In episode 78, Coffey talks with Matt Abel & Tommy Simmons about the 88th Texas Legislature’s possible impact on employers in Texas.

They discuss the Texas Legislature’s calendar and the process of creating new laws; the Texas Association of Business’ role as the chief advocate for Texas businesses before the legislature; Tommy’s essential bill-tracking file and the role of the office of Aaron Demerson, the Texas Workforce Commissioner Representing Employers; the importance that employers be involved directly in advocating for a strong business environment in Texas; trends in proposed legislation including LGBT workplace rights, pay equity, prohibitions on inquiring into applicants’ previous salary, and preemption of local ordinances interfering in the employer-employee relationship; unemployment compensation chargeback appeals related to Covid; and TAB’s employment-related legislative priorities.

Resources mentioned during this podcast:

Texas Legislature Online (bill searches and status):

Identify who represents you in the Texas Legislature:

Texas Guidebook for Employers; Especially for Texas Employers:

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Tommy Simmons

Tommy Simmons

William T. (Tommy) Simmons serves as legal counsel for Commissioner Aaron S. Demerson, the employer representative on the Texas Workforce Commission, where he advises the Commissioner on final-level unemployment and wage claim appeals, assists business groups with employment-related legislation, and counsels employers on Texas and federal employment laws.

Mr. Simmons has served as legal advisor to the Commissioner representing employers since 1987 and has given over 2400 talks before employer groups.

He authored the TWC book Especially for Texas Employers, is the assistant editor of the Employment Law Handbook of the Texas Association of Business, and produces mobile and web apps for employers.

Recent awards from employer groups include the Texas Payroll Conference (Spirit of TPC – 2004, and Government Partner Award – 2008), the Texas Association of Business (Lifetime Friend of Employers Award – 2012), and in 2018, the National Foundation for Unemployment Compensation and Workers’ Compensation – UWC recognized Mr. Simmons with its J. Eldred Hill, Jr. Award for service to the employer community in the public policy arena.


Tommy Simmons can be reached at or (512) 463-2967.



Matt Abel

Matt Abel

Matt Abel is the Vice President for Policy at the Texas Association of Business (TAB), Texas’ state chamber of commerce. He serves as the primary staff member for health care and employment relations issues at TAB.

Prior to his current position, he was the Chief of Staff for Texas State Representative John Frullo.

He has extensive experience of the legislative and regulatory process.


Matt Abel can be reached at or (512) 656-4458.

The Texas Association of Business can be found at




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