HBA-SEB C.S.H.B. 34 76(R)BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisC.S.H.B. 34 By: Goolsby Licensing & Administrative Procedures 4/30/1999 Committee Report (Substituted) BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE During the last decade, geoscientists in Texas have been increasingly called upon to undertake responsibilities involving the environment and public health and safety. Currently, Texas does not have unified qualification standards for state agencies to regulate the public practice of geoscience. Geoscience means the study of the earth's origin and history, its soils, rocks, minerals, fossil fuels, solids, fluids, and the natural and introduced agents, forces, and processes that cause changes in and on the earth. C.S.H.B. 34 regulates the public practice of geoscience, establishes the qualification standards for licensed geoscientists, and provides penalties for the violation of this Act. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking authority is expressly delegated to the Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists in SECTION 1 (Sections 1.04, 4.01, 4.03, 4.05, 4.06, 6.08, 7.01, 8.01, and 10.03, Texas Geoscience Practice Act) and to the Texas Board of Professional Engineers in SECTION 1 (Section 1.04, Texas Geoscience Practice Act) of this bill. SECTION BY SECTION ANALYSIS SECTION 1. Adopts the Texas Geoscience Practice Act, as follows: SUBCHAPTER A. GENERAL PROVISIONS Sec. 1.01. SHORT TITLE. Authorizes this Act to be cited as the Texas Geoscience Practice Act. Sec. 1.02. DEFINITIONS. Defines "board," "certified geoscientist," "geoscience," "geoscientist," "geoscientist-in-training," "licensed geoscientist," "performance before the public," "public practice of the geosciences," and "responsible charge." Sec. 1.03. APPLICATION OF SUNSET ACT. Establishes that the Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists (board) is subject to Chapter 325, Government Code (Texas Sunset Act), and that this Act expires and the board is abolished on September 1, 2011, unless continued as provided by that chapter. Sec. 1.04. APPLICATION OF ACT. (a) Defines "licensed engineer," "practice of engineering," and "professional surveying." (b) Provides that this Act does not authorize the practice of professional surveying by a licensed geoscientist. Establishes that this Act does not apply to a registered surveyor who confines the surveyor's practice to acts allowed under that statute. (c) Establishes that this Act does not authorize the practice of engineering by a licensed geoscientist. Provides that a licensed geoscientist who performs a service or work that is both engineering and geoscience must be licensed as an engineer or work under the supervision of a licensed engineer. (d) Establishes that this Act does not require a licensed engineer or a person acting under the supervision of a licensed engineer to be licensed as a geoscientist or to work under the supervision of a licensed geoscientist if the person performs work that is both engineering and geoscience. (e) Provides that specific work, the performance of which requires engineering education, training, and experience in the application of special knowledge of mathematical, physical, and engineering sciences, is engineering and is subject to the Texas Engineering Practice Act. (f) Establishes that this Act does not permit a licensed geoscientist to perform an engineering analysis supporting an engineering design unless the action is under the supervision of a licensed engineer. (g) Provides that this Act does not permit a licensed geoscientist to perform certain engineering work unless the work is under the supervision of a licensed engineer. (h) Establishes that this Act permits certain geoscientific work by a licensed geoscientist but not specific engineering work by a licensed geoscientist with regard to an environmental and pollution remediation project. (i) Establishes that this Act permits certain geoscientific work by a licensed geoscientist but not specific engineering work by a licensed geoscientist with regard to a geoscientific investigation of geological conditions affecting an engineered work. (j) Requires the Texas Board of Professional Engineers, by rule, memorandum of agreement, or another appropriate procedure or document, to jointly resolve any conflict between this Act or a rule adopted under this Act and the Texas Engineering Practice Act or a rule adopted under that Act. SUBCHAPTER B. TEXAS BOARD OF PROFESSIONAL GEOSCIENTISTS Sec. 2.01. BOARD MEMBERSHIP. Requires the board, to be composed of nine members appointed by the governor, to administer this Act. Provides that three members be members of the public and the remaining six be licensed geoscientists who, to the extent possible, represent the occupational distribution of licensed or regulated geoscientists. Requires that appointments be made without regard to a person's race, color, disability, sex, religion, age, or national origin. Sec. 2.02. MEMBER ELIGIBILITY. Establishes that a member of the board be at least 25 years of age, a United States citizen, and a Texas resident for at least three years preceding the appointment. Provides that a person is ineligible for appointment if the person or the person's spouse is registered, certified, or licensed by an occupational regulatory agency in the geoscience field; is employed or participates in the management of, or owns or controls more than a 10 percent interest in, a business entity or other organization regulated by or receiving money from the board; or receives a substantial amount of goods, services, or money from the board other than lawful compensation or reimbursement for membership, attendance, or expenses. Sec. 2.03. MEMBERSHIP AND EMPLOYEE RESTRICTIONS. (a) Defines "society or trade association." b) Prohibits a person from serving as a board member or board employee in a "bona fide executive, administrative, or professional capacity," as that phrase is used in the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. Section 201 et seq.), if the person is an officer, employee or paid consultant of a society or trade association in the geoscience field, or if the person's spouse is an officer, manager, or paid consultant of such an association. (c) Prohibits a person from serving as a board member or general counsel for the board if the person is required to register as a lobbyist under Chapter 305, Government Code (Registration of Lobbyists), concerning activities on behalf of a profession related to the board's operation. Sec. 2.04. TERMS. Establishes that board members serve staggered six-year terms, and that three of the members' terms will expire on February 1 of odd-numbered years. Prohibits a member from serving more than two consecutive full terms. Sec. 2.05. GROUNDS FOR REMOVAL. (a) Establishes that the grounds for a member's removal from office include that the member no longer qualifies for appointment to the board, engages in misconduct or malfeasance, is determined incompetent, or commits a felony or a violation of this Act or neglects the member's duties. (b) Provides that the validity of a board's action is unaffected if taken while grounds for removal of a board member exist. (c) Requires the executive director to notify the board's presiding officer of a potential ground for removal or to notify the assistant presiding officer if the ground for removal involves the presiding officer. Requires the presiding officer or assistant presiding officer to notify the governor and the attorney general that the ground for removal exists. Sec. 2.06. REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL EXPENSES. Entitles board members to reimbursement for travel expenses incurred while conducting the board's business, as provided by the General Appropriations Act. Sec. 2.07. OFFICERS. Requires the board to elect a presiding officer, assistant presiding officer, and secretary-treasurer every two years and prohibits a member from holding one of these positions for more than two consecutive two-year terms. Authorizes the board to remove a member from a position by a two-thirds majority vote of the board. Authorizes the board to appoint non-member assistants to assist the board in carrying out its powers and duties. Sec. 2.08. OFFICE. Requires the board to maintain its office in Austin. Sec. 2.09. MEETINGS. Requires the board to hold at least two regular meetings per calendar year, and authorizes the board to hold a special meeting at a time permitted by rule of the board. Sec. 2.10. TRAINING. Prohibits a board appointee from serving as a member of the board if the person has not completed a training program which provides a person with specified information regarding the board's background, role and functions, programs, rules, current budget, audit, ethics policies, and formal procedural and administrative requirements. Entitles a board appointee to reimbursement for travel expenses incurred for attending the training program, as provided by the General Appropriations Act. SUBCHAPTER C. EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AND PERSONNEL Sec. 3.01. EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR. Requires the board to appoint an executive director to manage specified administrative affairs of the board. Sec. 3.02. RECEIPTS AND DISBURSEMENTS; ACCOUNT. Requires the executive director to manage all money received under this Act, to transfer the money to the comptroller, and to annually file a written report with the comptroller which accounts for all receipts, expenditures, and account balances. Requires all money received and interest earned to be deposited in the geoscientists' fund account in the general revenue fund, subject to the comptroller's accounting policies and audits. Authorizes money in the account to be used only for expenses incurred by the board in the administration and enforcement of this Act. Sec. 3.03. SEPARATION OF RESPONSIBILITIES. Requires the board to develop and implement policies that clearly separate the policymaking responsibilities of the board and the management duties of the executive director and board staff. Sec. 3.04. QUALIFICATIONS AND STANDARDS OF CONDUCT. Requires the executive director or a designee to provide board members and board staff with information regarding requirements for office or employment under this Act, including applicable standards of conduct for state officers or employees. Sec. 3.05. CAREER LADDER PROGRAM; PERFORMANCE EVALUATIONS. Requires the executive director or a designee to develop an intra-agency career ladder program that addresses opportunities for mobility and advancement of board employees and to post intraagency positions concurrently with public postings. Requires the executive director or a designee to develop an annual employee performance evaluation system upon which decisions regarding merit pay for a board employee are based. Sec. 3.06. EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY POLICY. Requires the board or a designee to prepare, file with the governor's office, and annually update a written equal employment opportunity policy statement which ensures that all personnel decisions are made regardless of race, color, disability, sex, religion, age, or national origin. Establishes that the statement, which must be reviewed by the Texas Commission on Human Rights, include personnel policies relating to recruitment, evaluation, selection, training, promotion of personnel, and the board's intent to avoid the unlawful employment practices described by Chapter 21, Labor Code (Employment Discrimination). Provides that the statement include an analysis of the extent to which the composition of the board's personnel complies with state and federal law, including a description of reasonable methods to achieve compliance with state and federal law. SUBCHAPTER D. BOARD POWERS AND DUTIES Sec. 4.01. GENERAL RULEMAKING AUTHORITY. Authorizes the board to adopt and enforce rules consistent with this Act and necessary for the performance of its duties. Sec. 4.02. FEES. Authorizes the board to set reasonable and necessary fees including those for application, examination, licensure, and license renewal under this Act. Sec. 4.03. CODE OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT. Requires the board, by rule, to adopt a code of professional conduct for all license holders under this Act and authorizes the board to enforce the code by imposing sanctions as provided by this Act. Sec. 4.04. ENFORCEMENT. Requires the board to enforce this Act. Authorizes any board member to present a complaint about the violation of this Act to a prosecuting officer and authorizes the board to assist in the trial of a case involving such a violation. Authorizes the board to administer oaths and affirmations and to issue subpoenas that compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of evidence. Requires the attorney general to act as legal adviser to the board and to render legal assistance in the enforcement of this Act. Sec. 4.05. RECOGNITION OF USE OF DESIGNATIONS. Authorizes the board to recognize, by rule, the designations used by an organization that maintains a geoscientist certification program if the board accepts the requirements for that certification, the organization granting the certification states its full name or recognized abbreviation in conjunction with the use of the designation or abbreviation, and the designation or abbreviation does not mislead anyone as to whether a person is licensed to practice geoscience. Requires the board, by rule, to recognize "geological engineer," "geotechnical engineer," "hydraulic engineer," or "agricultural engineer" as legitimate engineering titles, separate from the geosciences, which require licensure as a professional engineer Sec. 4.06. Requires the board, by rule, to establish the criteria and appropriate requirements for licensure in the various disciplines of the geosciences, including geology, geophysics, and soil science. Sec. 4.07. AGREEMENTS TO DEVELOP UNIFORM STANDARDS. Authorizes the board to enter into agreements with licensing or registration boards in other states and other appropriate organizations to develop uniform standards for licensing, registration, accreditation, examinations, evaluations, or other purposes consistent with this Act. Sec. 4.08. AUTHORITY TO INCUR ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES. Authorizes the board to incur administrative expenses necessary to appoint committees, employ staff, contractors and consultants, lease or purchase furnishings, equipment, and supplies, lease office space, and incur other similar expenses. Sec. 4.09. ROSTER OF LICENSE HOLDERS. Requires the board to keep a roster stating the name and place of business of each licensed geoscientist, to provide a copy on request to a state agency, county or municipal clerk, building official, or a license holder, and to provide a copy to anyone upon written request, subject to payment of a reasonable fee set by the board. Sec. 4.10. LIST OF GOVERNMENTAL ENTITIES WITH COMPARABLE REQUIREMENTS AND WITH WHICH RECIPROCITY AGREEMENT EXISTS. Requires the board to maintain a list of each state, territory, or possession of the United States, the District of Columbia or foreign country in which the requirements and qualifications for licensure or registration are comparable to those in Texas and with which a reciprocity agreement exists. SUBCHAPTER E. PUBLIC INTEREST INFORMATION AND COMPLAINT PROCEDURES Sec. 5.01. PUBLIC INTEREST INFORMATION. Requires the board to prepare information that describes the board's regulatory functions and the procedures for filing and resolving complaints, and to make the information available to the public and to appropriate state agencies. Sec. 5.02. COMPLAINTS. (a) Authorizes a person to bring a complaint alleging a violation of this Act or a rule adopted under this Act. (b) Specifies that a complaint be in writing, sworn to by the person making the complaint, and filed with the secretary-treasurer of the board. (c) Requires the board to keep a file on each complaint that states specific information about the complaint. (d) Requires the board to provide a copy of the board's policies and procedures concerning complaint investigation and resolution to the person filing the complaint and to each person who is a subject of the complaint. (e) Requires the board to investigate all complaints brought to its attention. Authorizes the board to employ investigators, expert witnesses, and hearing officers, to appoint advisory committees, and to conduct hearings to determine what action, if any, should be taken. (f) Requires the board to notify, at least quarterly until final disposition, the person filing the complaint and each person who is a subject of the complaint regarding the status of the investigation, unless the notice would jeopardize an undercover investigation. Sec. 5.03. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION. Requires the board to develop and implement policies that provide the public with a reasonable opportunity to appear before the board and speak on any issue under the board's jurisdiction. SUBCHAPTER F. LICENSE REQUIREMENTS Sec. 6.01. LICENSE REQUIRED. (a) Prohibits a person who is not licensed under this Act from engaging in the public practice of the geosciences, unless exempted by this Act. (b) Prohibits a person who is not licensed from using the term "Licensed Professional Geoscientist" or the initials "P.G." as identification, or representing that the person is qualified to practice as a geoscientist. (c) Prohibits a person from taking responsible charge of a geoscientific report or a portion of a report required by state or federal law, state agency rule, or regulation, or municipal or county ordinance that incorporates or is based on a geoscientific study or data unless the person is exempt under Section 1.04 or 6.02. Sec. 6.02. EXEMPTIONS. Lists specific activities that do not require a license under this Act. Sec. 6.03. LICENSE APPLICATION. Establishes that an applicant for a license as a geoscientist, including an applicant for a temporary or reciprocal license, must sign and swear to an application before a notary public on a form prescribed by the board which contains the applicant's educational and professional information, at least five reference letters, three of which must be from geoscientists who have personal knowledge of the applicant's work experience, and a signed statement of compliance with this Act's code of professional conduct. Sec. 6.04. EXAMINATIONS. Authorizes the board to administer and grade oral and written examinations required under this Act. Authorizes the board to prepare its own examinations or to adopt an examination of another organization if the board determines it appropriately measures the applicant's qualifications and if the board has access to the examination questions, the correct answers, and the applicant's completed examination, and if the board retains the authority to determine a passing grade for a license in this state. Sec. 6.05. LICENSE ELIGIBILITY. Establishes the eligibility requirements for an applicant for a license as a geoscientist which include showing good moral and ethical character as attested to by letters of reference or as determined by the board, meeting specified educational requirements, documenting at least four years of work experience in the field of geoscience, passing an examination required by the board, and meeting the board's other requirements. Sec. 6.06. QUALIFYING EXPERIENCE. Requires the board to evaluate the experience of an applicant for a geoscientist's license by counting as one year in the profession of the geosciences each year of professional experience acceptable to the board that took place under the direction of a geoscientist licensed in Texas or another state with comparable requirements or under the direction of a person who meets the educational and professional requirements for licensure but is not required to be licensed under this Act. Requires the board to establish that each year of professional geoscience experience acquired before September 1, 2000, constitutes one year of professional experience if the experience occurred under the direction of a geoscientist licensed in Texas or another state with comparable requirements, under the direction of a person who meets the educational and professional requirements for licensure but is not required to be licensed under this Act, or if the experience would constitute the responsible charge of professional geoscientific work as determined by the board. Sec. 6.07. GRADUATE STUDY, RESEARCH, AND TEACHING EXPERIENCE. Provides that each year of full-time graduate study in the geosciences that is acceptable to the board, up to two years per applicant, constitutes one year of professional experience in the geosciences. Authorizes the board to accept teaching or geoscientific research by a person studying geosciences at the college or university level as qualifying experience if the experience is comparable to experience obtained in the practice of the geosciences. Sec. 6.08. RECIPROCAL LICENSE. Requires the board, by rule, to issue a license to a person who has not met the examination requirement of Section 6.05(4) of this Act if the person has a license or is registered to practice geoscience elsewhere, including a territory of the United States or a foreign country. Authorizes the board to issue a license to an applicant who pays the required fees and provides proof of a license under substantially similar requirements. Sec. 6.09. TEMPORARY LICENSE. Authorizes the board to issue a temporary license to a person waiting for a determination on an application for a reciprocal license, in which case the temporary license would expire upon such determination. Authorizes the board to issue a temporary license to a non-resident of Texas who seeks to practice geoscience in this state for a temporary period and does not have an established place of business, in which case the temporary license would expire 90 days after issuance. Establishes application procedures for a temporary license. Sec. 6.10. WAIVER OF REQUIREMENTS. Authorizes the board to waive any of the requirements for licensure, except the fee payment, by a two-thirds vote of the entire board upon an applicant's written request and showing of good cause. Provides that each waived requirement be recorded in the applicant's record and in the board's proceedings. Sec. 6.11. CONFIDENTIALITY OF CERTAIN INFORMATION. Establishes as confidential any information relating to a statement provided as a reference for an applicant for a license. Authorizes the board or the board's staff to use the information only in the application or licensure process. Provides that confidential information under this section is not subject to discovery, subpoena, or other disclosure in any proceeding. Sec. 6.12. ISSUANCE OF A LICENSE. Requires the board to issue a license to an applicant who satisfies the requirements of this Act and who pays the license fee. Specifies the information which must be contained on the license. Establishes the issuance of a license as prima facie evidence that the license holder is entitled to all the rights and privileges of a licensed geoscientist and is entitled to practice the geosciences as a firm or corporation. Sec. 6.13. LICENSE DURATION; EXPIRATION. Provides that a license is valid for a period not to exceed three years and expires according to a schedule established by the board. Prohibits an expired license from being renewed except as provided by this Act. Sec. 6.14. SEAL. Provides that a license holder, upon issuance of the license, must obtain a specific seal which is to be used along with the full name, signature, and license number of the license holder on geoscientific documents and reports as specified by board rule. Sec. 6.15. REPLACEMENT OF LOST, DESTROYED, OR MUTILATED LICENSE. Requires the board to replace a license that has been lost, destroyed, or mutilated, subject to the board's rules and fees. SUBCHAPTER G. LICENSE RENEWAL Sec. 7.01. LICENSE RENEWAL. Requires the board to notify the license holder of the expiration date and renewal fee required no later than 60 days before the license expires. Requires the board to renew the license of a holder no later than 60 days after the license expires if the license holder meets the board's requirements for renewal and submits the required renewal application and fee and penalty for late renewal, if necessary. Authorizes the board, by rule, to establish procedures for the reissuance of a license that has lapsed, expired, been suspended, or revoked. Sec. 7.02. CONTINUING PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION. Authorizes the board to require each license holder to participate in a continuing education program as a condition for license renewal. SUBCHAPTER H. PUBLIC PRACTICE OF THE GEOSCIENCES Sec. 8.01. PUBLIC PRACTICE OF THE GEOSCIENCES BY FIRM OR CORPORATION. (a) Authorizes a firm or corporation to engage in the public practice of the geosciences only if the geoscientific work is performed by or under the supervision of a licensed geoscientist who signs and seals all documents, or if the principal business of the firm or corporation is the public practice of the geosciences and the director of the corporation is a licensed geoscientist who has supervision over the geoscientific work. Provides that engineering firms excluded from the application of this Act in Section 1.04 are an exception to this subsection. (b) Authorizes the board to adopt rules relating to the practice of the geosciences by a firm or corporation. Requires the rules to recognize that this Act does not apply to licensed professional engineers or engineering firms performing services or works that are both engineering and geoscience. Exempts firms that engage in the practice of both engineering and geoscience from any firm registration requirements under this section. (c) Prohibits a person from representing to the public that the individual, firm, or corporation is a licensed geoscientist or able to perform geoscientific services except as provided by this section. SUBCHAPTER I. LICENSE DENIAL AND DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS AND PROCEDURE Sec. 9.01. DENIAL OF LICENSE. Authorizes the board to deny a license to an applicant who fails to satisfy a requirement of this Act or if probable cause exists that the person has violated this Act, a provision of this Act to which a license holder is subject, or a comparable provision in the licensing or registration law of another state. Prohibits the board from issuing a license pending the disposition of a complaint alleging a violation in this or another state if the board has notice of the alleged violation. Requires the board to notify an applicant who has been denied no later than 30 days after the decision and authorizes the denied applicant to request a hearing no later than 30 days after receiving the notice; otherwise, the board's decision is final. Sec. 9.02. GROUNDS FOR DISCIPLINARY ACTION. Authorizes the board to impose sanctions for certain enumerated offenses. Sec. 9.03. DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS. Authorizes the board to take certain enumerated disciplinary actions. Prohibits the board from imposing a sanction for a disciplinary action taken by a state agency, board of registration, or similar licensing agency for geoscientists or an occupation related to the public practice of geoscience. Sec. 9.04. RIGHT TO HEARING. Entitles a person to a hearing if the board proposes to suspend or revoke the person's license. Sec. 9.05. REINSTATEMENT. Authorizes the board, upon application, to reinstate a revoked license by a majority vote of the entire board. Authorizes the board to review the applicant's qualifications, require continuing education, conduct a reexamination, and require evidence of the applicant's competency as conditions for reinstatement. SUBCHAPTER J. ADMINISTRATIVE PENALTY Sec. 10.01. IMPOSITION OF PENALTY. Authorizes the board to impose an administrative penalty against a person who violates this Act or a rule or order adopted under this Act. Sec. 10.02. AMOUNT OF PENALTY. Authorizes the board to include the costs of investigating and prosecuting a violation in the amount of an administrative penalty, not to exceed $3000 per violation. Provides that each day that a violation continues or occurs counts as a separate violation. Requires the amount of the penalty to be based on a list of enumerated factors. Sec. 10.03. PROCEDURAL RULES. Requires the board to adopt rules of procedure which conform with Chapter 2001, Government Code (Administrative Procedure), for the imposition of an administrative penalty. Sec. 10.04. OPTIONS FOLLOWING FINAL ORDER: PAY OR APPEAL. (a) Requires a person to pay the penalty, pay the penalty and file a petition contesting the ruling and amount of the penalty or both, or file the petition without paying the penalty, not later than 30 days after the board's order becomes final. (b) Authorizes a person who files a petition contesting the occurrence of a violation without paying the penalty within a 30-day period to stay enforcement of the penalty by either paying the penalty to the court for placement in an escrow account or giving the court a supersedeas bond for the amount of the penalty effective until judicial review of the board's order is final. Authorizes the person to request the court to stay enforcement of the penalty by filing a sworn affidavit with the court, with a copy to the executive director by certified mail, stating the person's financial inability to pay the penalty or give the supersedeas bond. (c) Authorizes the executive director to file a contest to an affidavit with the court no later than five days after receipt of the copy. Requires the court to hold a hearing on the facts alleged in the affidavit, to place the burden of proof upon the person who filed the affidavit, and to stay enforcement of the penalty upon finding that the alleged facts are true. Sec. 10.05. COLLECTION OF PENALTY. Authorizes the executive director to refer to the attorney general a matter concerning the collection of an unpaid penalty that is not stayed. Sec. 10.06. STANDARD OF JUDICIAL REVIEW. Establishes that the order of the board is subject to judicial review under the substantial evidence rule. Sec. 10.07. REMITTANCE OF PENALTY AND INTEREST. Authorizes the court to uphold or reduce the amount of the penalty or to order that no penalty is owed, depending on whether the court sustains the occurrence of the violation. Requires the court to order the remittance of the amount paid plus accrued interest to the person who paid the penalty if the penalty is reduced or not imposed. Requires the interest be applied for a specific time period with a specific rate. Requires the court to order the release of a posted supersedeas bond if the penalty is not imposed or if the person pays the penalty. SUBCHAPTER K. CRIMINAL PENALTY Sec. 11.01. CRIMINAL PENALTY. Establishes that a person commits an offense if the person practices or offers to practice geoscience in Texas without a license or an exemption under this Act, uses or attempts to use the license or seal of another, gives false evidence to the board in obtaining a license, or otherwise violates this Act. Classifies an offense under this section as a Class A misdemeanor. SUBCHAPTER L. OTHER ENFORCEMENT PROVISIONS Sec. 12.01. INJUNCTION. Authorizes the board to seek an injunction against a violation of this Act or a rule adopted under this Act. SUBCHAPTER M. TRANSITION Sec. 13.01. TRANSITION. Authorizes a person applying for a license under this Act before September 1, 2000, to qualify for licensure without completing the examination requirement if the applicant fulfills the other four requirements in Section 6.05. Provides that an initial board member who is required to be a licensed geoscientist qualify for licensure under those four requirements. Requires the governor to make the initial board appointments within a specific time frame. Requires the board to hold its first meeting before January 1, 2000, and to adopt rules under this Act no later than November 30, 2000. Provides that a person is not required to obtain a license under this Act until January 1, 2001. SECTION 2. Effective date: September 1, 1999, except that Section 6.01 and Subchapters J and K take effect January 1, 2001. SECTION 3. Emergency clause. COMPARISON OF ORIGINAL TO SUBSTITUTE The substitute modifies the original in SECTION 1, the Texas Geoscience Practice Act, as follows: Proposed Section 1.02 is modified to redefine "geoscience" and "geoscientist." Proposed Section 1.04 is modified to expand the original. The substitute redesignates Subsection (a) to (c) and adds new Subsections (a) and (d)-(j). This section lists activities to which this Act applies. For a more complete analysis of the new text, please see the Section-by-Section Analysis portion of this document. Proposed Section 2.01 is modified to change the composition of the Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists (board). The substitute provides that six, rather than seven, members of the board must be licensed geoscientists and three, rather than two, members of the board must be members of the public. The substitute adds a new Section 4.06 to require the board, by rule, to establish the criteria and appropriate requirements for licensure in the various disciplines of the geosciences, including geology, geophysics, and soil science. The substitute redesignates proposed Sections 4.06-4.09 to Sections 4.07-4.10 in the substitute. Section 4.08, as redesignated from proposed Section 4.07, is modified to authorize the board to lease supplies. Proposed Section 6.01(c) is modified to include an exception that unless a person is exempt under Section 1.04 or 6.02, the person is prohibited from taking responsible charge of a geoscientific report or a portion of a report required by state or federal law, state agency rule, or regulation, or municipal or county ordinance that incorporates or is based on a geoscientific study or data. The substitute deletes proposed Section 6.01(d), which would have prohibited this state or a political subdivision of this state from contracting for geoscientific services with any person not licensed under this Act or with a business that employs a person not licensed under this Act who is responsible for geoscentific work. Proposed Section 6.02 is modified to delete text which would have provided that the following activities do not require a license under this Act: the acquisition and interpretation of data involving soil, rock, groundwater, and other earth materials for engineering purposes; the evaluation of the physical and chemical properties of soil, rock, groundwater, and other earth materials; and the use of data in analysis, design, and construction by a professional engineer licensed in this state. The substitute redesignates Subdivisions (4)-(11) to (1)-(8). The substitute adds a new Subdivision (9), which provides that Site Evaluators certified by the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission do not require a license under this Act for the purpose of selecting site specific and site appropriate on-site sewerage facilities. Proposed Section 6.05 is modified to make nonsubstantive changes. Proposed Section 6.12 is modified to provide that a geoscientist's licence must state the license holder's discipline. The substitute redesignates Subsection (b)(3) to (b)(4). Proposed Section 6.14 is modified to provide that a geoscientist's seal must include the license holder's discipline. Proposed Section 8.01(a) is modified to establish an exception. Section 8.01(a) authorizes a firm or corporation to engage in the public practice of the geosciences under certain circumstances, except for engineering firms excluded from the application of this Act under Section 1.04. Proposed Section 8.01(b) is modified to require rules adopted under this section to recognize that this Act does not apply to licensed professional engineers or engineering firms performing services or works that are both engineering and geoscience. The substitute exempts firms that engage in the practice of both engineering and geoscience from any firm registration requirements under this section.