Legislative Update 3-22-19

TSEA March 22, 2019 Comments Off on Legislative Update 3-22-19
Legislative Update 3-22-19

After weeks of working with our sponsors and following the leadership of House Children’s committee chairman Mary Littleton, an agreement has been reached to address the caseload issue for all DCS employees. In a show of good faith, all parties have agreed to allow DCS Commissioner Jennifer Nichols to meet with front line staff over the next few months to hear caseload concerns directly from employees.

“In the first few weeks of Legislative Session, it has become clear to me that Commissioner Jennifer Nichols has a heart for the children she serves in DCS,” TSEA Executive Director Randy Stamps said. “She recognizes the many challenges and opportunities the department faces. It is evident to TSEA that she wants to listen to the concerns of all employees in the department to address the issues regarding caseloads and provide quality services to the children and families that DCS serves. Thanks to the tremendous support of many legislators, I am convinced we will see the needed changes in the weeks ahead.”

Chairman Littleton will continue to hold legislative committee meetings monthly during the summer and have testimony from stakeholders. Restoring the oversight committees has been a top priority for TSEA, and we thank House Speaker Glen Casada for his commitment to this effort.

We also thank our tireless sponsors Rep. Cepicky, Rep. Matthew Hill and Senator Joey Hensley for their commitment to this critical issue.

Update on TSEA’s Legislative Agenda Bills

Longevity for All

SB0689 Sen. Jackson
HB0900 Rep. Sparks 
Status:
Senate: 03/21/19 – Set for Senate State & Local Government Committee 03/26/19.
House: 03/12/19 – House State Committee recommended. Sent to House Finance.

Burden of Proof

SB0621 Sen. Hensley, Co-Prime Sponsor: Sen. Yager
HB0644 Rep. T. Hill
Status:
Senate: 03/21/19 – Set for Senate State & Local Government Committee 03/26/19.
House: 03/12/19 – Taken off notice in House State Committee while we meet with the administration.

DCS Caseloads

SB0616 Sen. Hensley
HB0921 Rep. Cepicky, Co-Prime Sponsor: Rep. M. Hill
Status:
Senate: 03/21/19 – Set for Senate Judiciary Committee 03/26/19
House: 03/20/19 – House Finance Subcommittee placed behind the budget.

Monitored Bill Alert

We are closely monitoring HB1087 by Rep. Bricken. Under current law, no public employee shall be prohibited from communicating with an elected public official for any job-related purpose whatsoever. HB1087 in its current form would eliminate this protection for some public employees.

Under the bill as initially filed, public employees (including state employees) could be disciplined by their employer for speaking to their legislator or other elected officials. Theoretically, if this bill passed in its original form, you could be fired for attending Lobby Day. There is an amendment traveling with the bill which keeps protections in place for state employees, but we are monitoring this bill very closely for any change which would eliminate rights for state employees.

This bill is scheduled to be heard in the House State Government on Tuesday, 3/26 – which coincidentally is TSEA’s Lobby Day.

For information on other bills in our legislative agenda, as well as other bills we are monitoring, please visit:

http://bit.ly/TSEA2019Legislation

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