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 Bill 1004 codifies the work activities that currently
count as participation under Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) rules with
two additions and authorizes TWC to permit a TANF client to complete
additional vocational education training that exceeds one year if the
client demonstrates progress toward employment goals. 


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, and instruction in English as a
second language.   

The bill authorizes a person to comply with work requirements through
participation in job search and job readiness assistance activities for an
unlimited time period, except that TWC is authorized to impose a time limit
if a person fails to comply with a requirement imposed in connection with
the person's employability plan and any other generally applicable

The bill authorizes TWC to permit, on a case-by-case basis, a person to be
in compliance with  work requirements by completing vocational education
training designed to result in an associate, baccalaureate, or advanced
degree if the training was previously initiated by the person.  The bill
also authorizes a person to be in compliance with work requirements through
participation in vocational education training that does not lead to a
degree for no more than one year.  The bill authorizes TWC to allow a
period of vocational training that exceeds one year if the person
demonstrates progress, as defined by TWC rules, toward the person's
employment goals. 


On passage.