HBA-MPM C.S.H.B. 1004 77(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisC.S.H.B. 1004 By: Naishtat Human Services 4/17/2001 Committee Report (Substituted) BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE 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. C.S.H.B. 1004 codifies the work activities that currently 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. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY 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. ANALYSIS C.S.H.B. 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 so that a person engaging in these activities is not required to attend agency or board appointments or take other action that interferes with the person's work or employment activities and is provided with appropriate information regarding available employment services so that the person may access them without interfering with the person's work or employment activities. EFFECTIVE DATE September 1, 2001. COMPARISON OF ORIGINAL TO SUBSTITUTE C.S.H.B.1004 differs from the original by including participation in the VISTA program, and attendance in elementary or technical school, and an adult education or literacy program among the permissible work or employment activities provided for by the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). The substitute removes provisions authorizing a person to comply with work requirements through participation in job search and job readiness assistance activities for an unlimited time period. The substitute 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. The substitute removes provisions in the original authorizing a person to be in compliance with work requirements through participation in vocational education training for no more than one year with certain exceptions. The substitute requires TWC, the Texas Department of Human Services, and the local workforce development boards to perform duties related to requiring compliance with work or employment activities so that the related requirements do not interfere with the person's work or employment activities.