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