Legislative Action Committee

Lon Williams, JD

Lon Williams, JD

Pam Bratton

Pam Bratton

Kristen Bauer, JD

Kristen Bauer, JD

Legislative Action

Here are the Texas Legislature Online – Bill Lists as of April 2017 (click link below)

Texas Legislature Online Bill Lists

 See your Texas SHRM Leaders Leaders in Action on the steps of our State Capitol



Thursday, March 24th, after a very long process lasting almost 1 year, the City of Austin passed an ordinance that requires ALL employers with 15 or more employees in the city limits to change their hiring practices. Federal law allows employers to do criminal history checks after the initial interview and does not currently “Ban the Box” (questions regarding convictions on the application). This ordinance takes effect 10 days after passage and will enable the city to fine businesses after the first year.

Those supporting the ordinance were highly organized (by the 2nd Chance Democrats, a group of ex-offenders). They were loud, carried signs and very verbal (negatively) during testimony. Those opposing the ordinance did so primarily on several stands, one was that no one needs yet another local ordinance for something already covered by Federal Law, and some on the principal that the cost per hire is already significant at $4K per hire and going all the way through to the offer was expensive for small businesses and non-profits.

The American Staffing Association had already battled this in New York and successfully got language inserted that protected the staffing business model and we were successful in getting this ordinance changed for just staffing firms that allows the background check after the interview and testing provided you decide they are qualified to go into the ‘staffing pool’. Like other industries staffing firms will follow the ordinance basics.

For Austin businesses with 15 or more employees:

They must Ban the Box

They may not advertise that a criminal history will disqualify someone

They may not inquire about criminal history or run a criminal check until AFTER A CONDITIONAL OFFER OF EMPLOYMENT. They must go through the entire process before determining criminal history.

Stay tuned because the 2nd Chance Democrats have vowed to take this ordinance to every city in the South (without the staffing exclusion). I understand that it is already being discussed in the Dallas area.

Feel free to reach out to Pam Bratton if you have any questions about this ordinance.


Legislative Action Committee
  • Gather and disseminate information on existing and proposed laws and regulations
  • Encourage involvement in the legislative process, from writing letters to testifying at agency hearings
  • Educate your members via access to briefings on key issues and rosters of expert speakers

Promote the SHRM Advocacy (A)Team

  • Make ourselves and the Roadshow Team available as chapter programs when possible
  • Assist chapters in reaching governmental affair/advocacy SHAPE goals

Are you interested in hearing our Texas Legislative Action Roadshow presentation? E-mail us at nfo@texasshrm.org and we can set up a time to visit your chapter.

Did you know that the TWC’s employer commissioner’s office sponsors the Texas Business Conferences, a series of employer seminars around the state. Employers are encouraged to attend at least one of the seminars in order to learn nuts and bolts information on state and federal employment laws and how to deal with the unemployment claim and appeal process.

Click here to find out details about the events.

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