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The bill would amend Chapter 656, Government Code, regarding training and education for state agency administrators and employees, including those in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of state government. State agencies are already allowed to use public funds to reimburse administrators' and employees' tuition expenses for programs or courses offered by an institution of higher education.
The current law stipulates, without much further clarification, that "A state agency may use public funds to provide training and education for its administrators and employees. The training or education must be related to the duties or prospective duties of the administrator or employee."
This would make a couple substantive changes to that statute.
HB 3337 would require that approval for tuition reimbursement be approved by an executive level employee, rather than a staff level employee as is currently allowed.
The bill would require that reimbursement be contingent on successful course completion.
Finally, the bill would require agencies to create and post policies regarding tuition reimbursement so that the criteria, requirements, and obligations are clearly defined and evenly applied for all agency employees rather than on a case by case basis.
While the merits of providing taxpayer funded higher education tuition to state employees is debatable, that is already allowed under current law. This legislation clarifies and tightens the law in substantive ways as noted above. For this reason we support HB 3337 on the grounds of limited government.
This bill could be further strengthened with an amendment to cap the total amount of taxpayer funded tuition reimbursement a state agency employee may receive so that it is not simply open ended.