Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 1593
By: Reyna, Arthur
Public Health


The 76th Legislature enacted legislation to give professional independent
or semi-independent licensing and regulatory boards the authority to
subpoena witnesses or documents.  This authority allows such agencies to
gather information from banks, health care providers, and hospitals to
substantiate or disapprove alleged violations.  House Bill 1593 authorizes
the executive director or presiding officer of the Texas State Board of
Examiners of Psychologists to issue and serve a subpoena in an


It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does
not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state
officer, department, agency, or institution. 


House Bill 1593 amends the Occupations Code to provide that, in an
investigation of a complaint filed with the Texas State Board of Examiners
of Psychologists (board), the executive director or presiding officer of
the board is authorized to issue a subpoena to compel the attendance of a
relevant witness or the production, for inspection or copying, of relevant
evidence that is in Texas.  If a person fails to comply with the subpoena,
the bill authorizes the board, acting through the attorney general, to file
suit to enforce the subpoena in a district court in Travis County or in the
county in which a hearing conducted by the board may be held.  On finding
that good cause exists for issuing the subpoena, the bill requires the
court to order the person to comply with the subpoena.  The bill authorizes
the court to punish a person who fails to obey the court order. 

The bill requires the board to pay for subpoenaed photocopies a reasonable
fee in an amount not to exceed the amount the board may charge for copies
of its records.  The reimbursement of the expenses of a witness whose
attendance is compelled is governed by provisions regarding the expenses of
a witness or a deponent under the Administrative Procedure Act. 

All information and materials subpoenaed or compiled by the board in
connection with a complaint and investigation are confidential and not
subject to disclosure as public information, and are not subject to
disclosure, discovery, subpoena, or other means of legal compulsion for
their release to anyone other than the board or its employees or agents
involved in disciplining the holder of a license; however, the bill
authorizes this information to be disclosed to persons involved with the
board in a disciplinary action against the holder of a license, licensing
or disciplinary boards in other jurisdictions, peer assistance programs
approved by the board, and law enforcement agencies. 


On passage, or if the Act does not receive the necessary vote, the Act
takes effect September 1, 2001.