The bill, introduced into the Texas House of Representatives by Rep. Naishtat, had its Public Hearing in the Business and Industry Committee of the House on April 14 as scheduled. Public testimony was heard and entered into record - with only two individuals providing testimony: Rebecca Judd, a social worker and professor at Texas A&M, and Joel Carr, a licensed clinical social worker from San Angelo. No one spoke against the bill, not a good omen; however, we did not learn of the bill or the scheduled public hearing until late evening April 13 prior to the scheduled public hearing.
The official status of the bill is now indicated as "Left pending in the Business and Industry Committee." This simply means no vote was taken or has been scheduled to this point but could be easily or hurriedly be scheduled for a vote at any time by a simple suspension of the rules in the B & I Committee.
With regard to the Business and Industry Committee at this point, our primary responsibility is to make certain that the committee members do not believe that the lack of speakers against the bill is symptomatic of lack of opposition. We need to make certain that EVERY MEMBER OF THE COMMITTEE knows that there is opposition and why. We need to let them know right away to forestall any hurried vote. One of the members told me that EVERY MEMBER of the Committee needs to hear from us right away because for many on the Committee, this is a bill they will vote for out of loyalty to Rep. Naishtat. Right now those members know of no opposition - all they heard was public testimony in favor of the bill.
Contact the B & I Committee members today. Get ready NOW for making contact with the Texas Senate and its appropriate committee (which we will let you know about as soon as it is referred to the Senate and assigned to a committee). Don't put this off - do it today! If you have already done it for some members of the Committee, do it for all. Would it not be great to not to have to deal with it in the Senate at all - by getting the bill defeated in the Business and Industry Committee of the House - and that can still happen! The directions below will take you to a page containing the photos of all Business & Industry Committee members. Click on their individual photos to go to their web page where you can get contact information, send an e-mail, etc.
• Go to the Texas House of Representatives web site: http://www.house.state.tx.us/ (Texas House of Representatives web site)
• On top left side of web page click on COMMITTEES
• On the committee page, find and click on Business & Industry
I have decided not to create a form letter as some have asked. A form letter will not do nearly as much good as individual correspondence. Make your letters, faxes, and e-mails as simple, succinct, and to the point as possible. Don't take the negative approach - be as positive as you can while emphasizing qualifications of education, training, and work experience.
We need quick action, response from as many as possible, and even repeat contact. In your written comments to the members, emphasize why you are opposed to the bill. I would appreciate receiving copies of any correspondence that any of you engage in and care to share.
Below I have provided the copy of the bill, again, for your reference! Should you be concerned? Yes!!!!
H.B. No. 3262
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
relating to providers of vocational rehabilitation services under
the workers' compensation program.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
SECTION 1. Section 409.012(e), Labor Code, is amended to
read as follows:
(e) The commissioner by rule may require that a private
provider of vocational rehabilitation services maintain certain
credentials and qualifications in order to provide services in
connection with a workers' compensation insurance claim. For
purposes of this section, private providers of vocational
rehabilitation services may include licensed master social workers
or licensed clinical social workers.
SECTION 2. This Act takes effect immediately if it receives
a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution. If this
Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this
Act takes effect September 1, 2009.