HBA-RBT C.S.H.B. 729 76(R)BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisC.S.H.B. 729 By: Hochberg Business & Industry 3/26/1999 Committee Report (Substituted) BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Workers' Compensation Commission rules provide that a benefit check must be issued in a timely fashion. C.S.H.B. 729 specifies that payment to the employee must be made by the benefit due date. This bill provides for payment by electronic funds transfer, by mail, or by pick up at the business office. This bill also requires electronic funds transfer for payments over an extended period of time, at the employee's option. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking authority is expressly delegated to the Texas Workers' Compensation Commission in SECTION 1 (Section 409.0231, Labor Code) of this bill. SECTION BY SECTION ANALYSIS SECTION 1. Amends Subchapter B, Chapter 409, Labor Code, by adding Sections 409.0231 and 409.0232, as follows: Sec. 409.0231. PAYMENT BY ELECTRONIC FUNDS TRANSFER. Requires insurance carriers to offer employees entitled to payment of benefits, for a period of sufficient duration, the option of receiving payments by electronic funds transfer. Requires the insurance carrier to provide the necessary forms to an employee who requests payments by electronic funds transfer. Requires the Texas Workers' Compensation Commission to adopt rules in consultation with the Texas Department of Information Resources as necessary to implement this section, including rules prescribing a period of benefits that is of sufficient duration to allow payment by electronic funds transfer. Sec. 409.0232. TIMELINESS OF PAYMENTS. Provides that an insurance carrier is considered to have paid benefits in a timely manner if payment is made by electronic funds transfer and deposited in the employee's account by the benefit payment due date, if payment is made by mail and mailed in time for the payment to be postmarked by the benefit payment due date, or if payment is made available for the employee to pick up by the opening of business on the benefit payment due date. SECTION 2. Effective date: September 1, 1999, except that Section 409.0232, Labor Code, as added by this Act, takes effect upon passage. Makes application of Section 409.0231 of this Act prospective to September 1, 2000. Requires the Texas Worker's Compensation Commission to adopt the rules required by Section 409.0231 by December 1, 1999. SECTION 3. Emergency clause. COMPARISON OF ORIGINAL TO SUBSTITUTE C.S.H.B. 729 adds to the original bill the requirement that the Texas Workers' Compensation Commission consult with the Texas Department of Information Resources in regard to adopting rules under Section 409.0231, Labor Code. The substitute modifies the original in SECTION 2 by providing that Section 409.0232, Labor Code, as added by this Act, take effect upon passage. The substitute modifies the original in SECTION 2 by providing that Section 409.0231, Labor Code, as added by this Act, applies only to workers' compensation benefits that become due on or after September 1, 2000. The substitute modifies the original in SECTION 3 by changing the emergency clause to provide that the Act take effect according to its terms.