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Legislative Tracking: 83rd Texas Legislature
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NASW/TX 83rd Texas Legislature Wrap Up

 

With Texas' 83rd legislative session in the past, we should take some time and reflect on the decisions and indecisions made that impact professional social work and the populations we serve. This legislative wrap-up includes the outcomes of items from the NASW/TX legislative agenda and some of the bills related to areas where social workers have a presence. This list is not exhaustive, but provides information on diverse bills within each area of advocacy. All bills and related actions from the 83rd Legislative Session can be found at www.capitol.state.tx.us.


A bill must be passed by the full House, passed by the full Senate, and not be vetoed by the Governor in order to become a law.



NASW/TX Legislative Agenda Bills:

Bill Number Author Description
Outcome

HB 444

SB 338

Dukes/ Rodríguez Adds social workers to the definition of "volunteer health care provider" in the Civil Practice & Remedies Code Passed unanimously out of House and Senate Cmts. but died in House Calendars Cmte.

HB 591

SB 339

Naishtat/ Rodríguez Creates a social work resource section within the Health Professionals Resources Center at DSHS Passed House Human Services Cmte. but died in House Calendars Cmte.

HB 969

SB 737

Dukes/ Watson Creates a loan repayment program for CPS front-line workers and supervisors Passed house Human Services Cmte. but died in House Calendars Cmte.
HB 1698 Farrar Adds a definition of School Social Workers to the Texas Education Code Was never given a hearing

 

 

 

Bills Related to NASW/TX Legislative Agenda: 

Bill Number Author Description Outcome

HB 1023

Burkett/ Alvarado/ Nelson Creates a taskforce to investigate and make recommendations regarding mental health workforce shortages Signed by Governor
HB 487 Bell/ Nichols Gives liability protection for volunteers in disasters if requested by county authorities Signed by Governor
SB 1150 Hinojosa/ Guerra Enacts a provider protection plan that reduces administrative burdens on providers participating in a Medicaid managed care model or arrangement Signed by Governor
SB 1221 Paxton/ Smithee Disallows health plans from requiring providers to accept a Medicaid-based fee schedule for other non-Medicaid products Signed by Governor

 

 

Bills Related to Medicaid Providers:

Bill Number Author Description Outcome
HB 3791 Zerwas Allowed health care services to be offered to low income citizens Passed House Cmte., died in Calendars
SB 1150 Hinojosa/ Guerra Enacts a provider protection plan that reduces administrative burdens on providers participating in a medicaid managed care model or arrangement Signed by Governor
SB 1221 Paxton/ Smithee Disallows health plans from requiring providers to accept a Medicaid-based fee schedule for other non-Medicaid products Signed by Governor

 

 

Bills Related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Medicaid Expansion:


SB 1795 (see below) will provide for "health insurance navigators" to assist people between 100%-400% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines to find and purchase insurance at rates they can afford.

 

 

However, Texas will not have its own "Insurance Exchange" so this will be provided by the federal government. The Legislature also failed to pass a bill that would have enabled the state Insurance Commissioner to intervene if private insurance rates were significantly increased. Direct legislative action for Medicaid expansion failed to pass, however, amendments added to the budget provide for an opportunity to include Medicaid expansion through the Health and Human Services Commission mandate to maximize federal funds. This means that adults under 100% of poverty will have no means by which to receive health insurance.

 

Bills Related to Child Welfare/ Adult Protective Services:

Bill Number
Author Description Outcome
HB 908 Nevarez/ Uresti Relating to the assessment of an elderly or disabled person's psychological status for purposes of an emergency order authorizing protective services Signed by Governor
HB 915 Kolkhorst/ Nelson Relating to the administration and monitoring of health care provided to foster children- Outlines requirements for informed consent for psychotropic medications Signed by Governor
HB 1205 Parker, Fallon, Zerwas, Naishtat, Raymond Carona Relating to the offense of failure to report abuse or neglect of a child. Signed by Governor
HB 2620 Collier, Cortez/ Deuell Creates a task force on domestic violence, focusing on domestic violence on children. Signed by Governor
SB 63 Nelson/ J. Sheffield Allows child to consent to his/her immunizations under certain conditions Signed by Governor
SB 130 Nelson/ Lewis Creates for greater access to protective orders Signed by Governor
SB 330 Huffman/ Thompson, Senf. Establishes some regulations for the access of Child Protective Services records to court appointed evaluators Signed by Governor
SB 426 Nelson/ Zerwas Establishes a Texas Home Visitation Program for at-risk families Signed by Governor
SB 427 Nelson/ Raymond Relating to the regulation of certain child-care facilities- Creates new exemption for certain emergency shelters that provide shelter, care, or services to alleged victims of human trafficking Signed by Governor
SB 429 Nelson/ Raymond Reviews the dismissal orders in Child Protective Services Cases Vetoed by Governor
SB 939 West/ Parker Relating to reporting child abuse and neglect and to training regarding recognizing and reporting child abuse and neglect at schools, institutions of higher education, and other entities Signed by Governor
SB 1404 Patrick & Uresti/ Parker Creates procedures for high school attendance and completion for students who are under state conservatorship through the Department of Family and Protective Services Signed by Governor
SB 1758 Uresti/ Zerwas Establishes a task force to examine hiring and management practices of the Department of Family and Protective Services Passed through the Senate Health and Human Services cmte and House Human Services cmte, but died in General State Calendar

 

 

 

GLBT Related Bills:

Bill Number Author
Description Outcome
HB 58 Burnam Relating to monies for women's health care services Died in House State Affairs cmte
HB 170 Alonzo, Márquez, Alvarado, Davis, Sarah, Dukes Relating to the coverage by certain health benefit plans of mammograms performed by certain health care providers Died in State Affairs cmte
HB 201 Anchia Would amend the Health and Safety Code to delete language that states on the birth certificate of an adopted child, one parent must be a female and one parent must be male Died in the House Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence cmte

HB 238

Villarreal Relating to the prohibition of employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression
Died in the House Economic & Small Business Development cmte
HB 1146 Johnson, Reynolds, González, Mary Relating to the prohibition of employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. Died in the House Economic & Small Business Development cmte
HB 2403 González, Mary Relating to removing gender restrictions in the "Romeo and Juliet" defense to the prosecution of indecency with a child Bill passed favorably out of the House Criminal Jurisprudence cmte, but died in Calendars
HB 3324 Coleman Relating to an offense committed against a person because of bias of gender identity or expression Died in House Criminal Jurisprudence cmte
SB 237 Van de Putte Prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression Died in Senate Economic Development cmte
SB 1795 Watson/ Guillen Establishes that people who help others apply for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act as health insurance navigators Signed by Governor

 

 

 

Mental Health Related Bills:

Bill Number Author Description Outcome
HB 2392 Menéndez/ Van de Putte Adds veterans' mental health to DSHS' specific responsibilities in statute Signed by Governor
HB 3793 Coleman/ Hinojosa Relating to powers, duties, and services of entities serving counties and county residents; Expands the services required of LMHAs and the disorders to which they can be applied; Along with Rider 84, appropriates funds to educate school staff and community on mental health awareness and intervention Signed by Governor
SB 7 Nelson/ Raymond Relating to improving the delivery and quality of certain health and human services, including the delivery and quality of Medicaid acute care services and long-term services and supports Signed by Governor
SB 44 Zaffirini, West/ Burkett Allows the Department of Family and Protective Services & The Department of State Health Services to study how to prevent families from surrendering a child to the care of DFPS to obtain mental health care Signed by Governor
SB 50 Zaffirini/ Guillen Adds "mental health" as an issue area of study for the Children's Policy Council Signed by Governor
SB 58 Nelson/ Zerwas Relating to the integrated delivery of and reporting on mental health, behavioral health, substance abuse, and certain other services Signed by Governor
SB 460 Deuell/ Coleman Would require public school teachers to be trained in detection and education of students at risk for suicide or with other mental or emotional disorders and the inclusion of mental health concerns in coordinated school health efforts Signed by Governor
SB 1185 Huffman/ Thompson, Senf. Establishes a pilot program designed to reduce recidivism and frequency of arrests and incarceration of people with mental illness in Harris county Signed by Governor

 

 

 

Human Rights & Women's Issues Related Bills:

Bill Number Author Description Outcome
HB 950 Thompson, Senf., Collier, Davis, Sarah, Alvarado, Isaac/ Davis Seeks to prevent pay discrimination based on sex Vetoed by Governor
HB 2725 Thompson, Senf./ Van de Putte Provides an exception to the public information requirement for establishments that provide shelter to victems of human trafficking Signed by Governor
HB 2887 Davis, John, Burkett, Turner, Sylvester, Kolkhorst, Menéndez Relating to the establishment and expansion of commuunity collaborative by entities to provide services to and coordinate the care of persons who are homeless, persons with mental illness, and persons with substance abuse problems Failed to be heard by Senate Health and Human Services cmtes
SB 11 Nelson, Birdwell, Carona, Deuell, Duncan, Estes, Fraser, Nichols, Patrick, Seliger, Williams Relating to the drug testing of certain persons seeking financial assistance benefits Died on House floor
SB 21 Williams/ Creighton Relating to the drug testing of certain persons seeking unemployment compensation benefits Signed by Governor

 

 

 

Budget Related Bills:

Bill Number Author Description Outcome
SB 1 Senate Finance Committee State Workers will receive a 1% raise in 2014 and a 2% raise in 2015; some CPS positions will get higher pay due to classification changes. No rate increases for Medicaid mental health providers Signed by the Governor with some line-item vetoes

 

Additional Budget Information:

 


Child Protection:
As part of the new budget for the 2014-2015 fiscal year, The Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) will receive more than $147 million state funds to accomplish goals such as establishing a strong foundation for delivery of services, encourage worker retention, improve safety for the children they serve, keep children out of foster care, increase prevention services, and to increase foster care provider rates. There are more state funds appropriated to DFPS, and the money designated for these  goals will be used to provide for:

  • Addtional direct delivery staff
  • Opportunity for pay increase for caseworkers and adjustments to supervisory positions to address salary compression
  • Funding for Services to At-Risk Youth program and Community Youth Development program
  • Funding for child abuse and neglect prevention programs
  • Specific rate increases for foster care providers

TEA Budget Rider 24- Communities in Schools (CIS): This rider will appropriate $20.3 million each year for 2014 and 2015 to CIS. These monies will go toward enabling CIS to provide more than 81,000 students with case management services. Although this is an increase from the previous fiscal year in 2013 when CIS served approximately 51, 000 students, these number are still lower from the 2011 levels of more than 88,000 students.

 

 

Mental Health: Mental health funding saw a significant increase, about $120 million for DSHS Exceptional Items and $143 million new funding primarily for mental health prevention and intervention. Specific items include the following: SB 1, Rider 78 - Mental Health Outcomes and Accountability performance based incentives; SB 1, Rider 80 - 1915(c) Waiver Expansion; SB1, Rider 83 - State Hospital Long-Term Plan; SB 1, Rider 92 - Funding to eliminate Community Mental Health Services Wait List; SB 1, Rider 82 - Statewide Mental Health Coordination.

 

 

Regulatory Changes:

Some Health and Human Services Commission/Medicaid processes and regulations that underwent examination have been changed. Additions have been made to what a Managed Care Organization (MCO) must provide in reference to payment methodology and payment amounts described in provider contracts. These contracts should include information about a provider fee schedule. The new changes pertain to the accessibility of a fee schedule if one is not already provided in the contract. If the basis of the fee schedule information is:

  1. outside of the MCO's control, such as the Texas Medicaid fee schedule, then the contract must clearly identify the source of information. The contract must include the procedure by which the provider may readily access the source of information electronically, telephonically or as otherwise agreed by the parties; or
     
  2. within the MCO's's control, then the contract must include a toll-free number or electronic address for requesting the fee schedule. The contract must state that the MCO will provide a copy of the fee schedule, and all information necessary to determine the amount of compensation no later than 10 business days after receipt. For purposes of this requirement, the term "all information necessary" to determine compensation has the meaning assigned in 28 Tex. Admin. Code 11.901(a)(11).

Additionally, the MCO cannot charge Network Providers fees for accessing or obtaining copied for fee schedules or other information regarding claims payment.

more Calendar

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40th Annual NASW/TX State Conference - Student Volunteers

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