HBA-KMH C.S.H.B. 2042 76(R)BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisC.S.H.B. 2042 By: Turner, Bob Higher Education 3/18/1999 Committee Report (Substituted) BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Currently, the Center for Rural Health Initiatives implements a program which provides physicians with student loan forgiveness or financial support for practicing medicine in rural areas. The mission of this program is to provide rural areas with assistance where there is a shortage of primary care physicians. C.S.H.B. 2042 creates the Rural Veterinarian Incentive Program which is a similar program to the physician's program of the Center for Rural Health Initiatives. The program offers a means of providing financial support to students enrolled in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M University or to those who have applied to participate in the program, under certain conditions. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill expressly delegates rulemaking authority to the rural veterinarian incentive program committee in SECTION 1 (Sections 88.623 and 88.627, Education Code), of this bill. SECTION BY SECTION ANALYSIS SECTION 1. Amends Chapter 88, Education Code, by adding Subchapter I, as follows: SUBCHAPTER I. RURAL VETERINARIAN INCENTIVE PROGRAM Sec. 88.621. DEFINITIONS. Defines "college," "committee," "eligible participant," "fund," "program," "rural county," and "university." Sec. 88.622. ADMINISTRATION OF PROGRAM. Requires the university to administer the program according to the rules adopted by the committee. Sec. 88.623. RURAL VETERINARIAN INCENTIVE PROGRAM COMMITTEE; RULES. Sets forth the composition of the committee. Provides that the dean of the college serves as the chair of the committee. Requires the committee to adopt specified rules. Sec. 88.624. ELIGIBLE VETERINARY STUDENT OR GRADUATE. Provides that a person is eligible to participate in the program if the person is enrolled in the college or applied to participate in the program within one year of the date of graduation from the college and will receive, or has received, at least 50 percent of the funds for tuition and fees from a student loan, and meets any additional qualifications adopted by the committee. Sec. 88.625. RURAL SPONSORS; AGREEMENT TO PROVIDE FINANCIAL SUPPORT. Authorizes a community or political subdivision located in a rural county that qualifies under the rules of the committee to be a sponsor or provide financial support to an eligible participant under the program. Provides that a sponsor must enter into an agreement of financial support to fund at least one full year of tuition and fees for an eligible participant enrolled in the college in exchange for the eligible participant's agreement to practice veterinary medicine in the sponsoring community or political subdivision. Authorizes financial support under this section to be satisfied in whole or in part by a grant, scholarship, or private foundation. Requires financial support under this section also to be deposited in the fund for distribution to the student by the university. Sec. 88.626. FINANCIAL SUPPORT; COMMITMENT TO PRACTICE IN RURAL COUNTY. Provides that a student participating in the program must enter into an agreement with the university to practice veterinary medicine in a rural county for one calendar year for each academic year of financial support received by the student. Provides that financial support received by a student under this chapter must be used to retire student loan debt or pay tuition and fees to the university while the eligible participant is enrolled in the college. Requires financial support from the fund to be awarded in the form of grants. Sec. 88.627. RURAL VETERINARIAN INCENTIVE FUND. Provides that the rural veterinarian incentive fund is a fund in the state treasury outside of the general revenue fund and consists of revenue deposited to the credit of the fund by the university, including legislative appropriations. Requires the fund to be administered by the university in accordance with the rules adopted by the committee. SECTION 2. Emergency clause. Effective date: 90 days after adjournment. COMPARISON OF ORIGINAL TO SUBSTITUTE SECTION 1: C.S.H.B. 2042 modifies the original by placing the rural veterinarian incentive Program created by this bill in Subchapter I, Chapter 88, Education Code, rather than Chapter 89, Subtitle B, Title 3, Education Code. The substitute further modifies the original by adding definitions for "eligible participant" and "university," and striking definitions of "commission" and "board" from the original. C.S.H.B. 2042 modifies the original by making the section entitled "Administration of Program" the second section in the subchapter and redesignating the other sections accordingly. C.S.H.B. 2042 modifies the original by renaming the section setting forth composition of the committee "Rural Veterinarian Incentive Program Committee; Rules" from "Rural Veterinarian Assistance Program Advisory Committee." The substitute further modifies the original by providing more exact guidelines and additional options for filling the required committee positions, including authorizing the executive director of the Texas Animal Health Commission and the executive director of the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, to designate persons to sit on the committee in their place. The substitute requires the committee to adopt, rather than promulgate, rules. C.S.H.B. 2042 modifies the original by naming the section setting forth eligibility requirements of student participants "Eligible Veterinary Student or Graduate" rather than "Eligible Students." The substitute alters the eligibility provisions by providing that a person must meet any additional qualifications set by the board, rather than simply permitting the board to establish a minimum grade point average for eligibility. C.S.H.B. 2042 modifies the original by naming the section describing rural sponsors "Rural Sponsors; Agreement to Provide Financial Support" rather than "Rural Sponsors." The substitute further modifies the original by requiring that a sponsor must contract to sponsor in exchange for the eligible participant's agreement to practice in the locale of the sponsor. C.S.H.B. 2042 modifies the original by naming the section describing financial support under the program "Financial Support: Commitment to Practice in Rural County" rather than "Financial Support." The substitute further modifies the original by limiting the support provided by a sponsor to when the eligible participant is enrolled in college. C.S.H.B. 2042 modifies the original by providing that the rural veterinarian incentive fund is outside the general revenue fund.