H.B. No. 1774
  relating to the continuation and functions of the office of injured
  employee counsel under the workers' compensation program.
         SECTION 1.  Section 404.003, Labor Code, is amended to read
  as follows:
         Sec. 404.003.  SUNSET PROVISION.  The office of injured
  employee counsel is subject to Chapter 325, Government Code (Texas
  Sunset Act). Unless continued in existence as provided by that
  chapter, the office is abolished and this chapter expires September
  1, 2017 [2011].
         SECTION 2.  Subchapter A, Chapter 404, Labor Code, is
  amended by adding Sections 404.007 and 404.008 to read as follows:
  RESOLUTION.  (a)  The office shall develop and implement a policy to
  encourage the use of:
               (1)  negotiated rulemaking procedures under Chapter
  2008, Government Code, for the adoption of office rules; and
               (2)  appropriate alternative dispute resolution
  procedures under Chapter 2009, Government Code, to assist in the
  resolution of internal and external disputes under the office's
         (b)  The office's procedures relating to alternative dispute
  resolution must conform, to the extent possible, to any model
  guidelines issued by the State Office of Administrative Hearings
  for the use of alternative dispute resolution by state agencies.
         (c)  The office shall:
               (1)  coordinate the implementation of the policy
  adopted under Subsection (a);
               (2)  provide training as needed to implement the
  procedures for negotiated rulemaking or alternative dispute
  resolution; and
               (3)  collect data concerning the effectiveness of those
         (d)  The office's alternative dispute resolution policy does
  not affect the manner in which the office participates in the
  division's administrative dispute resolution process or the
  department's alternative dispute resolution process through the
  office's administrative attachment to the department.
         Sec. 404.008.  COMPLAINTS. (a)  The office shall maintain a
  system to promptly and efficiently act on complaints filed with the
  office. The office shall maintain information about parties to the
  complaint, the subject matter of the complaint, a summary of the
  results of the review or investigation of the complaint, and its
         (b)  The office shall make information available describing
  its procedures for complaint investigation and resolution.
         (c)  The office shall periodically notify the complaint
  parties of the status of the complaint until final disposition.
         SECTION 3.  Section 404.101, Labor Code, is amended by
  adding Subsection (b-1) to read as follows:
         (b-1)  The office may seek and accept grant funding to enable
  the office to perform its duties under this subtitle. This
  subsection does not authorize the office to seek or accept payment
  from an injured employee.
         SECTION 4.  Section 404.111(a), Labor Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         (a)  When assisting an injured employee, the office is
  entitled to the same access to information related to the
  employee's injury and workers' compensation claim as the employee
  or any other party to the claim. [Except as otherwise provided by
  this section, the office may access information from an executive
  agency that is otherwise confidential under a law of this state if
  that information is necessary for the performance of the duties of
  the office, including information made confidential under Section
         SECTION 5.  Section 402.082(b), Labor Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         (b)  On request from the office of injured employee counsel,
  the [The] division shall provide [information maintained under
  Subsection (a)] to the office the identity, claim number, and
  contact information of claimants receiving assistance from the
  office [of injured employee counsel].  [The confidentiality
  requirements imposed under Section 402.083 apply to injury
  information maintained by the division.]
         SECTION 6.  Section 402.085(a), Labor Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         (a)  The division shall release information on a claim to:
               (1)  the Texas Department of Insurance for any
  statutory or regulatory purpose, including a research purpose under
  Chapter 405;
               (2)  a legislative committee for legislative purposes;
               (3)  a state or federal elected official requested in
  writing to provide assistance by a constituent who qualifies to
  obtain injury information under Section 402.084(b), if the request
  for assistance is provided to the division;
               (4)  the attorney general or another entity that
  provides child support services under Part D, Title IV, Social
  Security Act (42 U.S.C. Section 651 et seq.), relating to:
                     (A)  establishing, modifying, or enforcing a
  child support or medical support obligation; or
                     (B)  locating an absent parent; or
               (5)  the office of injured employee counsel for any
  statutory or regulatory purpose that relates to a duty of that
  office as provided by Section 404.111(a).
         SECTION 7.  Section 404.106(a), Labor Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         (a)  The office shall report to the governor, lieutenant
  governor, speaker of the house of representatives, and the chairs
  of the legislative committees with appropriate jurisdiction not
  later than January 1 [December 1] of each odd-numbered
  [even-numbered] year.  The report must include:
               (1)  a description of the activities of the office;
               (2)  identification of any problems in the workers'
  compensation system from the perspective of injured employees as a
  class, as considered by the public counsel, with recommendations
  for regulatory and legislative action; and
               (3)  an analysis of the ability of the workers'
  compensation system to provide adequate, equitable, and timely
  benefits to injured employees at a reasonable cost to employers.
         SECTION 8.  Section 404.111(d), Labor Code, is repealed.
         SECTION 9.  The changes in law made by this Act to Sections
  402.082(b), 402.085(a), and 404.111, Labor Code, apply to a claim
  for workers' compensation benefits based on a compensable injury
  regardless of whether the injury occurred before, on, or after the
  effective date of this Act.
         SECTION 10.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2011.
  ______________________________ ______________________________
     President of the Senate Speaker of the House     
         I certify that H.B. No. 1774 was passed by the House on April
  18, 2011, by the following vote:  Yeas 144, Nays 1, 1 present, not
  Chief Clerk of the House   
         I certify that H.B. No. 1774 was passed by the Senate on May
  19, 2011, by the following vote:  Yeas 31, Nays 0.
  Secretary of the Senate    
  APPROVED:  _____________________