TITLE 22. EXAMINING BOARDS

PART 39. TEXAS BOARD OF PROFESSIONAL GEOSCIENTISTS

CHAPTER 851. TEXAS BOARD OF PROFESSIONAL GEOSCIENTISTS LICENSING AND ENFORCEMENT RULES

SUBCHAPTER B. P.G. LICENSING, FIRM REGISTRATION, AND GIT CERTIFICATION

22 TAC §§851.81 - 851.83

The Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists (TBPG) adopts new emergency rules concerning the licensure and regulation of Professional Geoscientists in Texas. TBPG adopts 22 TAC §851.81, Certain Fees Temporarily Suspended, 22 TAC §851.82, concerning Certain Expiration Dates Extended, and 22 TAC §851.83, concerning Certain Licensees Temporarily Exempt from Continuing Education Requirements, on an emergency basis, for those licensees residing in Governor-designated disaster affected counties.

A Proclamation by the Governor of the State of Texas dated September 20, 2017, declared a state of emergency for certain counties in Texas due to Hurricane Harvey. As a result of this proclamation, TBPG has determined that the conditions outlined in §2001.034 of the Texas Government Code concerning Emergency Rulemaking have been satisfied to adopt these new rules on an emergency basis.

There is an urgent necessity to adopt these rules with less than 30-days' notice to allow licensees to continue practicing geoscience without interruption during the weeks and months immediately following the hurricane. Allowing licensees to continue to practice geoscience without interruption will allow them to assist in recovery, environmental damage assessment, post flood foundation stability assessment, environmental remediation and subsurface assessments related to structural rebuilding efforts in affected counties, thereby helping to preserve the public health, safety, and welfare in those areas, which are in imminent peril as a result of structures that have been damaged and otherwise become structurally unsound.

New rule, §851.81, entitled Certain Fees Temporarily Suspended, outlines the process and conditions the board will use to provide replacement license certificate and expiration cards at no cost to licensees residing in Governor-designated disaster affected counties, whose license certificate and/or license expiration cards were lost or damaged due to the disaster related to Hurricane Harvey. The suspension of the fee benefits the State as it allows licensees to obtain a current copy of their certificates without the undue burden that a replacement fee may pose during the time that licensees affected by Hurricane Harvey are attempting to recover and rebuild their practices. Thus the suspension of the fee facilitates compliance with statutes and will reduce costs to the agency associated with the unnecessary complaints TBPG would need to process.

New rule, §851.82, entitled Certain Expiration Dates Extended, outlines the process and conditions the board will use to extend the expiration dates of those Professional Geoscientists licenses, Geoscience Firm registrations, and Geoscientist-in-Training certifications for those license-holders residing in Governor-designated disaster affected counties, to ensure licensed individuals and firms are available to assist in recovery and rebuilding of areas affected by Hurricane Harvey, and to avoid the expiration of licenses that most likely would have been timely renewed, but for the difficulties the hurricane caused.

New rule, §851.83, entitled Certain Licensees Temporarily Exempt From Continuing Education Requirements, outlines the process and conditions the board will use to provide temporary exemption from the continuing education requirements for those licensees residing in Governor-designated disaster affected counties, thereby allowing those licensees to renew their license in a timely manner as long as the license, registration, or certification is renewed on or before August 31, 2018.

These new rules are adopted under the Texas Geoscience Practice Act, Occupations Code §1002.151, and Occupations Code §1002.154, which provides that the Board shall enforce the Act which authorizes the Board to adopt and enforce all rules and regulations consistent with the Act as necessary for the performance of its duties, and the regulation of the practice of geoscience in this state.

§851.81.Certain Fees Temporarily Suspended.

The following applies between October 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017.

(1) TBPG staff are authorized to provide, upon request and at no cost to the licensee, a replacement Professional Geoscientist license certificate, Geoscientist-in-Training certification certificate, or a Geoscience Firm registration certificate to any licensee whose certificate was damaged or lost in or as a result of Hurricane Harvey.

(2) TBPG staff are authorized to provide, upon request and at no cost to the licensee, a replacement Professional Geoscientist license certificate expiration card, Geoscientist-in-Training certification certificate expiration card, or a Geoscience Firm registration expiration card to any licensee whose certificate expiration card was damaged or lost in or as a result of Hurricane Harvey.

(3) TBPG staff are authorized to provide, upon request and at no cost to the licensee, a replacement Professional Geoscientist wallet license expiration card or a Geoscientist-in-Training certification wallet expiration card to any licensee whose wallet expiration card was damaged or lost in or as a result of Hurricane Harvey.

§851.82.Certain Expiration Dates Extended.

(a) Each Professional Geoscientist license, Geoscientist-in-Training certification, and Geoscience Firm registration in a Governor-designated disaster county that was scheduled to expire between August 31, 2017 and November 30, 2017 shall expire on December 31, 2017.

(b) A list of the Professional Geoscientist licenses, Geoscientist-in-Training certifications, and Geoscience Firm registrations whose expiration dates are extended by this section shall be made available on the TBPG website in a searchable format.

(c) Upon the renewal of each Professional Geoscientist license, Geoscientist-in-Training certification, and Geoscience Firm registration described by subsection (a) of this section, the renewal fee shall be the annual renewal fee for the license, certification, or registration listed in §851.80 of this chapter.

(d) Late renewal fee. Licenses described in subsection (a) of this section that expire December 31, 2017 and that are renewed on or after March 1, 2018, will be subject to the 60-day late renewal fee.

§851.83.Certain Licensees Temporarily Exempt from Continuing Education Requirements.

(a) Continuing Education: A Professional Geoscientist or a Geoscientist-in-Training who resides in a Governor-designated disaster affected county is temporarily exempt from the continuing education requirement as long as the license or certification is renewed on or before August 31, 2018.

(b) A list of the Professional Geoscientists and Geoscientists-in-Training who are temporarily exempt from the continuing education requirements under this section shall be made available on the TBPG website in a searchable format for a period of time that the Executive Director determines is necessary.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the emergency adoption and found it to be within the state agency's legal authority to adopt.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on September 28, 2017.

TRD-201703920

Charles Horton

Executive Director

Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists

Effective date: September 28, 2017

Expiration date: January 25, 2018

For further information, please call: (512) 936-4405