Following major revelations that many of the state’s agencies were abusing “emergency leave” to offer illegal severance packages to outgoing state employees, many lawmakers have called for significant reform on the issue.
Chief among them was State Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound), the chair of the Senate Finance Committee and the highest-ranking Republican in the Texas Senate.
At an interim hearing, Nelson and other members of the committee meticulously investigated the issue and harshly criticized agency administrators for effectively circumventing state law.
At the end of the hearing, Nelson and other lawmakers vowed to “tighten it up” next session. On the first day of bill filing she displayed her commitment to ending the practice by filing SB 73, which limits the discretion of an agency head to only grant emergency leave to employees they believe will return after that leave period.
“This bill will prevent abuses of emergency leave policies at our state agencies,” said Nelson in a press release. “We must ensure that emergency leave is reserved for actual emergencies and that taxpayer dollars are being used responsibly.”
Nelson, a strong government reformer, has also filed legislation to provide franchise tax relief, require minors to obtain parental consent before joining a union, and streamline access to public information. Additionally, she is expected to take the leading role in crafting the state’s budget.