Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 1004
By: Naishtat
Human Services


In 1995, the 74th Legislature initiated welfare reform in Texas.  When the
federal Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act
passed in 1996, the state was allowed to take advantage of a waiver option
authorizing a delay in implementing some of the new federal provisions.
The waiver expires in March of 2002, and federal regulations do not allow
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) clients who pursue
post-secondary education for more than 12 months to be counted in the data
collected by a state in determining its work participation rates.  However,
the state is not prohibited from continuing to serve clients engaged in
continuing education past this 12-month limit as long as the state
continues to meet federal work participation rates without counting these
students.  House Bill1004 codifies the work activities that count as
participation under Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) rules with three
additions and requires TWC to permit TANF clients under 20 years of age to
attend full-time educational activities for an unlimited period of time. 


It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking
authority is expressly granted to the Texas Workforce Commission in SECTION
1 (Section 301.0675, Labor Code) of this bill. 


House Bill 1004 amends the Labor Code to require the Texas Workforce
Commission (TWC) to determine by rule the work or employment activities in
which a person must participate to comply with the work requirements for an
adult receiving financial assistance.  In adopting rules, TWC shall provide
for a broad array of permissible work or employment activities designed to
assist a person in entering the workforce and becoming self-supporting,
address and remove barriers to these goals, and exercise all flexibility in
permissible work or employment activities authorized by federal law.  The
bill sets forth specific permissible work or employment activities TWC must
include in its rules, including activities designed to address and remove
barriers to employment, instruction in English as a second language, and
adult education or literacy.   

The bill requires TWC to permit a person younger than 20 years old to
comply with work requirements through participating solely in full-time
educational activities authorized by this bill for an unlimited amount of
time.  TWC, the Texas Department of Human Services, and the local workforce
development boards are required to perform agency and board duties related
to requiring compliance with work or employment activities in the least
intrusive manner possible.