Legislative news

June

06

84th Legislative Session Adjourns

The 84h Legislative session has adjourned. TAS was successful in influencing several significant pieces of legislation.  TAS Executive Director, who is our official lobbyist, coupled with the veteran legislative committee tracked, signed in opposition or support of 29 bills on your behalf.  We consider this session a complete win for our organization as no legislation considered harmful to our businesses passed.  Below you will find a recap of those wins and efforts.

HB 41 – Representative Martinez Fisher
This bill would raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour – Left pending in committee. TAS signed in opposing this bill and it died in committee.

HB 42 – Representative Martinez Fisher
This bill would raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour.  Left pending in committee.  Companion SB 67 by Ellis TAS signed in opposing this bill and it died in committee.

HJR 26 – Representative Martinez Fisher
This bill proposes a constitutional amendment establishing a minimum wage of $10.10 per hour.  Failed adoption. TAS signed in opposing this bill and it failed to pass.

HB 162 – Representative Mary Gonzalez
This bill is relating to administrative penalties assessed by the Texas Workforce Commission against certain employers for failure to pay wages.  Companion Bill SB 152. April 28, 2015 House Committee report sent to Calendars –Tracked this bill and it died in Calendars.

HB 187 – Representative Senfronia Thompson
The impact of this would put the Lily Ledbetter Act into State Law.  It is currently in Federal Law, but supporters say it is expensive to get heard in Federal Court.  Placed on General State Calendar, removed from calendar with motion to reconsider. TAS signed in opposing and members sent letters to their respective legislators and this bill died in the House.

HB 396 – Representative McClendon
Raising the minimum wage, including adjustments based on the consumer price index and would allow authorization for counties and municipalities to establish local minimum wage.  Left pending in committee. TAS signed in opposing this bill and it died in committee.

HB 492 – Representative Hernandez
This bill changes the language for filing a claim for unpaid wages from “180 days to filing deadline” to address each jurisdictions date constraints. –Tracked this bill and it died in Calendars.

HB 512 – Representative Moody
Relating to waiver of immunity in certain employment discrimination actions in connection with a worker compensation claim. –Tracked this bill and it died in the Senate.

HB 532 – Representative Ruth Jones McClendon
This bill would allow unpaid leave for non-exempt employees to participate in certain academic, extracurricular and developmental activities of the employee’s child. Left pending in committee.  TAS signed in opposing  and this Bill died in committee.

HB 589 – Representative Cindy Burkett
This bill, as written, disqualifies candidates who refuse or fail a drug test.  It would require that employers notify TWC when candidates refuse or fail a pre-employment drug screen and would apply to those jobs that are already require drug testing by DOL standards TAS signed in supporting
in Senate committee hearing, but this bill died in Calendars.

HB 687 – Representative Kenneth Sheets
Relating to confidential communications between an insurance carrier and a covered employer under the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act.  TAS signed in supporting this bill, however it died in Calendars.

HB 689 – Representative Walle
Requirement of workers compensation to be provided to employees of contractors and subcontractors for construction workers on public projects. Left pending in committee. Tracked this bill, however it died in committee.

HB 860 – Representative Eddie Rodriguez
This bill is relative to employer retaliation against employees who seek recovery of unpaid wages and procedures in wage claim hearings conducted by the Texas Workforce Commission; providing administrative penalties. Sent to Calendars –Tracked this bill, but it died in Calendars.

HB 931 – Representative Jim Murphy
Relating to an individual’s eligibility to receive unemployment compensation benefits on the individual’s waiting period claim.   TAS Signed in supporting the Bill and it was signed by the Governor, effective Sept. 1, 2015.

HB 934 – Representative Tony Dale
This bill would disqualify workers from unemployment if they give notice and the employer terminates them immediately.  TAS signed in supporting, however the bill wasn’t presented for a vote.

HB 1515 – Representative Canales
Consideration of consumer credit reports for employment.   TAS signed in –opposition and the bill died in committee.

HB 1590 – Representative Senfronia Thompson
Raising minimum wage.  Companion SB 67 (similar) Left pending in committee. TAS signed in opposing
Bill died in committee

SB 637 – Senator Rodney Ellis and identical bill HB 1658 – Representative Hubert Vo
The Texas Workforce Commission (commissioner representing labor) brought this bill to Senator Ellis and Representative Vo.  There is a concern that the language of the statute is too inflexible and does not explicitly authorize or instruct TWC to take the issue of ‘good cause’ for failing to report for reassignment into consideration.  Visits were made to both Senator Ellis’ and Representative Vo’s offices to engage in conversation to understand where they stood on this legislation.  After investigating the labor code to clarify what the bill was asking we found that, though not necessary, this legislation is not really harmful. TAS signed in opposing on general principle that it is unnecessary and the bill died in the Senate Natural Resources Committee.

HB 1720 – Representative Deshotel
Relating to the consideration of criminal history records information.  This bill would disallow the question of criminal history to be on an employment application.  Criminal background check would only be considered if a conditional offer of employment is given.  TAS signed in –opposition of the bill and it died in committee.

HB 2413 – Representative Lucio
Relating to increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour.  Left pending in committee.  TAS signed in opposing and the bill died in Committee.

HB 2587 – Representative Oliveira
This bill will study employers who have chosen not to participate in the Workers Comp System. Tracked this bill and it failed to pass engrossment.

HB 2732 – Representative Metcalf
Relating to recovery of covered unemployment compensation debt through participated in the federal Treasure Offset Program.  TAS signed in Support of the bill that passed and was sent to Governor.

HB 3370 – Representative Gutierrez
Raising minimum wage to $10 per hour.  Hearing held April 7, 2015. Left pending in committee.  TAS signed in opposing  the bill and it died in committee.

HB 4118 – Representative Walle
Requiring Workers Comp non-subscribers to carry a variety of certain employee benefits; provides an administrative violation, creating a criminal offense.  April 21, 2015 withdrawn from committee schedule. , TAS simply tracked this bill.

SB 722 – Senator Perry same as HB 589 – Representative Cindy Burkett
This bill, as written, disqualifies candidates who refuse or fail a drug test.  It would require that employers notify TWC when candidates refuse or fail a pre-employment drug screen and would apply to those jobs that are already require drug testing by DOL standards. TAS signed in supporting the bill, but it failed to pass.

SB 901 – Senator Kevin Eltife same as HB 1607 – Representative Nicole Collier
Relating to the amount of temporary income benefits to which an injured employee is entitled under the workers’ compensation system. Raising the benchmark wage from $8.50 to $10 per hour.   April 29, 2015 SB 901 sent to the Governor Tracking – Bill passed, sent to Governor

SB 1248 — West
This bill offers a franchise tax credit for entities that employ certain students in certain paid internship or similar programs.  Left pending in committee sign in TAS signed in supporting the bill, but it died in committee.

If you have any questions on the bills listed above or other questions on how to reach out to your legislator, please contact us at TAS@texasstaffing.org  If you would like to track these and other bills personally, go to http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/Home and set up a MyTLO account.