulting in a broken leg would be treatable under workers' compensation, but the same accident causing injury to an artificial leg would not cover repair or replacement of the artificial leg.

      • Ensures workers' compensation carriers treat artificial limbs as natural limbs.


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Workers’ Compensation

  • Reporting Requirements Regarding Workers' Compensation Claims

    • SB 471 by Senator Brimer

      • Requires the collection of workers' compensation data through rule instead of statute and removes specific data elements and reporting requirements in statute.


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Workers’ Compensation

  • Relates to Claims for certain Medical Benefits, Death Benefits, and Burial Benefits.

    • HB 724 by Representative Solomons

      • Provides a new appeal process for certain workers' compensation medical disputes.

      • Allows a party in a medical dispute to request an administrative hearing as the first stage of an appeal.

      • Adds surviving parents to the list of beneficiaries eligible for death benefits in workers' compensation cases.

      • Expands the recovery rights to include an accident or health insurance carrier that has paid for health care for a workers' compensation injury and establishes a process for a health care insurer to pursue reimbursement for workers' compensation health care services from the workers‘ compensation insurance carrier.


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Workers’ Compensation

  • Timely submissions of a claim for payment by a workers' compensation health care provider

    • HB 1005 by Representative Giddings

      • Provides that a health care provider of workers' compensation health care services does not forfeit his or her right to reimbursement if the claim for payment is timely filed, but erroneously filed with the wrong insurer.

      • Allows extension of the deadline by agreement of the parties or in catastrophic situations.


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Workers’ Compensation

  • Relates to Doctor Licensing Requirements for Peer Review, Utilization, and Retrospective Review of Medical Decisions Regarding Workers' Compensation Claims.

    • HB 1006 by Representative Giddings

      • Provides that a utilization review agent must use doctors licensed in this state to perform reviews of health care services.

      • Provides that a health care provider charge for providing medical information to a utilization review agency be no more than the cost of copying records regarding a workers' compensation claim, as set by rules adopted by the commissioner of workers' compensation.


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Tracking Legislation

  • Information about passed legislation can be found at Texas Legislature Online.

  • Web Address: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/

  • This site allows you to:

    • Obtain list of bills.

    • Determine which bills passed.

    • View the text of bills.

    • Find out when a bill becomes effective.


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Questions

  • For additional information contact:

    • Christine Bailey at (512-936-9628

      E-Mail: [email protected]

    • Stacey McClure at (512) 936-9632

      E-mail: [email protected]


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