HBA-DMH H.B. 1593 77(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 1593 By: Reyna, Arthur Public Health 4/23/2001 Committee Report (Amended) BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE 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 investigation. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY 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. ANALYSIS 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. EFFECTIVE DATE On passage, or if the Act does not receive the necessary vote, the Act takes effect September 1, 2001. EXPLANATION OF AMENDMENTS Committee Amendment No. 1 provides that information and materials subpoenaed or compiled by the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists (board) in connection with a complaint's investigation may only be disclosed by the board pursuant to provisions established for the confidentiality of complaint information. The amendment removes provisions that provided that such information and material is not subject to disclosure as public information or through legal means.