Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 3445
By: Gallego
State Affairs


The State Auditor's Office compiles reports with the cooperation of state
agencies and groups related to institutions of higher education, including
reports examining the current status of state employment practices in
Texas.  With a strong employment market, state employment turnover rates
are increasing and are costly to state agencies.  Providing monetary and
non-monetary rewards and benefits may help reduce turnover and encourage
and attract new employees.  House Bill 3445 provides state agencies more
latitude in human resource management decisions. 


It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does
not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state
officer, department, agency, or institution. 


House Bill 3445 amends the Government Code to require a classification
officer to review new exempt positions of employment created by an
executive order from the governor and provide recommendations on the
appropriate position classification title and salary group for these
positions to the legislature during the appropriations process (Sec.
654.0125).  The bill requires the classification officer, in consultation
with the comptroller, to develop guidelines and procedures that state
departments, agencies, and judicial entities under the position
classification plan shall use to gather and report information on the
reasons employees leave state employment.  The bill also requires the
classification officer to periodically report findings or recommendations
on employee turnover to the Legislative Audit Committee (Sec. 654.0371). 

The bill authorizes a state agency to pay a shift differential not to
exceed 15 percent of the monthly pay rate to an employee who works an
evening shift or a night shift and to pay a weekend shift differential not
to exceed five percent of the monthly pay rate to an employee who works on
weekends.  The bill requires an agency that implements a shift differential
program to develop policies governing payment of shift differentials
consistent with state standards and sets forth the contents of these
policies (Sec. 659.024). 

The bill repeals current provisions prohibiting an employee from advancing
to a higher step number after having the employee's position reallocated or
reclassified.  The bill authorizes the paying of an employee at any rate
within the salary group range of the reclassified position.  The bill
requires the salary increases resulting from these actions to count against
the maximum amount a state agency spends for adjustments to salary rates
of, merit salary increases in, and promotions to classified positions
during a fiscal year (Sec. 659.254).  The bill also authorizes a state
agency to adjust an employee's salary within the employee's current salary
group, in accordance with significant changes in the job market or in order
to maintain equitable internal salary relationships (Sec. 659.262). 

The bill repeals the provision that an employee is not eligible for a merit
salary increase or one-time merit payment before six months has elapsed
since the employee received an enhanced compensation award authorized by
the General Appropriations Act (Sec. 659.255).  The bill expands provisions
relating to temporary assignments to include all employees of the state
(Sec. 659.260).  The bill also repeals  provisions relating to the salary
and salary schedule under an interagency contract (Sec. 751.012). 

The bill provides that an agency's strategic plan includes an assessment of
the agency's future workforce needs and a description of strategies with
stipulated information to ensure that the future of the workforce needs of
the agency are met according to criteria and guidelines developed by the
state classification officer (Sec. 2056.002).  The bill also authorizes a
state agency to use appropriated money to pay the reasonable and necessary
expenses incurred in moving the household property only for a newly hired
state employee who has been hired in a classified or exempt position  that
is identified as critical by the administrative head of a state agency
(Sec. 2113.204). 

The bill repeals provisions relating to the audit of the Texas Department
of Criminal Justice by the state auditor and the requirement of the state
auditor to review biennially the standards adopted by the department
relating to the eligibility of a person to receive credit as a custodial
officer (Sec. 813.506). 

The bill requires a state agency to prepare a written statement, rather
than file the statement with the state auditor, that covers the policies
and procedures for an extension leave that is an exception to the amount of
sick leave that is available to an employee (Sec. 661.206). 

The bill provides that the time an employee accrues vacation leave and sick
leave at the applicable rate ends on the last day upon which the employee
actually performs duties associated with the employee's position (Secs.
661.152 and 661.202). 

The bill amends the Labor Code to add vacation leave, overtime, and
compensatory time to provisions relating to an employee electing to use all
or any amount of accrued time  before receiving income benefits (Sec.
501.044).  The bill raises, from the 30th day to the 60th day after the
date an employee is hired by an agency, the time period that each employee
has to attend the required employment discrimination training program (Sec.


September 1, 2001.