TITLE 40. SOCIAL SERVICES AND ASSISTANCE

PART 20. TEXAS WORKFORCE COMMISSION

CHAPTER 806. PURCHASES OF PRODUCTS AND SERVICES FROM PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) adopts new sections to Chapter 806, relating to Purchases of Products and Services from People with Disabilities (PPD), with changes, as published in the November 25, 2016, issue of the Texas Register (41 TexReg 9234):

Subchapter A. General Provisions Regarding Purchases of Products and Services from People with Disabilities, §806.2

Subchapter B. Advisory Committee Responsibilities, Meeting Guidelines, §806.21 and §806.22

Subchapter C. Central Nonprofit Agencies, §806.31 and §806.32

Subchapter D. Community Rehabilitation Programs, §806.41

Subchapter E. Products and Services, §806.53

Subchapter F. Complaints, Vendor Protests, Resolutions, §806.61 and §806.62

Subchapter G. Disclosure of Records, §806.71

Subchapter H. Reports; Plans, §806.81

TWC adopts new sections to Chapter 806, relating to Purchases of Products and Services from People with Disabilities (PPD), without changes, as published in the November 25, 2016, issue of the Texas Register (41 TexReg 9234):

Subchapter A. General Provisions Regarding Purchases of Products and Services from People with Disabilities, §806.1

Subchapter E. Products and Services, §806.51 and §806.52

Subchapter H. Reports; Plans, §806.82

Subchapter I. Political Subdivisions, §806.91 and §806.92

TWC adopts the repeal of the following sections of Chapter 806, relating to Purchases of Products and Services from People with Disabilities, without changes, as published in the November 25, 2016, issue of the Texas Register (41 TexReg 9234):

General, §806.1

Definitions, §806.2

Organization, §806.3

Ethical Standards, §806.4

Open Meetings; Public Testimony and Access, §806.5

Certification and Recertification of Community Rehabilitation Programs, §806.6

Contracting with Central Nonprofit Agencies, §806.7

Product Specifications and Exceptions, §806.8

Determination of Fair Market Value, §806.9

Consumer Information; Complaints and Resolution, §806.10

Records, §806.11

Performance Standards for a Central Nonprofit Agency, §806.12

Recognition and Approval of Community Rehabilitation Program Products and Services, §806.13

PART I. PURPOSE, BACKGROUND, AND AUTHORITY OF ADOPTED RULES

PART II. EXPLANATION OF INDIVIDUAL PROVISIONS WITH COMMENTS AND RESPONSES TO PROPOSED RULES

PART I. PURPOSE, BACKGROUND, AND AUTHORITY

The purpose of the amendments to the Chapter 806 rules is to comply with the requirements of Senate Bill (SB) 212, enacted by the 84th Texas Legislature, Regular Session (2015), which abolished the Texas Council on Purchasing from People with Disabilities (Council). Section 29(a) of SB 212 transferred all former Council powers and duties to the TWC to administer the PPD program effective September 1, 2015. Per SB 212, the rules of the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts (comptroller) were transferred to TWC and placed in 40 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) Chapter 806.

SB 212's primary impact was the abolishment of the Council. The Council was replaced with an advisory committee appointed by TWC's three-member Commission (Commission), which serves in a different capacity.

PART II. EXPLANATION OF INDIVIDUAL PROVISIONS WITH COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

SUBCHAPTER A. GENERAL PROVISIONS REGARDING PURCHASES OF PRODUCTS AND SERVICES FROM PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

TWC adopts new Subchapter A, General Provisions Regarding Purchases of Products and Services from People with Disabilities, as follows:

§806.1. General

New §806.1 establishes the purpose of the PPD state use program and names TWC as the administering agency.

Comment: One commenter recommended inserting the word "competitive" before "employment activities" in §806.1(1) and correspondingly, to make that same change throughout the chapter.

Response: TWC declines to make this recommended change, either in this section or throughout the chapter. The purpose of Chapter 806 derives directly from Texas Human Resources Code, §122.001. The proposed wording is not consistent with the statutory wording. Therefore, no change was made based on this comment.

§806.2. Definitions

New §806.2(1) defines "Appreciable contribution."

New §806.2(2) adds a new definition for "Advisory Committee" pursuant to SB 212, to align with statute.

New §806.2(3) defines "Central nonprofit agency" as it is defined in Texas Human Resources Code §122.002(1). Minor, nonsubstantive changes were made to this definition to track the statutory definition and address commenters' concerns regarding the use of the word "Agency".

New §806.2(4) defines "Chapter 122" retaining the general reference to the Texas Human Resources Code applicable to these rules. TWC has added the title of the chapter to add clarity.

New §806.2(5) defines "Community rehabilitation program" as it is defined in TexasHuman Resources Code §122.002(3).

New §806.2(6) defines "Comptroller" as the Comptroller of Public Accounts.

New §806.2(7) defines "Direct Labor" as required by the Texas Human Resources Code §122.013(c)(4).

New §806.2(8) defines "Disability" as it is defined in the Texas Human Resources Code §122.002(5).

New 806.2(9) defines "Exception."

New §806.2(10) defines "State use program." Based on a review of the Council's rules transferred from the Comptroller, the Agency retains this definition, replaces the term "Council" with "Agency" and replaced the term "persons" with "individuals."

New §806.2(11) defines "Value added." Based on a review of the Council's rules transferred from the Comptroller, TWC retains this definition and replaces the term "persons" with "individuals."

Comment: Two commenters suggested clarification of the definition of "agency." One commenter stated that the reference to the definition of "Agency" in §800.2 of this title does not detail at what level of the Agency the decision-making specified in the proposed rules will be made. Another commenter stated that clarification of the terms "Agency" and "Commission" is necessary to distinguish the difference between the staff and the governing body of an agency and that referencing another rule in which definitions are contained is not helpful or easily understood.

Response: As noted in the cross-reference, the terms "Agency" and "Commission," as defined in §800.2 of this title, apply to all uses of the term in the Commission's rules, unless otherwise defined, and distinguish between staff decisions and Commission action. TWC agrees that the definition of "agency" should be clarified for purposes of this chapter. Accordingly, to avoid confusion, the term "central nonprofit agency" within these rules will be shortened to "CNA." In accordance with Texas Government Code §2001.007(a), TWC makes available its rules over the Internet and will endeavor to include a hyperlink to any cross-referenced TWC rules.

Comment: One commenter raised concerns that the proposed definition of "appreciable contribution" does not clarify the purpose or how it applies to purchasing from people with disabilities. The commenter suggested adding that the "appreciable contribution" must benefit the employee with a disability by developing new job skills that have not been previously attained through other jobs.

Response: TWC agrees with this suggestion and has added the development of new job skills as an alternative basis for documenting appreciable contribution.

Comment: One commenter requested changing the definition of "advisory committee" to include the exact name of the committee in order to assist individuals in obtaining more information about the committee, its membership and meetings, and staff contacts on the Internet or through the TWC switchboard.

Response: TWC agrees with this suggestion and has made the recommended change. Further, to assist individuals in obtaining information about the committee, the PPD program and activities, and other relevant information, TWC is committed to ensuring that it provides clear and updated information on its web page.

Comment: Three commenters expressed concern about the definition of the term "disability," stating that the community rehabilitation programs (CRPs) in the state use program should be serving individuals with "severe" disabilities. One commenter stated that the term "disability" alone might contribute to confusion. Another commenter suggested that safeguards be added to claims of disability requiring attestation by a medical or professional expert, in addition to sworn affirmation by the applicant. Another requested that the definition of "disability" reflect the previous definition of the term used previously in the Comptroller's rules.

Three commenters suggested adding the term "severe disability" to the definitions, and one requested that the term be used in place of "disability" to be consistent with statute.

Response: TWC has defined "disability" as defined in Texas Human Resources Code §122.002(5) and does not preclude "severe" disabilities. By definition, and the criteria established by the Commission, a CRP is a program for individuals with severe disabilities. Therefore, the Commission declines to make the changes as requested. Regarding attestation, TWC agrees that this request is an appropriate operational requirement, reflecting existing practice, which is more appropriately contained in substantive rules rather than in a definition. Therefore, TWC has revised §806.41(e)(2) to include this recommendation.

Subchapter B. ADVISORY COMMITTEE RESPONSIBILITIES AND MEETING GUIDELINES

The Commission adopts new Subchapter B, Advisory Committee Responsibilities, Meeting Guidelines, as follows:

§806.21. Advisory Committee

New §806.21 provides language establishing the newly formed advisory committee, states the purpose of the advisory committee, and sets forth the responsibilities of the Agency, committee, and Commission, pursuant to SB 212.

Comment: One commenter suggested that for clarity in subsection (c)(5), "an" be changed to "each" to read "the average number of hours worked each week by each individual.…".

Response: TWC agrees with this suggestion and has made the recommended change.

Comment: One commenter requested the addition of "number and" in subsection (c)(6) to read "The number and percentage…" because the percentage of individuals placed in competitive employment can have vastly different implications depending on the number of individuals that the percentage represents. The commenter also asked for clarity on the time frame for reporting data collection.

Response: TWC agrees with adding "number and" in subsection (c)(6)--as program implementation has shown that percentage alone does not fully capture the number of individuals placed in competitive employment--and has made the recommended change. TWC also clarifies that the requested reporting is made annually.

Comment: One commenter requested clarification on the meaning of "percentage of work performed" in subsection (c)(7) and whether it means by each individual or all individuals collectively, if it is quantified in time spent, and if it is based on actual job performance or job description.

Response: Based on this comment, TWC has revised subsection (c)(7) to clarify that "percentage of work performed" is intended to describe the amount of work performed by all individuals with disabilities collectively, quantified in hours worked, and based on actual job performance.

Comment: One commenter suggested that the wording in subsection (d) be changed to reflect that the advisory committee shall provide input to the Commission on rules and not solely in adopting rules.

Response: TWC has clarified this section and welcomes input during the rulemaking process in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (Texas Government Code §2001.001, et seq).

Comment: Three commenters suggested that subsection (e) be changed to reflect that TWC provides administrative support to the committee, including accommodations and supports as needed by advisory committee members who have disabilities, in order to allow meaningful participation by advisory committee members with disabilities. One commenter requested the addition of a new subsection that details the accommodations and supports that TWC shall provide to advisory committee members who are disabled.

Response: TWC agrees with the suggestion that subsection (e) be modified to reflect that administrative support to the committee includes accommodations and supports, as needed. The advisory committee is subject to the Open Meetings Act and required by other law to ensure Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance. This subsection has been amended to indicate that accommodations and supports will be provided, as required by law.

Comment: One commenter suggested that additional language be made to subsection (f) to clarify that Texas Government Code, Chapter 2110, concerns state agency advisory committees.

Response: TWC agrees with the commenter and has added the language as suggested.

§806.22. Open Meetings, Public Testimony and Access

New §806.22 sets forth the requirements of the Committee to comply with the Open Meetings Act, Public Information Act, and Texas Government Code, Chapter 2001.

Subchapter C. CENTRAL NONPROFIT AGENCIES

The Commission adopts new Subchapter C, Central Nonprofit Agencies, as follows:

§806.31. Contracting with Central Nonprofit Agencies

New §806.31 sets forth the contract requirements and responsibilities of the Agency, Commission, and central nonprofit agencies (CNAs).

Comment: One commenter suggested that in subsection (c), the amount of annual wages be paid to "each employee" and not to "an individual."

Response: TWC notes that this comment refers to wording in §806.31(f)(1)(C), rather than §806.31(c). TWC agrees with the comment and has made the suggested change.

Comment: One commenter stated that the information in subsection (f) regarding the quarterly reporting deadline for a CNA is unclear and seems to conflict with the time period stated in §806.41(j). The commenter suggested that 60 days would be a sufficient deadline. The commenter also requested clarification as to why the CNA reports quarterly information in program evaluations that are generated once a year. The commenter also requested clarification on reporting requirements in subsection (g)(1) that seem to duplicate similar reporting requirements in subsection (f). Additionally, the commenter requested clarification on subsection (i)(1), which states that the goal to pay CRPs is 14 to 21 calendar days, but not less than 30 days of completion of work and proper invoicing. The commenter stated that based on the intent of this policy, the word "less" should be changed to "more."

Response: TWC agrees with the commenter and has made certain changes to clarify relevant time frames. First, TWC has modified the CNA reporting time frame from 15 to 60 days, in order to allow the CRPs time to report to the CNA, and allowing the CNA to submit the information to TWC. TWC clarifies that the requirement for quarterly reporting will enable adjustments to be made to the program more frequently, if necessary, rather than being limited to a single annual adjustment. TWC agrees that subsection (g)(1) is duplicative and has eliminated that subsection. Finally, TWC also agrees that the intent of this policy is more appropriately captured by modifying the word "less" to "more" in subsection (i)(1) and has made the change.

Comment: One commenter suggested rewording subsection (h) to read, "the range of hourly wages for employees with disabilities and employees without disabilities who are employed in CRPs under this chapter." The commenter's context and wording indicate that the comment is made in reference to subsection (f)(1)(H), rather than to subsection (h).

Response: Section 806.31(f)(1)(H) tracks the statutory language in Texas Human Resources Code §122.022(b), which contains a list of items identified by the legislature for TWC to report. Through §806.31(f)(1), TWC requests from a CRP items necessary to compile the report. Because this is a specific requirement that the legislature imposed on TWC, TWC declines to make the change as requested.

Comment: One commenter requested that a new subsection (h) be added to state that the "agency will publicly post the information provided under §806.31(f) and (g) within 30 days of receipt."

Response: TWC agrees with the comment, has added a new subsection (h), and will post public information within 20 days of receipt to ensure that access is provided sooner.

§806.32. Performance Standards and Goals for a Central Nonprofit Agency

New §806.32 sets forth the performance standards, goals, and requirements of CNAs.

Comment: One commenter stated that of the 17 performance standards in this section, only two are geared toward individuals with disabilities participating in the program. The commenter suggested a number of changes to include person-centered planning, which documents employment goals, as a requirement to adhere to Texas Government Code §531.02447 in order to ensure a living wage, and a new section to increase competitive integrated employment for individuals with complex medical, physical, or behavioral needs.

Response: TWC agrees with including language regarding employment services and counseling and has modified subsection (b)(1) to reflect development of a person-centered plan. Additionally, in order to operationalize this performance goal at the CRP level, a new subsection was added to §806.41(f) to ensure that CRPs document their performance of this function as part of the certification/recertification process. Regarding the Texas Employment-First Policy, as TWC is subject to this statute, repeating herein is unnecessary. Additionally, TWC declines to make the recommended change regarding "competitive employment," in this section and throughout the chapter. The purpose of Chapter 806 derives directly from Texas Human Resources Code §122.001. The proposed wording is not consistent with the statutory wording.

Comment: One commenter suggested broadening the title of this section to encompass the entire program rather than solely the CNA and requested amending subsection (b)(1) and (2) to ensure that individuals receive minimum wage or higher, in addition to person-centered planning, which documents employment goals. The commenter also requested that subsection (b)(4) be deleted in order to direct greater emphasis on the development of employment opportunities by the CNA rather than emphasizing information workshops.

Response: Subchapter C, consisting of §806.31 and §806.32, pertain to CNAs. The standards and goals specifically applicable to a CNA are found in §806.32. These standards and goals are not applicable to the entire program. Therefore, no change is made based on this comment. However, as suggested, subsection (b)(1) has been modified to reflect the proposed change regarding development of person-centered plans. Regarding the commenter's proposal to modify subsections (b)(1) and (2) to require paying minimum wage or higher, TWC has incorporated employment opportunities that pay minimum wage or higher as a goal in employment opportunities generally. However, TWC declines to adopt the commenter's specific rule wording, as it exceeds the authority provided by statute for the PPD program. Additionally, TWC declines to delete subsection (b)(4), as the wording reflects a viable function of a CNA. However, TWC agrees with the commenter's suggestion to emphasize the development of employment opportunities by adding the requested wording to new subsection (b)(3) and renumbering thereafter.

Comment: One commenter stated that, regarding subsection (b)(7), the CNA's performance goals should track reporting requirements in §806.31(g)(3)

Response: TWC declines to make the recommended change, as these two sections are not in conflict and serve different purposes.

Subchapter D. COMMUNITY REHABILITATION PROGRAMS

The Commission adopts new Subchapter D, Community Rehabilitation Programs, as follows:

§806.41. Certification and Recertification of Community Rehabilitation Programs

New §806.41 sets forth the criteria and requirements that the Commission and Agency will use to certify and recertify CRPs.

Comment: One commenter suggested adding the term "competitive" in subsection (d) to accurately describe the type of compensation for individuals with severe disabilities.

Response: The term "community rehabilitation program" (CRP), as defined in §806.2, follows the statutory definition in Texas Human Resources Code §122.002, which does not include the word "competitive." No change was made based on this comment.

Comment: Two commenters requested that subsection (e)(2) include a requirement for the individual to sign the form that documents the disability and determines program eligibility.

Response: TWC agrees with the recommendation and has modified subsection (e)(2) accordingly.

Comment: One commenter stated that a subminimum wage represents a cycle of poverty and expressed concern that the process to determine piece rates and eligibility for subminimum wage is not based on a foundation that matches natural skills, desires, and individual employment goals with job opportunities. Two commenters recommended amending subsection (f)(8) to include clarification of the employees paid, a plan to phase out this practice, and a statement of explanation of circumstances subminimum wages.

Response: Section 806.41(d) is one of many requirements for existing documentation that should be submitted as part of the certification application. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) authorizes employers, after receiving a certificate from the US Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division, to pay subminimum wages to workers with disabilities for the work being performed. Subminimum wages are wages less than the federal minimum wage. The Wage and Hour Division is responsible for the administration and enforcement of FLSA. TWC has no authority to "phase out" this practice and, therefore, has made no change based on this comment. TWC has made changes in §806.32(b)(1) and (2), setting performance goals for a CNA to increase employment opportunities, including those paying minimum wage or higher.

Subsection (f)(8) as proposed and adopted contains the "statement of explanation of circumstances requiring subminimum wage." Therefore, no change was made based on this comment.

Comment: Two commenters stated that current subsection (f)(9) is not clear as to whether the performance standard is that 75 percent of the hours worked should be performed by individuals with disabilities or that 75 percent of the individuals employed should be individuals with disabilities. The commenters made similar suggestions to amend the subsection in order to ensure that both performance standards are required.

Response: Section 806.41(f)(9) focuses on total hours by requiring that "at least 75 percent of the CRP's total hours … will be performed by individuals with documented disabilities." No change has been made based on this comment.

Comment: One commenter requested the addition of a provision in subsection (i) that requires every CRP, upon recertification, to implement a plan to pay every individual minimum wage or higher within three years. Additionally, if the CRP has not phased out subminimum wage, recertification will not be approved. By 2023, every CRP will be expected to pay all employees minimum wage or higher.

Response: No change has been made based on this comment, as it exceeds the authority provided by statute for the PPD program.

Comment: Two commenters suggested adding a subsection requiring CRPs to report any state agency that is not using the program to benefit individuals with disabilities.

Response: TWC agrees with the suggestion, has added a new subsection (n), and has relettered thereafter.

Subchapter E. PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

The Commission adopts new Subchapter E, Products and Services, as follows:

§806.51. Product Specifications and Exceptions

New §806.51 provides language that products must meet certain specifications in order to be available for purchase by state agencies under Texas Human Resources Code §122.014 and §122.016.

§806.52. Determination of Fair Market Value

New §806.52 provides language that products and services are required to be at a price determined to be the fair market price under Texas Human Resources Code §122.007 and §122.015.

§806.53. Recognition and Approval of Community Rehabilitation Program Products and Services

New §806.53 sets forth the criteria and requirements the Agency will use to approve products and services to be available for purchase.

Comment: Two commenters suggested significant oversight to ensure that disabled citizens of the State of Texas benefit from this program. Oversight includes audits from an outside entity to examine affirmations of disabilities from participants and doctors, in addition to an examination of the 75 percent goal.

Response: TWC shares the commenters’ focus on oversight of the PPD program. The proposed changes to this section, specifically to §806.53(a)(4), (b)(1) and (b)(3) are intended to allow the Agency the flexibility to establish a percentage greater than 75% should circumstances warrant, and to align with the existing requirements in subsections (a)(3) and (b)(1) applying the 75% figure to each contract. Additionally, upon approval of the revised rules, Commission staff will begin regularly scheduled reviews of each CRP's operation to ensure compliance with all program requirements, including employee eligibility. Accordingly, TWC believes the rules, as proposed, address the stated concerns and has made no changes.

Comment: One commenter stated that the current requirements in §806.53 do not give a clear picture of how the contract dollars are being used and that it would be helpful to know the rationale for the stated percentages. The commenter suggested adding a new paragraph to subsection (b), stating that the CRP will send a detailed report explaining how the CRP used 100 percent of the contract dollars. The commenter also suggested an amendment to subsection (b)(3) to clarify that 75 percent of the individuals employed be individuals with disabilities and 75 percent of the hours of direct labor be performed by individuals with disabilities.

Response: TWC agrees with the commenter's suggestion and has added a new requirement in subsections (a) and (b), as recommended, relating to the detailed report. However, TWC declines to make the suggested change to subsection (b)(3) because the same information is captured in the 75 percent of hours of direct labor in subsection (b)(1).

Subchapter F. COMPLAINTS, VENDOR PROTESTS, RESOLUTIONS

The Commission adopts new Subchapter F, Complaints, Vendor Protests, Resolutions, as follows:

§806.61. Consumer Information; Complaints and Resolution

New §806.61 sets forth the process for filing complaints and duties of the Agency to resolve complaints.

Comment: Two commenters expressed concern that there is not a process described in an accessible manner for individuals with disabilities employed by the CRP to file a complaint, and they requested the addition of a new subsection (d) to include that information.

Response: The Commission declines to make the requested change. The requested change to address employee complaints is outside the scope of §122.020 of the Texas Human Resources Code. Additionally, all information that TWC posts on its website is subject to accessibility requirements.

Comment: One commenter requested clarification on subsection (g) regarding the agency level at which complaints will be resolved and details on how the complaint will be recorded, closed, and reported to the interested parties.

Response: Based on this comment, TWC has modified subsection (a) to provide more detail regarding the process and subsection (g) to clarify at what agency level and how complaints will be resolved. Consistent with Texas Human Resources Code §122.020, procedures for complaint resolution closure and reporting to parties are reflected in subsections (c) and (d) of this section.

§806.62. Vendor Protests.

New §806.62 sets forth the process for disputing a solicitation or award of a contract and duties of the Agency to resolve protests.

Comment: One commenter questioned why a "program manager," specified in subsection (c), may settle or resolve a vendor protest. The commenter noted that "program manager" is not a defined term and that the vendor protest procedure should be consistent with the procedures of the procurement division of the Comptroller's Office (Statewide Procurement Division), as specified in Texas Government Code §2155.076.

Response: The Commission agrees and has made a change to align TWC rules with Comptroller rules, as required under Texas Government Code §2155.076. Accordingly, given that vendor protests filed with the Comptroller under 34 TAC §20.534 are resolved by the director, defined at 34 TAC §20.25 as "division director," the Commission will modify the rule to substitute "division director" for "program manager." Furthermore, because of TWC's structure, the division director of this program is currently TWC's deputy executive director, who, under subsection (e) of this section, is designated as the individual managing appeals. The Commission hereby makes the corresponding change to designate the division director's final determination as TWC's final decision to fully align with Texas Government Code §2155.076. Additionally, a change has been made to subsection (f) to align retention of vendor protest records with current standards, as mandated under Texas Government Code §2155.076.

Subchapter G. DISCLOSURE OF RECORDS

The Commission adopts new Subchapter G, Disclosure of Records, as follows:

§806.71. Records

New §806.71 sets forth the requirements and duties of the Agency to handle records.

Comment: Two commenters requested the wording of subsection (c) be changed to read, "No records belonging to a CNA or a CRP may be accessed or released except as authorized under the Texas Public Information Act," stating that it is important to consult the law rather than rely on this rule for guidance on the release of information.

Response: The language in §806.71 reiterates the statutory language in Texas Human Resources Code §122.0215, which provides access to CNA or CRP information by the Agency. Section 122.01215 specifically restricts release of these records except in specific circumstances that may be more restrictive than the Texas Public Information Act. To add the phrase as recommended by these commenters is in conflict with the statutory language. Therefore, a change has been made based on this comment.

Subchapter H. Reports; Plans

The Commission adopts new Subchapter H, Reports; Plans, as follows:

§806.81. Annual Financial Report

New §806.81 sets forth the requirement of the Agency to prepare an annual financial report and file with the governor and the presiding officer of each house of the legislature under Texas Human Resources Code §122.022.

Comment: One commenter stated that the data reported by the CRPs does not provide the public with a clear picture of the actual wages earned by individuals with disabilities. The commenter suggested changing subsection (b)(7) to state that the report will include the range of weekly wages for employees with disabilities and employees without disabilities.

Response: TWC agrees with the commenter and has modified subsection (b)(7) to delete "the average and" and to change "earnings" to "wages."

§806.82. Strategic Plan: Final Operating Plan

New §806.82 sets forth the requirement for the Agency to prepare a strategic plan and a final operating plan relating to the Agency's and Commission's activities under this chapter, as required by Texas Government Code, Chapter 2054, Subchapter E under Texas Human Resources Code §122.024.

Subchapter I. Political Subdivisions

The Commission adopts new Subchapter I, Political Subdivisions, as follows:

§806.91. Procurement for Political Subdivisions

New §806.91 sets forth the requirement for political subdivisions to follow procurement rules as required by Texas Human Resources Code §122.017, relating to procurement for political subdivisions.

§806.92. Political Subdivisions Excluded

New §806.92 sets forth the requirement of excluded political subdivisions to follow procurement rules as required by Texas Human Resources Code §122.018, relating to political subdivisions excluded.

COMMENTS WERE RECEIVED FROM:

Richard Carter, Information Technology Alliance of Texas

Melynda Caudle, Cooper Consulting Company

Fred Weber, TIBH Industries, Inc.

Linda Logan, Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities

Jean Langendorf, Disability Rights Texas

Kyle Piccola, The Arc of Texas

40 TAC §§806.1 - 806.13

The repealed rules are adopted under Texas Labor Code §301.0015 and §302.002(d), which provide the Texas Workforce Commission with the authority to adopt, amend, or repeal such rules as it deems necessary for the effective administration of Agency services and activities.

The adopted repeals affect Title 4, Texas Labor Code, particularly Chapters 301 and 302.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the adoption and found it to be a valid exercise of the agency's legal authority.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on May 23, 2017.

TRD-201702062

Patricia Gonzalez

Deputy Director, Workforce Development Division Programs

Texas Workforce Commission

Effective date: June 12, 2017

Proposal publication date: November 25, 2016

For further information, please call: (512) 475-0829


SUBCHAPTER A. GENERAL PROVISIONS REGARDING PURCHASES OF PRODUCTS AND SERVICES FROM PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

40 TAC §806.1

The new rule is adopted under Texas Labor Code §301.0015 and §302.002(d), which provide the Texas Workforce Commission with the authority to adopt, amend, or repeal such rules as it deems necessary for the effective administration of Agency services and activities.

The adopted rules affect Title 4, Texas Labor Code, particularly Chapters 301 and 302.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the adoption and found it to be a valid exercise of the agency's legal authority.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on May 23, 2017.

TRD-201702063

Patricia Gonzalez

Deputy Director, Workforce Development Division Programs

Texas Workforce Commission

Effective date: June 12, 2017

Proposal publication date: November 25, 2016

For further information, please call: (512) 475-0829


40 TAC §806.2

The new rule is adopted under Texas Labor Code §301.0015 and §302.002(d), which provide the Texas Workforce Commission with the authority to adopt, amend, or repeal such rules as it deems necessary for the effective administration of Agency services and activities.

The adopted rules affect Title 4, Texas Labor Code, particularly Chapters 301 and 302.

§806.2.Definitions.

The following words and terms, when used in this chapter, shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly indicates otherwise. "Agency" and "Commission" are defined in §800.2 of this title, relating to Definitions.

(1) Appreciable contribution--The term used to refer to the substantial work effort contributed by individuals with disabilities in the reforming of raw materials, assembly of components or packaging of bulk products in more saleable quantities, by which value is added into the final product offered for sale or through which the individuals with disabilities develop new job skills that have not been previously attained through other jobs.

(2) Advisory committee--The Purchasing from People with Disabilities Advisory Committee, established by the Commission, as described in Texas Human Resources Code §122.0057.

(3) Central nonprofit agency (CNA)--An entity designated as a central nonprofit agency under contract pursuant to Texas Human Resources Code §122.019.

(4) Chapter 122--Chapter 122 of the Texas Human Resources Code, relating to Purchasing from People with Disabilities.

(5) Community rehabilitation program (CRP)--A government or nonprofit private program operated under criteria established by the Commission and under which individuals with severe disabilities produce products or perform services for compensation.

(6) Comptroller--The Comptroller of Public Accounts.

(7) Direct labor--All work required for preparation, processing, and packaging of a product, or work directly relating to the performance of a service, except supervision, administration, inspection, or shipping products.

(8) Disability--A mental or physical impairment, including blindness that impedes a person who is seeking, entering, or maintaining gainful employment.

(9) Exception--Any product or service approved for the state use program purchased from a vendor other than a CRP because the state use product or service does not meet the applicable requirements as to quantity, quality, delivery, life cycle costs, and testing and inspection requirements pursuant to Texas Government Code §2155.138 and §2155.069 or as described in Texas Human Resources Code §122.014 and §122.016.

(10) State use program--The statutorily authorized mandate requiring state agencies to purchase, on a noncompetitive basis, the products made and services performed by individuals with disabilities, which have been approved by the Agency pursuant to Texas Human Resources Code, Chapter 122 and which also meet the requirements of Texas Government Code, §2155.138 and §2155.069. This program also makes approved products and services available to be purchased on a noncompetitive basis by any political subdivision of the state.

(11) Value added--The labor of individuals with disabilities applied to raw materials, components, goods purchased in bulk form resulting in a change in the composition or marketability of component materials, packaging operations, and/or the servicing tasks associated with a product. Pass-throughs are not allowed; therefore, solely affixing a packaging label to a commodity does not qualify.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the adoption and found it to be a valid exercise of the agency's legal authority.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on May 23, 2017.

TRD-201702064

Patricia Gonzalez

Deputy Director, Workforce Development Division Programs

Texas Workforce Commission

Effective date: June 12, 2017

Proposal publication date: November 25, 2016

For further information, please call: (512) 475-0829


SUBCHAPTER B. ADVISORY COMMITTEE RESPONSIBILITIES, MEETING GUIDELINES

40 TAC §806.21, §806.22

The new rules are adopted under Texas Labor Code §301.0015 and §302.002(d), which provide the Texas Workforce Commission with the authority to adopt, amend, or repeal such rules as it deems necessary for the effective administration of Agency services and activities.

The adopted rules affect Title 4, Texas Labor Code, particularly Chapters 301 and 302.

§806.21.Advisory Committee.

(a) The advisory committee, as described in Texas Human Resources Code §122.0057, shall assist the Commission in establishing:

(1) performance goals for the program administered under this chapter; and

(2) criteria for certifying a CRP for participation in the program administered under this chapter.

(b) The advisory committee shall:

(1) establish specific objectives for the program administered under this chapter that are appropriate given the program's status as one of several employment-related services the state offers to individuals with disabilities;

(2) develop performance measures that may be used by the Agency to evaluate whether the program is meeting the objectives established under paragraph (1) of this subsection; and

(3) recommend criteria for certifying CRPs for participation in the program.

(c) In developing the performance measures under subsection (b) of this section, the advisory committee must consider the following factors as applicable to the program administered under this chapter:

(1) The percentage of total sales revenue attributable to the program as:

(A) paid in wages to individuals with disabilities; and

(B) spent on direct training and professional development services for individuals with disabilities;

(2) The average hourly wage earned by an individual participating in the program;

(3) The average annual salary earned by an individual participating in the program;

(4) The number of individuals with disabilities participating in the program paid less than minimum wage and occupations into which such individuals are placed;

(5) The average number of hours worked each week by each individual with a disability who participates in the program;

(6) The number and percentage of individuals with disabilities who participate in the program and who are placed into competitive positions, including competitive management or administrative positions within CRPs; and

(7) The percentage of work performed by individuals with disabilities who participate in the program collectively that is purely repackaging labor, quantified in hours worked and based on actual job performance.

(d) The advisory committee shall provide input to the Commission applicable to the program administered under this chapter relating to the employment-first policies described in Texas Government Code §531.02447 and §531.02448.

(e) The Agency shall provide administrative support to the advisory committee, including accommodations and supports, as required by law.

(f) The advisory committee is not subject to Texas Government Code, Chapter 2110, regarding state agency advisory committees.

§806.22.Open Meetings, Public Testimony and Access.

The advisory committee, established under Texas Human Resources Code §122.0057, is subject to the requirements of the Open Meetings Law, Texas Government Code, Chapter 551, the Public Information Act, Texas Government Code, Chapter 552, and Texas Government Code, Chapter 2001.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the adoption and found it to be a valid exercise of the agency's legal authority.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on May 23, 2017.

TRD-201702065

Patricia Gonzalez

Deputy Director, Workforce Development Division Programs

Texas Workforce Commission

Effective date: June 12, 2017

Proposal publication date: November 25, 2016

For further information, please call: (512) 475-0829


SUBCHAPTER C. CENTRAL NONPROFIT AGENCIES

40 TAC §806.31, §806.32

The new rules are adopted under Texas Labor Code §301.0015 and §302.002(d), which provide the Texas Workforce Commission with the authority to adopt, amend, or repeal such rules as it deems necessary for the effective administration of Agency services and activities.

The adopted rules affect Title 4, Texas Labor Code, particularly Chapters 301 and 302.

§806.31.Contracting with Central Nonprofit Agencies.

(a) The Agency may select and contract with one or more CNAs and shall contract through a request for proposals for a period not to exceed five years to perform, at a minimum, the duties set forth in Texas Human Resources Code §122.019(a) and (b).

(b) The management fee rate charged by a CNA for its services to a CRP and its method of calculation must be approved by the Commission. The maximum management fee rate must be reviewed on an annual basis.

(c) A percentage of the management fee described in subsection (b) of this section shall be paid to the Agency. The percentage shall be set by the Commission in the amount necessary to reimburse the general revenue fund for direct and reasonable costs incurred by the Comptroller and the Agency in administering the Comptroller's and the Agency's duties under this chapter, including any costs associated with providing support to the advisory committee.

(d) In accordance with Texas Human Resources Code §122.019(c), the Agency shall annually review services by and the performance of a CNA and the revenue required to accomplish the program. The purpose of the review shall be to determine whether a CNA has complied with statutory requirements, contract requirements, and performance standards set forth in §806.32 of this title (relating to performance standards for a CNA).

(e) Following the review of a CNA as required by Texas Human Resources Code §122.019(d), the Agency may approve the performance of the CNA and the continuation of the contract through its termination date.

(f) For the effective administration of this chapter, the CNA will provide to the Agency, no later than 60 days after the end of each federal fiscal quarter, the following information regarding CRPs that have contracted with the CNA:

(1) For CRPs:

(A) a collective executive summary of the CRPs annual state use program evaluations;

(B) the number of individuals with disabilities, according to their type of disability, who are employed in CRPs participating in the programs established by this chapter or who are employed by businesses or workshops that receive supportive employment from CRPs;

(C) the amount of annual wages paid to each employee participating in the program in a format determined by the Agency;

(D) a summary of the sale of products offered by the CRPs;

(E) a list of products and/or services offered by a CRP;

(F) the geographic distribution of CRPs;

(G) the number of individuals without disabilities who are employed in CRPs under this chapter; and

(H) the average and range of weekly earnings for individuals with disabilities and individuals without disabilities who are employed in CRPs under this chapter; and

(2) from each CRP data on individual outplacement or supported employment to include:

(A) the number of individuals in outplacement employment;

(B) the hourly wage range;

(C) the range of hours worked; and

(D) the number of individuals with disabilities employed, listed by primary type of disability.

(g) In order to conduct the reviews required by Texas Human Resource Code §122.019(c) and §122.019(d), a CNA will provide or make available to the Agency:

(1) quarterly reports for each calendar quarter listing CRPs that do not meet criteria for participation in the state use program and the reasons that each CRP listed does not meet the criteria;

(2) at least once a year by October 31, and prior to any review and/or renegotiation of the contract:

(A) an updated marketing plan;

(B) a proposed annual budget with estimated sales, commissions, and expenses;

(C) a program budget with details on how the expected revenue and expenses will be allocated to directly support and expand the state use program and other programs that expand direct services and/or the enhancement of employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities; and

(D) an audited annual financial statement that shall include information on FDIC coverage of all cash balances, earnings attributed to the management fee for the state use program, accounts receivable, cash reserves, line of credit borrowings, interest payments, bad debt, administrative overhead and any detailed supporting documentation requested by the Agency;

(3) quarterly reports of categories of expenditures in reporting format approved by the Agency;

(4) records in accordance with Texas Human Resources Code §122.009(a) and §122.0019(d) for audit purposes, consistent with Texas Government Code, Chapter 552, the "Public Information Act"; and

(5) any other information the Agency requests as set forth in this chapter.

(h) The Agency will post the public information provided under subsections (f) and (g) of this section within 20 days of receipt.

(i) Duties of a CNA include, but are not limited to, those listed in Texas Human Resources Code §122.019(a).

(j) The services of a CNA may include marketing and marketing support services, such as those identified in §122.019(b). Other duties as designated by the Agency may include:

(1) establishing a payment system with a goal to pay CRPs within fourteen (14) to twenty-one (21) calendar days, but not more than thirty (30) days of completion of work and proper invoicing;

(2) resolving contract issues and/or problems as they arise between the CRPs and customers of the program, referring those that cannot be resolved to the Agency;

(3) maintaining a system that tracks and monitors product and service sales; and

(4) tracking and reporting quality and delivery times of products and services.

(k) Each year by October 31, a CNA will establish performance goals for the next fiscal year in support of objectives set by the Commission.

(l) The Agency may terminate a contract with a CNA if the Agency:

(1) finds substantial evidence of the CNA's noncompliance with contractual obligations or of conflict of interest as defined by federal and state laws; and

(2) has provided at least 30 days written notice to that CNA of the termination of the contract.

(m) The Agency may request an audit by the state auditor of:

(1) the management fee set for any CNA; or

(2) the financial condition of any CNA.

(n) The Commission must annually review the management fees the CRPs are charged by the CNAs. The annual review process includes:

(1) sending notice to affected parties, including CRPs;

(2) soliciting and considering public comment; and

(3) reviewing documentation provided by a CNA, CRP, or the public in support or opposition of a proposed management fee rate change.

(o) An individual may not operate a CRP and at the same time contract with the Agency as a CNA.

§806.32.Performance Standards and Goals for a Central Nonprofit Agency.

(a) A CNA shall meet performance standards in carrying out the terms and conditions of the contract.

(b) Operating pursuant to statute and rules, a CNA must manage and coordinate the day-to-day operation of the state use program including, but not limited to, the following activities:

(1) Increase employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities, including employment paying minimum wage or higher, by promoting the development of person-centered planning, which documents employment goals, employment counseling, and placement services provided by CRPs;

(2) Increase employment opportunities, including those paying minimum wage or higher, for individuals with disabilities by researching new products, services, and markets; improving existing products and services; and reporting to the Agency on a quarterly basis the status of these activities;

(3) Work with CRPs to develop employment opportunities;

(4) Provide superior customer relations by monitoring customer satisfaction with products and services, responding to customer complaints within one business day or less, and reporting to the Agency on a quarterly basis the level of consumer satisfaction for each CRP, based on complaints as to products or services provided, with a goal of incurring no more than five complaints per year that have not been resolved to customer satisfaction;

(5) Provide quarterly regional information workshops to promote the state use program throughout the year and across the state;

(6) Provide training programs to CRPs on the requirements to participate in the state use program, governmental contracting, and procurement procedures and laws;

(7) Resolve contract issues and/or problems as they arise between the CRPs, the CNA, and/or customers, referring those that cannot be resolved to the Agency and submitting quarterly status reports on issues and referrals;

(8) Provide an annual report that includes the CNA's audited financial statements, an updated strategic plan, and an updated projected schedule of expenses that details how the management fee is being allocated to directly support the state use program and what amount of funds are being devoted to expanding direct services to programs that enhance the lives of individuals with disabilities and what percentage of funds will be used for administrative overhead, such as salaries;

(9) Demonstrate compliance with state and federal tax laws and payroll laws by submitting quarterly reports of sales and taxes paid to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS);

(10) Maintain a system in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles that will record information related to purchase orders, invoices, and payments to each CRP to facilitate the preparation and submission of the annual report;

(11) Create a database of state agency and political subdivision purchases to promote sales of state use program products and services;

(12) Conduct business ethically and submit detailed reports on a quarterly basis of any conflicts between the CRPs and the CNA;

(13) Create and maintain automated tracking and monitoring of product/service sales and submit quarterly reports to the Agency regarding delivery turnaround times and contract performance for each CRP;

(14) Respond to inquiries about individual sales and/or total sales within five business days or sooner and submit quarterly reports regarding the number of inquiries and average response time in conjunction with the report described in paragraph (12) of this subsection;

(15) Maintain knowledge of governmental contracting and procurement processes and laws;

(16) Provide general administration of the state use program with performance criteria and timely submission of reports required by these rules;

(17) Monitor CRP compliance and promptly report violations to the Agency, offering assistance as needed to achieve compliance; and

(18) Maintain and dispose of records in accordance with the laws and directives set forth by the Agency and submit any or all records requested within three weeks of the request. Disclosure to the public of any and all CNA records shall be subject to the Public Information Act.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the adoption and found it to be a valid exercise of the agency's legal authority.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on May 23, 2017.

TRD-201702066

Patricia Gonzalez

Deputy Director, Workforce Development Division Programs

Texas Workforce Commission

Effective date: June 12, 2017

Proposal publication date: November 25, 2016

For further information, please call: (512) 475-0829


SUBCHAPTER D. COMMUNITY REHABILITATION PROGRAMS

40 TAC §806.41

The new rule is adopted under Texas Labor Code §301.0015 and §302.002(d), which provide the Texas Workforce Commission with the authority to adopt, amend, or repeal such rules as it deems necessary for the effective administration of Agency services and activities.

The adopted rules affect Title 4, Texas Labor Code, particularly Chapters 301 and 302.

§806.41.Certification and Recertification of Community Rehabilitation Programs.

(a) No applicant for certification may participate in the state use program prior to the approval of certification.

(b) The Commission may recognize programs that are accredited by nationally accepted vocational rehabilitation accrediting organizations and approve CRPs that have been approved by a state's habilitation or rehabilitation agency.

(c) The Commission may delegate the administration of the certification process for CRPs to a CNA.

(d) An applicant for CRP certification must be a government or nonprofit private program operated under criteria established by the Commission and under which individuals with severe disabilities produce products or perform services for compensation.

(e) A certified CRP must:

(1) maintain payroll, human resource functions, accounting, and all relevant documentation showing that the employees who produce products or perform services under the state use program are individuals with disabilities;

(2) ensure that documentation includes approved disability determination forms that are signed by the individual and document the relevant disability, in addition to determining program eligibility, and that shall be subject to review at the request of the Agency or the CNA under authority from the Commission, with adherence to privacy and confidentiality standards applicable to such CRP and employee records; and

(3) maintain and dispose of records or documents required by the Agency, including contracts with other entities, in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, and all laws relevant to the records.

(f) An applicant for certification must submit a completed application and the required documents to the Agency through the CNA for the state use program. Upon receipt, the CNA will verify the completeness and accuracy of the application. No application will be considered without the following documents:

(1) Copy of the IRS nonprofit determination under §501(c), when required by law;

(2) Copy of the Articles of Incorporation issued by the Secretary of State, when required by law;

(3) List of the board of directors and officers with names, addresses, and telephone numbers;

(4) Copy of the organizational chart with job titles and names;

(5) Proof of current insurance coverage in the form of a certificate of insurance specifying each and all coverages for the CRP's liability insurance, auto insurance for vehicles owned or leased by the CRP for state use contract purposes, and workers' compensation insurance coverage or legally recognized equivalent coverage, if applicable. Such insurance shall be carried with an insurance company authorized to do business in the State of Texas, and written notice of cancellation or any material change in insurance coverage will be provided to the CNA 10 business days in advance of cancellation or change;

(6) Fire inspection certificate issued within one year of the formal consideration of the CRP application, if required by city, county, or state regulations, for each location where customers will be served or where individuals with disabilities will be employed, or a statement of unavailability from the appropriate city, county, or state entity;

(7) Copy of the building inspection certificate or certificate of occupancy, if required by city, county, or state regulations, for each location where customers will be served or where individuals with disabilities will be employed, or a statement of unavailability from the appropriate city, county, or state entity;

(8) Copy of the wage exemption certificate (WH-228) if below minimum wages will be paid to customers or to individuals with disabilities who will be employed, and a statement of explanation of circumstances requiring subminimum wages;

(9) Notarized statement that the CRP agrees to maintain compliance with the requirement that at least 75 percent of the CRP's total hours of direct labor, for each contract, necessary to perform services or reform raw materials, assemble components, manufacture, prepare, process and/or package products will be performed by individuals with documented disabilities consistent with the definition set forth in this chapter. If a CRP intends to seek a waiver from the 75 percent requirement of the CRP's total hours of direct labor for a contract, the waiver request must be submitted with the application for approval; and

(10) An applicant for certification must attest that it either has already developed or will develop, within 90 days of certification, a person-centered plan for each individual with a disability it employs that clearly documents attainable employment goals and describes how the CRP will:

(A) help the individual reach their employment goals; and

(B) match the individual's skills and desires with the task(s) being performed for the CRP.

(g) The Agency shall review each complete application and all required documentation and, if acceptable, forward its recommendations to the Commission for approval. Once approved, the Agency will notify the CRP in writing and assign the CRP a certification number.

(h) A CRP may protest a recommendation of non-approval pursuant to the Agency's appeal process in §806.61.

(i) To continue in the program, each CRP must be recertified by the Commission every three years. The recertification process requires submission of all previously requested documentation, a review of reports submitted to the CNA, and a determination that the CRP has maintained compliance with the stated requirements of the state use program. The Commission shall establish a schedule for the recertification process and the CNA shall assist each CRP as necessary to attain recertification. The CRP, after notification, shall submit within 30 days the application for recertification and required documents to the CNA. If the CRP fails to do so, the Agency may request a written explanation and/or the appearance of a representative of the CRP before the Agency. If the CRP fails to respond in a timely manner, the Agency may consider the suspension of all state use program contracts until the recertification process has been completed and approval has been attained.

(j) The CRP shall submit quarterly wage and hour reports to the CNA. These reports are due no later than the last day of the month following the end of the quarter. If the CRP fails to submit reports on time, the Agency may request a representative of the CRP to appear before the Agency. The Agency may consider the suspension of the CRP's state use program contracts if compliance is not achieved in a consistent and timely manner.

(k) CRPs shall maintain compliance with the state use program regarding percentage requirements related to administrative costs, supply costs, wages, and hours of direct labor necessary to perform services and/or produce products. Compliance will be monitored by the CNA and/or the Agency, and violations will be reported promptly to the Agency. A violation will result in a warning letter from the CNA or Agency, which will then offer assistance as needed to achieve compliance. A CRP that fails to meet compliance requirements, without a waiver from the Agency, for two quarters in any four-quarter period, shall submit a written explanation and a representative of the CRP will be requested to appear before the Agency. State use program contracts may be suspended and/or certification revoked if compliance is not immediately and consistently maintained. To attain reinstatement, the CRP must apply for recertification following the procedures outlined in this chapter.

(l) The Agency may review or designate a CNA or third party to review any CRP participating in the state-use program to verify compliance with the requirements outlined in this chapter.

(m) A CRP must not serve, in whole or part, as an outlet or front for any entity whose purpose is not the employment of individuals with disabilities.

(n) A CRP shall report to the Agency any state agency that is not using the program to benefit individuals with disabilities.

(o) A CRP shall promptly report any conflict of interest or receipt of benefit or promise of benefit to the Agency. The Agency will consider such reports on an individual basis. Verified instances of conflict of interest by a CRP may result in suspension of the CRP's eligibility to participate in the state use program and/or revocation of certification.

(p) The Commission, the Agency, individual members, the State of Texas, or any other Texas state agency will not be responsible for any loss or losses, financial or otherwise, incurred by a CRP should its product or services not be approved for the state use program as provided by law.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the adoption and found it to be a valid exercise of the agency's legal authority.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on May 23, 2017.

TRD-201702067

Patricia Gonzalez

Deputy Director, Workforce Development Division Programs

Texas Workforce Commission

Effective date: June 12, 2017

Proposal publication date: November 25, 2016

For further information, please call: (512) 475-0829


SUBCHAPTER E. PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

40 TAC §806.51, §806.52

The new rules are adopted under Texas Labor Code §301.0015 and §302.002(d), which provide the Texas Workforce Commission with the authority to adopt, amend, or repeal such rules as it deems necessary for the effective administration of Agency services and activities.

The adopted rules affect Title 4, Texas Labor Code, particularly Chapters 301 and 302.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the adoption and found it to be a valid exercise of the agency's legal authority.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on May 23, 2017.

TRD-201702068

Patricia Gonzalez

Deputy Director, Workforce Development Division Programs

Texas Workforce Commission

Effective date: June 12, 2017

Proposal publication date: November 25, 2016

For further information, please call: (512) 475-0829


40 TAC §806.53

The new rule is adopted under Texas Labor Code §301.0015 and §302.002(d), which provide the Texas Workforce Commission with the authority to adopt, amend, or repeal such rules as it deems necessary for the effective administration of Agency services and activities.

The adopted rule affects Title 4, Texas Labor Code, particularly Chapters 301 and 302.

§806.53.Recognition and Approval of Community Rehabilitation Program Products and Services.

(a) A CRP desiring to provide services under the state use program must comply with the following requirements to obtain approval from the Commission:

(1) A minimum of 35 percent of the contract price of the service must be paid to the individuals with disabilities who perform the service in the form of wages and benefits;

(2) Supply costs for the service must not exceed 20 percent of the contract price of the service;

(3) Administrative costs allocated to the service must not exceed 10 percent of the contract price for the service. At least 75 percent of the hours of direct labor for each contract, necessary to perform a service, must be performed by individuals with disabilities;

(4) The Agency may establish a different percentage if the Agency determines that a percentage greater than the 75 percent for the offered service is reasonable based on consideration of factors, including, but not limited to:

(A) past practices in a particular area;

(B) whether other CRPs providing the same or similar services have achieved the 75 percent requirement; and

(C) whether the Commission has established a policy goal to encourage employment of individuals with disabilities in a particular field;

(5) Any necessary subcontracted services shall be performed to the maximum extent possible by other CRPs and in a manner that maximizes the employment of individuals with disabilities; and

(6) A detailed report will be submitted to the Agency providing breakdown of 100 percent of contract dollars for services.

(b) A CRP must comply with the following requirements to obtain approval from the Commission for state use products:

(1) At least 75 percent of the hours of direct labor, for each contract, necessary to reform raw materials, assemble components, manufacture, prepare, process and/or package a product, must be performed by individuals with disabilities;

(2) Appreciable contribution and value added to the product by individuals with disabilities must be determined to be substantial on a product-by-product basis, based on requested documentation provided to the Agency upon application for a product to be approved for the state use program; and

(3) The Agency may establish a different percentage if the Agency determines that a percentage greater than the 75 percent for the offered product is reasonable based on consideration of factors, including, but not limited to:

(A) past practices in a particular area;

(B) whether other CRPs providing the same or similar products have achieved the 75 percent requirement;

(C) whether the Commission has established a policy goal to promote workplace integration for individuals with disabilities;

(D) whether the Commission has established a policy goal to encourage employment of individuals with disabilities in a particular field.; and

(4) A detailed report will be submitted to the Agency providing breakdown of 100 percent of contract dollars for products.

(c) The rules governing the approval of products to be offered by a CRP apply to all items that a CRP proposes to offer to state agencies or political subdivisions, regardless of the method of acquisition by the agency, whether by sale or lease. A CRP must own any product it leases. A proposal by a CRP to rent or lease a product to a state agency is a proposal to offer a product, not a service, and the item offered must meet the requirements of these rules. If the product is offered for lease by the CRP, the unit cost of the product, for purposes of applying the standards set forth in these rules, is the total cost to the state agency of leasing the product over its expected useful life.

(d) Raw materials or components may be obtained from companies operated for profit, but a CRP must own any product that it offers for sale to state agencies or political subdivisions through the state use program and make an appreciable contribution to the product that accounts for a substantial amount of the value added to the product.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the adoption and found it to be a valid exercise of the agency's legal authority.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on May 23, 2017.

TRD-201702069

Patricia Gonzalez

Deputy Director, Workforce Development Division Programs

Texas Workforce Commission

Effective date: June 12, 2017

Proposal publication date: November 25, 2016

For further information, please call: (512) 475-0829


SUBCHAPTER F. COMPLAINTS, VENDOR PROTESTS, RESOLUTIONS

40 TAC §806.61, §806.62

The new rules are adopted under Texas Labor Code §301.0015 and §302.002(d), which provide the Texas Workforce Commission with the authority to adopt, amend, or repeal such rules as it deems necessary for the effective administration of Agency services and activities.

The adopted rules affect Title 4, Texas Labor Code, particularly Chapters 301 and 302.

§806.61.Consumer Information; Complaints and Resolution.

(a) Complaints regarding matters pertaining to this chapter shall be made in writing and addressed to the Agency Deputy Executive Director for review and determination. The written complaint must include the name and address of the person who filed the complaint and the subject matter of the complaint.

(b) The Agency shall maintain an information file regarding each complaint.

(c) If a written complaint is filed with the Agency, the Agency, at least as frequently as quarterly and until final disposition of the complaint, shall notify the parties to the complaint of the status of the complaint unless the notice would jeopardize an undercover investigation.

(d) The Agency shall provide to the individual filing the complaint, and to each individual who is a subject of the complaint, a copy of the Agency's policies and procedures relating to complaint investigation and resolution.

(e) Any product or service may be removed or temporarily suspended from the state use program after review and/or investigation of a filed complaint, if the Agency determines that a CRP is:

(1) providing products that fail to meet specifications;

(2) failing to make a delivery as promised;

(3) making unauthorized substitutions;

(4) misrepresenting merchandise;

(5) failing to make satisfactory adjustments when required; or

(6) taking unethical actions; or

(7) non-complying with other Agency rules or contract.

(f) A product or service that has been temporarily suspended may be reinstated by promptly correcting the reason(s) for suspension. A failure to make the necessary correction promptly may result in the termination of the CRP's contract with the CNA.

(g) Complaints shall be resolved by the Agency Deputy Executive Director.

§806.62.Vendor Protests.

(a) A protest shall be made in writing and received by the Agency within 10 working days after the protesting party knows, or should have known, of the occurrence of the action that is protested.

(b) A protest must include:

(1) a precise statement of the relevant facts;

(2) a statement of any issues (of law or fact) that the protesting party contends must be resolved; and

(3) a statement of the argument and authorities that the protesting party offers in support of the protest.

(c) A statement that copies of the protest have been mailed or delivered to the using entity and all other identifiable interested parties must be included. The program manager may settle and resolve the dispute over the solicitation or award of a contract at any time before the matter is submitted on appeal to the deputy executive director.

(d) If the protest is not resolved by mutual agreement, the division director shall issue a written determination that resolves the protest.

(e) The director's determination shall be the Agency's final administrative action.

(f) The Agency shall maintain all documentation on the purchasing process that is the subject of a protest or appeal in accordance with its approved records retention schedule.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the adoption and found it to be a valid exercise of the agency's legal authority.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on May 23, 2017.

TRD-201702070

Patricia Gonzalez

Deputy Director, Workforce Development Division Programs

Texas Workforce Commission

Effective date: June 12, 2017

Proposal publication date: November 25, 2016

For further information, please call: (512) 475-0829


SUBCHAPTER G. DISCLOSURE OF RECORDS

40 TAC §806.71

The new rule is adopted under Texas Labor Code §301.0015 and §302.002(d), which provide the Texas Workforce Commission with the authority to adopt, amend, or repeal such rules as it deems necessary for the effective administration of Agency services and activities.

The adopted rules affect Title 4, Texas Labor Code, particularly Chapters 301 and 302.

§806.71.Records.

(a) The Agency shall access financial or other information and records from a CNA or a CRP if the Agency determines the information and records are necessary for the effective administration of this chapter and rules adopted under this chapter.

(b) Information and records must be obtained under subsection (a) of this section in recognition of the privacy interest of individuals employed by CNAs or CRPs. The information and records may not be released or made public on subpoena or otherwise, except that release may be made:

(1) for statistical purposes, but only if a person is not identified;

(2) with the consent of each person identified in the information released; or

(3) regarding a compensation package of any CNA employee or subcontractor if determined by the Commission to be relevant to the administration of this chapter.

(c) No records belonging to a CNA or a CRP may be accessed or released except as authorized under the Texas Public Information Act.

(d) The Agency or a CNA shall inspect a CRP for compliance with certification criteria established under Texas Human Resources Code §122.013(c).

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the adoption and found it to be a valid exercise of the agency's legal authority.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on May 23, 2017.

TRD-201702071

Patricia Gonzalez

Deputy Director, Workforce Development Division Programs

Texas Workforce Commission

Effective date: June 12, 2017

Proposal publication date: November 25, 2016

For further information, please call: (512) 475-0829


SUBCHAPTER H. REPORTS; PLANS

40 TAC §806.81

The new rule is adopted under Texas Labor Code §301.0015 and §302.002(d), which provide the Texas Workforce Commission with the authority to adopt, amend, or repeal such rules as it deems necessary for the effective administration of Agency services and activities.

The adopted rule affects Title 4, Texas Labor Code, particularly Chapters 301 and 302.

§806.81.Annual Financial Report.

(a) On or before November 1 of each year, the Agency shall prepare an annual financial report in the form prescribed by Texas Government Code §2101.011, relating to the Commission's activities, and Texas Human Resources Code §122.022 relating to reports, and file the report with the governor and the presiding officer of each house of the legislature.

(b) As part of the report filed under subsection (a) of this section, the Agency shall provide:

(1) the number of individuals with disabilities, by type of disability, who are employed in CRPs participating in the programs established by this chapter or who are employed by businesses or workshops that receive supportive employment from CRPs;

(2) the amount of annual wages paid to a person participating in the program;

(3) a summary of the sale of products offered by a CRP;

(4) a list of products and services offered by a CRP;

(5) the geographic distribution of the CRPs;

(6) the number of individuals without disabilities who are employed in CRPs under this chapter; and

(7) the average and the range of weekly wages for individuals with disabilities and individuals without disabilities who are employed in CRPs under this chapter.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the adoption and found it to be a valid exercise of the agency's legal authority.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on May 23, 2017.

TRD-201702072

Patricia Gonzalez

Deputy Director, Workforce Development Division Programs

Texas Workforce Commission

Effective date: June 12, 2017

Proposal publication date: November 25, 2016

For further information, please call: (512) 475-0829


40 TAC §806.82

The new rule is adopted under Texas Labor Code §301.0015 and §302.002(d), which provide the Texas Workforce Commission with the authority to adopt, amend, or repeal such rules as it deems necessary for the effective administration of Agency services and activities.

The adopted rule affects Title 4, Texas Labor Code, particularly Chapters 301 and 302.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the adoption and found it to be a valid exercise of the agency's legal authority.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on May 23, 2017.

TRD-201702073

Patricia Gonzalez

Deputy Director, Workforce Development Division Programs

Texas Workforce Commission

Effective date: June 12, 2017

Proposal publication date: November 25, 2016

For further information, please call: (512) 475-0829


SUBCHAPTER I. POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS

40 TAC §806.91, §806.92

The new rules are adopted under Texas Labor Code §301.0015 and §302.002(d), which provide the Texas Workforce Commission with the authority to adopt, amend, or repeal such rules as it deems necessary for the effective administration of Agency services and activities.

The adopted rules affect Title 4, Texas Labor Code, particularly Chapters 301 and 302.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the adoption and found it to be a valid exercise of the agency's legal authority.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on May 23, 2017.

TRD-201702074

Patricia Gonzalez

Deputy Director, Workforce Development Division Programs

Texas Workforce Commission

Effective date: June 12, 2017

Proposal publication date: November 25, 2016

For further information, please call: (512) 475-0829