Sunset Review of TBPG

SUNSET STAFF RECOMMENDATION

Sunset Commission STAFF REPORT Recommends Discontinuing
the Regulation of Professional Geoscientists

Over the past year I have been reporting to you on the fact that TBPG was scheduled for review by the Texas Sunset Commission, in accordance with the Sunset provision in the Texas Geoscience Practice Act.  The Sunset Provision (TOC §1002.003) in the Texas Geoscience Practice Act states, “The Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists is subject to Chapter 325, Government Code (Texas Sunset Act). Unless continued in existence as provided by that chapter, the board is abolished and this chapter expires September 1, 2019.”

The full Sunset Staff Report on the Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists is available on the Sunset Commission website at the following link:  https://www.sunset.texas.gov/reviews-and-reports/agencies/texas-board-professional-geoscientists-tbpg

The key recommendation (see recommendation 1.1) is to “Abolish the Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists and repeal the Texas Geoscience Practice Act.”  That recommendation is based on key “Findings” in the report.  The overall key finding statement of the Sunset Commission staff was that the regulation of Professional Geoscientists “did not provide meaningful public protection.” See Issue 1 of the report.

The full Sunset Staff Report on the Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists was published following certain events and actions in accordance with the process coordinated by the Sunset Commission, including TBPG’s preparation activities (which included a thorough review of the standards by which every agency is reviewed and the a set of standards by which occupational regulatory agencies are reviewed); TBPG’s submission of a Self-Evaluation Report (available on both the TBPG and Sunset Commission websites), and actual review activities which included interviews of TBPG staff, certain Board Members, and certain stakeholders.

Important Dates

  • August 16, 2018: TBPG submitted a formal response to the Sunset Staff Recommendation:  TBPG’s Formal Response
  • August 29-30, 2018Sunset Advisory Commission Public Hearing will be held where Sunset staff will present its report on TBPG.  The agency will present its response to the report.  The Sunset Commission will allow “limited” public comments.  The hearing for TBPG will be on August 30, 2018.
  • November 14-15, 2018: The Sunset Commission will present its decision on how it will respond to the staff recommendation regarding the discontinuation of the regulation of Professional Geoscientists.
    • If the Sunset Commission’s decision is to discontinue the agency, then a bill will be filed in the upcoming 86th Texas Legislative session, beginning in January 2019, to determine how, exactly, the agency would be dissolved or the Sunset Commission could simply let the Texas Geoscience Practice Act and the TBPG agency expire.
    • If the Sunset Commission’s decision is to continue the agency, then a bill will be filed in the upcoming 86th Texas Legislative session, beginning in January 2019, to extend the Sunset date in the Texas Geoscience Practice Act.

How can a Professional Geoscientist or any member of the public weigh in on this process?

  • Any licensee, professional organization, or member of the public may submit comments to the Sunset Commission by following the instructions on the Sunset Commission website. Here is a link to the page on the Sunset Commission website that relates to TBPG’s review:  https://www.sunset.texas.gov/reviews-and-reports/agencies/texas-board-professional-geoscientists-tbpg
  • Any licensee, professional organization, or member of the public may attend and make provide comments (orally or in writing) to the Sunset Commission at its Sunset Advisory Commission Public Hearing on August 29-30, 2018.

Sincerely,

Charles Horton
Executive Director, TBPG

Important Sunset Dates

August 29-30, 2018: Sunset Public Hearing
This Sunset Hearing is for public input on the Sunset Staff Recommendations.
Sunset will take public testimony specifically regarding TBPG and the regulation of
geoscience in Texas at this hearing on August 30, 2018.  This is the public’s opportunity
to weigh in on the staff recommendation.  Agenda for the hearing

November 14-15, 2018: Sunset Decision Hearing
The Sunset Decision Hearing will be held to determine,
based on public input and response received, what the Sunset Advisory Commission
will recommend regarding the future of the regulation of geoscience in Texas.

Additional Sunset Information

 

The Sunset Review of the Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists

The mission and performance of the Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists are under review by the Legislature as required under the Texas Sunset Act.  The Act provides that the Sunset Commission, composed of legislators and public members, periodically evaluate a state agency to determine if the agency is still needed and to explore ways to ensure that the agency’s funds are well spent.  Based on the recommendations of the Sunset Commission, the Texas Legislature ultimately decides whether an agency continues to operate into the future.

The Sunset review involves three steps.  First, Sunset Commission staff will evaluate the Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists and issue a report in August 2018 recommending solutions to problems found.  A month or so later, the Sunset Commission will meet to hear public testimony on the agency and the recommendations of the Sunset staff.  Based on public input and the Sunset staff report, the Sunset Commission will adopt recommendations for the full Legislature to consider when at the November 2018 decision hearing.  Please refer to the Sunset Commission website or call the office for updated information on specific dates for these meetings.

Through the Sunset review, every Texan has the opportunity to suggest ways in which the mission and operations of the Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists can be strengthened.  If you would like to share your ideas about the Board, please send an email to the address below, use the comment form on the Sunset Commission website, or contact Morgan Constantino of the Sunset staff.  Suggestions are preferred by May 15, 2018, so they can be fully considered by the Commission staff.

Sunset Advisory Commission
P.O. Box 13066
Austin, Texas  78711
512/463-1300
Fax: 512/463-0705
Email: sunset@sunset.texas.gov

Information about the Sunset process, Sunset Commission meetings, and how to receive Sunset Commission email updates is available at:  www.sunset.texas.gov

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