TITLE 16. ECONOMIC REGULATION

PART 4. TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF LICENSING AND REGULATION

CHAPTER 75. AIR CONDITIONING AND REFRIGERATION

16 TAC §75.110

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (Department) proposes amendments to an existing rule at 16 Texas Administrative Code (TAC), Chapter 75, §75.110, regarding the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Program. These proposed changes are referred to as the "proposed rule."

EXPLANATION OF AND JUSTIFICATION FOR THE RULE

The rules under 16 TAC, Chapter 75, implement Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 1302, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors.

The Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractor License Law, Tex. Occ. Code §1302.101(a), requires the Commission to adopt rules for the practice of air conditioning and refrigeration contracting that are at least as strict as the standards provided by the Uniform Mechanical Code and the International Mechanical Code. These codes define the standard of practice for air conditioning and refrigeration contracting and are used by Department staff to evaluate the mechanical integrity and proper installation and service of air conditioning and refrigeration systems. The proposed amendments are necessary to align the program's applicable codes with currently recognized national standards and to provide clarity and consistency for the Department's licensees.

The proposed rule updates the applicable code editions from 2015 to 2018 for the International Residential Code, International Mechanical Code, International Fuel Gas Code, and Uniform Mechanical Code. The proposed rule also adopts by reference the edition of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) adopted by the State Energy Conservation Office pursuant to Chapter 388 of the Texas Health and Safety Code and 34 TAC §19.53. As of the time of this writing, the State Energy Conservation Office has adopted the 2015 edition of the IECC.

The proposed rule was presented to and discussed by the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors Advisory Board at its meeting on July 15, 2020. The Advisory Board did not make any changes to the proposed rule. The Advisory Board voted and recommended that the proposed rule be published in the Texas Register for public comment.

SECTION-BY-SECTION SUMMARY

The proposed rule amends §75.110(a) to adopt the 2018 editions of the International Residential Code, International Mechanical Code, International Fuel Gas Code, and Uniform Mechanical Code. Proposed §75.110(a) also adopts the edition of the IECC adopted by the State Energy Conservation Office pursuant to Chapter 388 of the Texas Health and Safety Code.

The proposed rule amends subsection (b) to state that the currently adopted code editions will remain in effect through December 31, 2020. Further, proposed subsection (b) states that air conditioning and refrigeration work permitted or begun before January 1, 2021 may be performed in accordance with the 2015 edition of the applicable codes.

The other proposed amendments remove outdated or unnecessary language from the rule.

FISCAL IMPACT ON STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Tony Couvillon, Policy Research and Budget Analyst, has determined that for each year of the first five years the proposed rule is in effect, there are no estimated additional costs or reductions in costs to state or local government as a result of enforcing or administering the proposed rule.

Mr. Couvillon has determined that for each year of the first five years the proposed rule is in effect, there is no estimated increase or loss in revenue to the state or local government as a result of enforcing or administering the proposed rule.

LOCAL EMPLOYMENT IMPACT STATEMENT

Mr. Couvillon has determined that the proposed rule will not affect the local economy, so the agency is not required to prepare a local employment impact statement under Government Code §2001.022.

PUBLIC BENEFITS

Mr. Couvillon has also determined that for each year of the first five-year period the proposed rule is in effect, the public benefit will be consistency in the health and safety, installation, and maintenance requirements for air conditioning and refrigeration work performed in Texas.

PROBABLE ECONOMIC COSTS TO PERSONS REQUIRED TO COMPLY WITH PROPOSAL

Mr. Couvillon has determined that for each year of the first five-year period the proposed rule is in effect, there may be some economic costs to persons, including small or micro-businesses, required to comply with the proposed rule. However, adoption of the updated codes may also result in cost savings for licensees and customers. The Department is unable to provide an estimate of costs or cost savings attributable to the updated codes, as those costs or cost savings will be determined by the market for air conditioning and refrigeration services.

FISCAL IMPACT ON SMALL BUSINESSES, MICRO-BUSINESSES, AND RURAL COMMUNITIES

There will be no adverse economic effect on small businesses, micro-businesses, or rural communities as a result of the proposed rule. Since the agency has determined that the proposed rule will have no adverse economic effect on small businesses, micro-businesses, or rural communities, preparation of an Economic Impact Statement and a Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, as detailed under Texas Government Code §2006.002, is not required.

ONE-FOR-ONE REQUIREMENT FOR RULES WITH A FISCAL IMPACT

The proposed rule does not have a fiscal note that imposes a cost on regulated persons, including another state agency, a special district, or a local government. Therefore, the agency is not required to take any further action under Government Code §2001.0045.

GOVERNMENT GROWTH IMPACT STATEMENT

Pursuant to Government Code §2001.0221, the agency provides the following Government Growth Impact Statement for the proposed rule. For each year of the first five years the proposed rule will be in effect, the agency has determined the following:

1. The proposed rule does not create or eliminate a government program.

2. Implementation of the proposed rule does not require the creation of new employee positions or the elimination of existing employee positions.

3. Implementation of the proposed rule does not require an increase or decrease in future legislative appropriations to the agency.

4. The proposed rule does not require an increase or decrease in fees paid to the agency.

5. The proposed rule does not create a new regulation.

6. The proposed rule does not expand, limit, or repeal an existing regulation.

7. The proposed rule does not increase or decrease the number of individuals subject to the rule's applicability.

8. The proposed rule does not positively or adversely affect this state's economy.

TAKINGS IMPACT ASSESSMENT

The Department has determined that no private real property interests are affected by the proposed rule and the proposed rule does not restrict, limit, or impose a burden on an owner's rights to his or her private real property that would otherwise exist in the absence of government action. As a result, the proposed rule does not constitute a taking or require a takings impact assessment under Government Code §2007.043.

PUBLIC COMMENTS

Comments on the proposed rule may be submitted electronically on the Department's website at https://ga.tdlr.texas.gov:1443/form/gcerules; by facsimile to (512) 475-3032; or by mail to Monica Nuñez, Legal Assistant, Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, P.O. Box 12157, Austin, Texas 78711. The deadline for comments is 30 days after publication in the Texas Register.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY

The proposed rule is proposed under Texas Occupations Code, Chapters 51 and 1302, which authorize the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation, the Department's governing body, to adopt rules as necessary to implement these chapters and any other law establishing a program regulated by the Department.

The statutory provisions affected by the proposed rule are those set forth in Texas Occupations Code, Chapters 51 and 1302. No other statutes, articles, or codes are affected by the proposed rule.

§75.110.Applicable Codes.

(a) Effective January 1, 2021, the commission adopts the following applicable codes as referenced in the Act and this chapter:

(1) 2018 International Residential Code;

(2) 2018 International Mechanical Code;

(3) 2018 International Fuel Gas Code;

(4) 2018 Uniform Mechanical Code; and

(5) the edition of the International Energy Conservation Code adopted by the State Energy Conservation Office pursuant to Chapter 388 of the Texas Health and Safety Code.

[(a) The commission adopts the following as the applicable codes as referenced in the Act and this chapter:]

[(1) 2012 edition of the Uniform Mechanical Code; and]

[(2) 2012 editions of the International Mechanical Code, the International Residential Code, and other applicable codes.]

(b) The 2015 [2012] codes shall remain in effect through December 31, 2020 [2017]. All air conditioning and refrigeration work permitted or started before January 1, 2021 [2018], may be completed in accordance with the 2015 [2012] code editions.

[(c) The commission adopts the following as the applicable codes as referenced in the Act and this chapter:]

[(1) 2015 edition of the Uniform Mechanical Code; and]

[(2) 2015 editions of the International Mechanical Code, the International Residential Code, and other applicable codes.]

[(d) The 2015 codes shall be effective January 1, 2018.]

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

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on July 27, 2020.

TRD-202003041

Brad Bowman

General Counsel

Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation

Earliest possible date of adoption: September 6, 2020

For further information, please call: (512) 463-3671


PART 8. TEXAS RACING COMMISSION

CHAPTER 323. DISCIPLINARY ACTION AND ENFORCEMENT

The Texas Racing Commission ("the Commission") proposes amendments to 16 TAC §323.101, Administrative Penalties, and §313.201, Reporting of Criminal Activity and Convictions. The proposed amendments to §323.101 would delete text that is duplicative of a provision in the Texas Racing Act ("Act") and would update a reference to a section of the Act to refer to the Occupations Code instead of Vernon's Civil Statutes. The proposed amendments to §323.201 would delete an outdated reference to Vernon's Texas Codes Annotated.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Chuck Trout, Executive Director, has determined that for the first five-year period the amendments are in effect, there will be no fiscal implications for local or state government as a result of enforcing the amendments. Enforcing or administering the amendments does not have foreseeable implications relating to cost or revenues of the state or local governments.

ANTICIPATED PUBLIC BENEFIT AND COST

Mr. Trout has determined that for each year of the first five years that the amendments are in effect, the anticipated public benefit will be clarity of these provisions. There is no probable economic cost to persons required to comply with the amendments.

LOCAL EMPLOYMENT IMPACT STATEMENT

Mr. Trout has determined that the proposed amendments will not adversely affect the local economy, so the agency is not required to prepare a local employment impact statement under Government Code §2001.022.

GOVERNMENT GROWTH IMPACT STATEMENT

For each year of the first five years that the proposed amendments are in effect, the government growth impact is as follows: the amendments do not create or eliminate a government program; the amendments do not create any new employee positions or eliminate any existing employee positions; implementation of the amendments does not require an increase or decrease in future legislative appropriations to the agency; the amendments do not require an increase or decrease in fees paid to the agency; the amendments do not create new regulations; the amendments do not expand existing regulations; the amendments do not repeal existing regulations; the amendments do not increase or decrease the number of individuals subject to the rule's applicability; and the amendments are not expected to have an adverse effect on this state's economy.

EFFECT ON SMALL AND MICRO-BUSINESSES

The proposed amendments will have no adverse economic effect on small or micro-businesses, and therefore preparation of an economic impact statement and a regulatory flexibility analysis is not required.

IMPACT ON EMPLOYMENT CONDITIONS

There are no negative impacts upon employment conditions in this state as a result of the proposed amendments.

ADVERSE ECONOMIC EFFECT ON RURAL COMMUNITIES

There will be no adverse effect on rural communities as a result of the proposed amendments. Because the agency has determined that the proposed amendments will have no adverse economic effect on rural communities, preparation of an Economic Impact Statement and a Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, as detailed under Texas Government Code §2006.002, is not required.

REGULATORY ANALYSIS OF MAJOR ENVIRONMENTAL RULES

Mr. Trout has determined that these proposed amendments do not constitute a "major environmental rule" as defined by Government Code, §2001.0225. Accordingly, an environmental impact analysis is not required.

TAKINGS IMPACT STATEMENT

Mr. Trout has determined that the proposed amendments will not affect private real property and will not restrict, limit, or impose a burden on an owner's right to his or her private real property and, therefore, will not constitute a taking. As a result, a takings impact assessment is not required, as provided by Government Code §2007.043.

EFFECT ON AGRICULTURAL, HORSE, AND GREYHOUND INDUSTRIES

The proposed amendments will not have an adverse effect on the state's agricultural, horse breeding, horse training, greyhound breeding, or greyhound training industries.

PUBLIC COMMENTS

All comments or questions regarding the proposed amendments may be submitted in writing within 30 days following publication of this notice in the Texas Register by mail to Robert Elrod, Public Information Officer for the Texas Racing Commission, at P.O. Box 12080, Austin, Texas 78711-2080, by e-mail to info@txrc.texas.gov, by telephone to (512) 833-6699, or by fax to (512) 833-6907.

SUBCHAPTER B. CIVIL REMEDIES

16 TAC §323.101

STATUTORY AUTHORITY

The amendments are proposed under Tex. Occ. Code §2023.004, which authorizes the Commission to adopt rules to administer the Act.

No other statute, code, or article is affected by the proposed amendments.

§323.101.Administrative Penalties.

[(a) If the Commission determines that a person regulated under this Act has violated this Act or a rule or order adopted under this Act in a manner that constitutes a ground for a disciplinary action under this Act, the Commission may assess an administrative penalty against that person as provided by this section.]

[(b)] The Commission delegates to the executive secretary the authority to prepare and issue preliminary reports pursuant to the Act, Chapter 2033, Subchapter B [§ 15.03].

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

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on July 22, 2020.

TRD-202003008

Chuck Trout

Executive Director

Texas Racing Commission

Earliest possible date of adoption: September 6, 2020

For further information, please call: (512) 833-6699


SUBCHAPTER C. CRIMINAL ENFORCEMENT

16 TAC §323.201

STATUTORY AUTHORITY

The amendments are proposed under Tex. Occ. Code §2023.004, which authorizes the Commission to adopt rules to administer the Act.

No other statute, code, or article is affected by the proposed amendments.

§323.201.Reporting of Criminal Activity and Convictions.

(a) A licensee, a Commission employee, or an applicant for a license from the Commission shall report any conviction of a felony or misdemeanor, other than a misdemeanor under [Vernon's Texas Codes Annotated,] Transportation Code, Title 7, Vehicles and Traffic, or a similar misdemeanor traffic offense.

(b) (No change.)

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

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on July 22, 2020.

TRD-202003009

Chuck Trout

Executive Director

Texas Racing Commission

Earliest possible date of adoption: September 6, 2020

For further information, please call: (512) 833-6699