In August, the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission issued a Staff Recommendation to abolish the Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists (TBPG) and Texas geoscience licensure. In response to those recommendations geoscientists have formed the Texas Geoscience Council.
The purpose is to support the protection of health, safety and welfare of all Texans through public education about geoscientific work and advocacy for professional geoscientist licensure in the Lone Star State. The mission is to unite the geoscientific community so geoscientists can work together to accomplish three goals:
- Immediately protect geoscience licensure and the Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists through the 2018 Sunset review process.
- Immediately illustrate for the Texas Legislature the many important ways that geoscientists serve Texans and the critical role of geoscience licensure.
- Long term campaign to educate the Texas public about the various practices of geoscience, and how they impact public health, safety and welfare.
AGS sends a special thanks to John Berry, Rebecca Smith, Bill Mulican, Will Boettner, and others that helped with this effort.
Urgent Request: Please submit a personal letter, as well as ask your employer and your clients and all professional organizations to submit letters to the Sunset Commission telling them why it is important for the State of Texas to regulate Geoscience licensure, giving them examples from your real world experience – specifically cases where a P.G. helped protect the public health, safety, and welfare, saved a client and/or the public money that would have been wasted, and so forth. These letters can be from license holders, unlicensed individuals and firms, where in the letter provides the perspective of why having licensed geoscientists and an agency overseeing that licensing is important to you, the public, and/or your firm. It’s best if these letters are received by CoB this Wednesday, August 15th.
Email from Charles Horton, Executive Director of the TBPG:
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.
Please note the following activities that will occur:
- August 16, 2018: TBPG may submit a formal response to the report.
- August 29 or 30, 2018: Sunset staff will present its report on TBPG at a public hearing of the Sunset Commission. The agency will present its response to the report. The Sunset Commission will allow “limited” public comments. The reason the actual date is uncertain is that a number of agencies will be reported on and the order of the agency presentations has not yet been determined.
- November 14 or 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 weigh in on this process?
- Any licensee, professional organization, or member of the public may submit public 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 provide comments (orally and/or in writing) to the Sunset Commission at its Sunset Advisory Commission Public Hearing on August 29-30, 2018.
Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists