HBA-NIK H.B. 3247 76(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 3247 By: Allen Corrections 3/21/1999 Introduced BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Since 1993, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice has conducted a pilot program in Lockhart, Texas that allows inmates to work for private-sector corporations within the walls of the prison, earning a prevailing wage. A portion of the inmate's wage is used to help pay for the cost of incarceration, victim restitution, donation to the Crime Victims Compensation Fund, and dependent support. Since the program's inception in 1993, inmates have paid more than $3 million to the state, crime victims, and inmate family members. The 75th Legislative session created called the Private Sector Prison Industries Oversight Authority (authority), which approves, certifies, and oversees the operations of private-sector prison industry programs in Texas. The authority addresses concerns of displaced workers as a result of inmate employment and ensures that Texas remains in compliance with the federal prison enhancement certification program. H.B. 3247 allows Texas Correctional Industries to participate in the Private Sector Industries program. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking authority is expressly delegated to the Texas Board of Criminal Justice in SECTION 1 (Section 497.004(b), Government Code) of this bill. SECTION BY SECTION ANALYSIS SECTION 1. Amends Section 497.004(b), Government Code, to authorize the Texas Board of Criminal Justice (board), by rule, to develop and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (department) to administer an incentive pay scale for the inmates who participate in prison industries, consistent with rules adopted by the Private Sector Prison Industries Authority under Subchapter C. Requires the department to apportion pay earned by an inmate in the same manner as is required by rules adopted by the Private Sector Prison Industries Oversight Authority (authority) under Section 497.057 (Rules), rather than 497.051 (Purpose; Definition), Government Code. SECTION 2. Amends Section 497.006, Government Code, to require the department to count the number of inmates participating in a work program under a contract entered into under this section to determine, under Section 497.062 (Limitation on Number of Participants), the number of inmates employed in private sector prison industries programs, rather than conditional work programs. SECTION 3. Amends Section 497.056(b), Government Code, to include the cost to the department of paying the reimbursable expenses of authority members under Section 497.055 (Reimbursment) in the costs of the authority and the department in implementing this Subchapter to which the legislature is authorized for appropriate funds. SECTION 4. Amends Section 497.058, Government Code, to require the authority, by rule, to require that inmate employees at each private sector prison industries program (program) are not paid less than the prevailing wage as computed by the authority or as determined by the authority using surveys, rather than authorizing the authority to permit employers to pay an employee the minimum wage for the two-month period beginning on the date employment begins. Sets forth the conditions for the purpose of computations or determinations required of the authority by this section, rather than the computations required by this section. SECTION 5. Amends Section 497.059, Government Code, to prohibit the authority from granting initial certification to a private sector prison industries program of the authority determining that the operation of the program would result in the loss of jobs provided by the employer in this state. Provides that a program does not result in the loss of existing jobs provided by the employer in this state if, but for the existence of the program, the jobs would be filled outside of the United States. SECTION 6. Amends Section 501.024, Labor Code, to exempt a person other than an inmate participating in a Texas Correctional Industries contract described by Section 497.006, Government Code, from being excluded from coverage as an employee. SECTION 7. Repealer: Section 497.0581, Government Code (Inmate Contributions). SECTION 8. Effective date: September 1, 1999. SECTION 9. Emergency clause.