HBA-JEK H.B. 2677 77(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 2677 By: Bailey Urban Affairs 4/1/2001 Introduced BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Firefighters and police officers of the City of Houston are currently covered by meet and confer legislation, but there are no provisions covering the employment matters of Houston's other municipal employees. House Bill 2677 grants public employee associations of a municipality of 1.5 million or more the right to meet and confer with a public employer over issues such as wages, hours, working conditions, and all other terms and conditions of employment, and prohibits strikes and work stoppages by employees who participate in these organizations. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY 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. ANALYSIS House Bill 2677 amends the Local Government Code to provide for local control over the employment matters of public employee associations in municipalities of 1.5 million or more. The bill does not apply to firefighters or police officers in municipalities that have adopted the Fire and Police Employee Relations Act or the provisions for municipal civil service. H.B. 2677 provides that a municipality may not be denied local control over employment matters, including wages, salaries, rates of pay, hours of work, affirmative action programs, other conditions of employment, or other state-mandated personnel issues. The bill authorizes a public employer to enter into a mutual written agreement governing these issues with an employee association that does not advocate the illegal right to strike by municipal employees. The bill also authorizes a municipality to recognize an employee association that does not advocate the illegal right to strike by municipal employees as the negotiating agent for any municipal group that requests representation. The bill prohibits employees of a municipality from engaging in strikes or organized work stoppages against the state or a municipality of the state. An employee who participates in a strike forfeits all civil service rights, benefits, reemployment rights, and any other rights or privileges an employee enjoys as a result of employment or prior employment. H.B. 2677 authorizes a public employer to recognize an employee association as the sole and exclusive negotiating agent for a bargaining unit, regardless of whether the employer has recognized the association selected by a petition. A public employer may recognize an employee association selected by a petition signed by a majority of the nonclassified employees of the municipality, unless and until recognition of the association is withdrawn by a majority of those employees. The bill requires the question of whether a recognized association represents a majority of covered employees to be resolved by a fair election and sets forth provisions for the election. H.B. 2677 requires all deliberations between an employee association and a public employer to be open to the public and held in compliance with state open meetings laws. The bill specifies that a written agreement between a public employer and a recognized association is enforceable and binding on the public employer, the recognized association, and the employees covered by the agreement if the governing body of the municipality ratifies the agreement by majority vote and the association ratifies the agreement by a secret ballot election. A state district court of the judicial district in which the municipality is located has full authority and jurisdiction to enforce any ratified written agreement between a public employer and a recognized association. An agreement made between a public employer and a recognized association supersedes any previous statute concerning employment matters and preempts all contrary local ordinances, executive orders, civil service provisions, or rules adopted by a political subdivision. EFFECTIVE DATE September 1, 2001.