HBA-CMT H.B. 3185 77(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 3185 By: Turner, Bob Corrections 3/25/2001 Introduced BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Some of the reasons for the current correction officer shortage in Texas are low pay, frustration by pay schedules that top out after three years of employment, a complicated grievance process, and a training regimen where one in four correctional officers does not receive the required 40 hours of in-service training. It is estimated that the cost of correctional officer turnover in fiscal year 2000 was over $40 million. The number of new hires cannot meet the demand created by increased attrition. In an effort to increase the number and percentage of corrections officers, House Bill 3185 sets forth reforms to improve the recruitment and retention of Texas corrections officers. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking authority is expressly delegated to the Texas Board of Criminal Justice in SECTION 3 (Sec. 494.015) of this bill. ANALYSIS House Bill 3185 amends the Government Code to require the Texas Board of Criminal Justice (board) to create a professional standards and labor oversight committee to review the implementation of and make recommendations for rule and policy changes to: _career ladders established under personnel provisions of the Government Code; _professional development of correctional officers and supervisory personnel; labormanagement cooperation, recruitment, and retention policies; and _disciplinary and grievance procedures established under the information of public interest regarding complaints provisions of the Government Code. The bill requires the board, in conjunction with the professional standards and labor oversight committee, to submit a report biennially to the legislature that includes the matters considered under the bill and the information contained in the report provided to the board from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (department). The bill requires the board to establish procedures and practices through which the department will address employment-related grievances. The bill requires the board to adopt: _a form on which an employee may state an employment-related grievance and request a specific corrective action; _reasonable time limits for an employee to submit an employment-related grievance and any subsequent appeals and for management to respond to a grievance or appeal; _a three-step process by which an employee's employment-related grievance is submitted and a subsequent appeal process through the chain of command, on completion of which the employee may choose to submit the grievance to binding arbitration with an impartial third party; and _a program to advertise and explain the grievance procedure to all employees. The bill authorizes an employee to be represented by a person selected by the employee to participate in the employment-related grievance process on behalf of the employee. Any grievance proceeding in which a department employee serves as a representative is to be held during the normal business hours of the department, unless the employee and the department agree otherwise. Subject to the approval of the employee in the employment-related grievance action, the department and the employee are authorized to enter into binding arbitration on the action. The bill sets forth provisions for what actions the department is authorized to make to facilitate arbitration. The bill provides that a grievance action is confidential, except to the extent that provisions regarding public information apply. The bill prohibits the department from retaliating against an employee who files an employment-related grievance. The bill requires the department to submit to the board an annual report on the use of the grievance procedure, and specifies information the report must include. The bill requires the board to develop a career program for the institutional division to retain professionally qualified employees. The bill sets forth factors on which the program must base the advancement of an employee. The bill requires the board to promote a correctional officer candidate to the level of Texas Law Enforcement Correctional Officer upon completion of the hours of training and the years of experience required by the board. The bill sets forth requirements for the development of training programs and employee participation. The bill requires the board to adopt a policy mandating monthly labor-management meetings between each district supervisor or the district supervisor's designee and employees selected in a process established by rule by the board or any representatives chosen by the selected employees. At a monthly labormanagement meeting, both parties are required to have an opportunity to improve labor-management relations by addressing issues selected by the parties. The bill requires a district supervisor to submit a report every third month to the director of the institutional division describing the progress of the meetings. The bill requires the director of the institutional division to conduct statewide meetings with employee representatives. The board, in consultation with the executive director, is required to adopt procedures regarding the statewide meetings. EFFECTIVE DATE September 1, 2001.