Benefits for Military Service Members, Military Veterans, and Military Spouses
Recent amendments to Texas Occupations Code Chapter 55 require Texas State Agencies to adopt rules necessary to implement certain provisions regarding that Chapter. These laws provide certain benefits to military service members, military veterans, and military spouses who apply for an occupational license in the State of Texas.
TBPG has adopted new rule 22 TAC §851.26, in order to implement these provisions. The new rule is shown below, and was adopted by the TBPG at its February 5, 2016 Board meeting. The proposal was published in the November 27, 2015 issue of the Texas Register, and no comments were received. The adopted rule appears in the March 11, 2016, issue of the Texas Register, and becomes effective March 15, 2016.
§851.26 Licensing of Military Service Members, Military Veterans, and Military Spouses
- This section sets out licensing procedures for military service members, military veterans, and military spouses required under Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 55 (relating to Licensing of Military Service Members, Military Veterans, and Military Spouses). For purposes of this section:
- “Active Duty” means current full-time military service in the armed forces of the United States or active duty military service as a member of the Texas military forces, as defined by §437.001, Government Code, or similar military service of another state.
- “Armed Forces of the United States” means the army, navy, air force, coast guard, or marine corps of the United States or a reserve unit of one of those branches of the armed forces.
- “Military service member” means a person who is on active duty.
- “Military spouse” means a person who is married to a military service member.
- “Military veteran” means a person who has served on active duty and who was discharged or released from active duty.
- An applicant shall provide documentation of the applicant’s status as a military service member, military veteran, or military spouse. Acceptable documentation includes, but is not limited to, copies of official documents such as military service orders, marriage licenses, and military discharge records. The application of a person who fails to provide documentation of his or her status shall not be processed under the provisions of this section.
- Upon request, an applicant shall provide acceptable proof of current licensure issued by another jurisdiction. Upon request, the applicant shall provide proof that the licensing requirements of that jurisdiction are substantially equivalent to the licensing requirements of this state.
- An individual who holds a P.G. license or a GIT Certification issued by TBPG is exempt from any increased fee or other penalty imposed for failing to renew the license in a timely manner if the individual establishes to the satisfaction of TBPG that the individual failed to renew the license in a timely manner because the individual was serving as a military service member.
- A Military Service Member who holds a P.G. license or a GIT certification is entitled to two years of additional time to complete any continuing education requirement and any other requirement related to the renewal of the military service member’s P.G. license or GIT certification.
- The TBPG may issue a license to an applicant who is a military service member, military veteran, or a military spouse and who:
- Holds a current license issued by another jurisdiction that has licensing requirements that are substantially equivalent to the requirements for a P.G. license or a GIT certification in Texas; or
- Within the five years preceding the application date held the P.G. license or GIT certification in Texas.
- The executive director may waive any prerequisite to obtaining a license for an applicant described by subsection (f) after reviewing the applicant’s credentials.
- An applicant who is a military service member, military veteran, or a military spouse and who does not meet criteria in subsection (f) may provide an alternate demonstration of competency to meet the requirements for obtaining a P.G. license or a GIT certification.
- TBPG may accept as an alternate method of demonstrating competence certain service, experience, training, or education obtained in the military that is verified and that is relevant to the practice of professional geoscience.
- As soon as practicable after a military service member, military veteran or military spouse files an application for a license, Board staff shall:
- Process the application; and
- Issue a license to an applicant who qualifies for the license under this section. A license issued under this subsection may not be a provisional license and must confer the same rights, privileges, and responsibilities as a license not issued under this section.
- This section may not apply to an applicant who:
- Holds a restricted license issued by another jurisdiction;
- Has held a license that was subject to disciplinary action in another jurisdiction; or
- Has an unacceptable criminal history under the Texas Geoscience Practice Act, rules of the Board, or under Texas Occupations Code Chapter 53, related to Consequences of Criminal Conviction.
- Upon the issuance of a license under subsection (g) of this section, Board staff shall notify the new licensee of the requirements for the license holder to renew the license. A license issued under subsection (g) shall be valid for a term of 12 months from the end of the month the license is issued.
- TBPG shall waive the license application and examination fees paid to the state for an applicant who is:
- A military service member or military veteran whose military service, training, or education substantially meets all of the requirements for the license; or
- A military service member, military veteran, or military spouse who holds a current license issued by another jurisdiction that has licensing requirements that are substantially equivalent to the requirements for the license in this state.
- This section applies to an application for license filed with the TBPG on or after January 1, 2016, except for subsection (m), which applies to an application filed on or after September 1, 2015.