House Committee on Business and Industry - 84th R.S. (2015)
- Study Texas businesses' utilization of the Federal Work Opportunity Tax Credit, and the associated state tax refund under Subchapter H, Labor Code, in employing those who are receiving government benefits and/or have consistently faced significant barriers to employment. Conduct a cost/benefit analysis of the tax credit vis-a-vis savings in federal and state public assistance programs. Make recommendations to remove any unnecessary administrative obstructions and expand Texas business owners' use of the program.
- Identify and address potential gaps in Texas businesses’ cybersecurity policies and ensure that Texans’ personal information held by these businesses is secure.
- Evaluate how Texas can support shared economy growth in the state. Determine how the state can ensure customer security and satisfaction as well as consumer protections without enacting burdensome regulations. Additionally, study the effects of a growing portion of the state's workforce seeking full-time vs. supplemental part-time employment with related technology-based businesses. Analyze recent debate and legal precedent regarding the classification of these employees.
- Examine the regulatory powers of property owners associations, and the procedures available to home owners when an association restricts individual or property rights. Review current best practices to help clarify the balance of property rights, transparency in governance, and the best interests of property owners in the state.
- Study the impact of recent Texas cases related to the rights and remedies of shareholders of Texas corporate forms, including the impact of those decisions on the legal rights of both Texas corporations and shareholders and any impact on the Texas business climate.
- Study the requirement for state agencies and entities to purchase insurance through the State Office of Risk Management (SORM), and the agencies and entities that are exempt from this requirement. Examine the costs and benefits of each approach, and the waiver process by which SORM can allow agencies to purchase insurance on their own.
Study the following aspects of the designated doctor process in the Texas workers' compensation system:
a. the Division of Workers' Compensation's (DWC's) processes for educating, monitoring, and evaluating designated doctors;
b. whether the DWC requires additional authority to regulate designated doctors or entities providing services for designated doctors; and
c. any unique issues with "traveling" designated doctors.
- Examine the adequacy of benefits for injured employees in the Texas workers' compensation system who qualify for Lifetime Income Benefits, and for the beneficiaries of employees who receive Death Benefits. In particular, examine the application of benefit caps for those benefit types and the termination of Death Benefits to surviving spouses on remarriage.
- Analyze recent data attributing the decline in domestic manufacturing to a consistent trade deficit caused by steady increases in net imports. Study how expanding trade and investing in manufacturing communities’ partnerships can grow the state's skilled workforce and production as well as increase net exports and develop a trade balance. (Joint charge with the House Committee on International Trade & Intergovernmental Affairs)
Conduct legislative oversight and monitoring of the agencies and programs under the committee’s jurisdiction and the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 84th Legislature. In conducting this oversight, the committee should:
a. consider any reforms to state agencies to make them more responsive to Texas taxpayers and citizens;
b. identify issues regarding the agency or its governance that may be appropriate to investigate, improve, remedy, or eliminate;
c. determine whether an agency is operating in a transparent and efficient manner; and
d. identify opportunities to streamline programs and services while maintaining the mission of the agency and its programs.
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