HBA-ALS, ALS H.B. 1544 76(R) Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 1544 By: Haggerty Licensing & Administrative Procedures 3/30/1999 Introduced BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Currently, Article 327(a), V.T.C.S. (the Texas Engineering Practice Act) provides for the licensing of professional engineers and regulation of engineering firms. Although these regulations exist, they are not widely enforced due to the difficulty in tracking those persons and firms purporting engage in the defined practice of engineering. Approximately 22 other states require engineering firms to obtain a certificate of authorization and approximately 10 states require firms to be registered with the state. The model licensing law of the National Council of Examiners for Engineers and Surveying also contains such provisions. The purpose of this bill is to improve enforcement of regulations and to protect the public. H.B. 1544 sets forth a registration requirement for firms engaging in the practice of engineering in Texas, to register with the Texas Board of Professional Engineers. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking authority previously delegated to the Texas Board of Professional Engineers is modified in SECTION 2 (Section 16.1, Article 3271a, V.T.C.S. (The Texas Engineering Practice Act)) of this bill. SECTION BY SECTION ANALYSIS SECTION 1. Amends Section 13(b), Article 3271a, V.T.C.S. (The Texas Engineering Practice Act), to require the Texas Board of Professional Engineers (board) to establish a reasonable and necessary registration fee for engineering firms, not to exceed $100. SECTION 2. Amends Sections 16.1 and 17, Article 3271a, V.T.C.S. (The Texas Engineering Practice Act), as follows: Sec. 16.1. New title: EXPIRATION DATES OF LICENSES AND REGISTRATIONS. Adds "and registrations" to the existing title. Makes a conforming change. Sec. 17. FIRMS, PARTNERSHIPS, CORPORATIONS AND JOINT STOCK ASSOCIATIONS. (a) Authorizes a firm, co-partnership, corporation, or joint stock association to engage in the practice of professional engineering if the entity is registered with the board and the practice is only carried on by professional engineers licensed in this state. Makes nonsubstantive changes. (b) Provides that an entity must file an application with the board on a form provided by the board in order to be registered under this section. Provides that the application must list the names of specified persons. (c) Provides that the registration of an entity issued under this section expires on the first anniversary of the date of issuance. SECTION 3. Amends Section 18(a), Article 3271a, V.T.C.S. (The Texas Engineering Practice Act), to make a conforming change. SECTION 4.(a) Effective date: September 1, 1999. (b) Requires the board to adopt rules providing for the registration of engineering entities no later than November 1, 1999. (c) Provides that Sections 17 and 18, Article 3271a, V.T.C.S. (The Texas Engineering Practice Act), takes effect January 1, 2000. SECTION 5.Emergency clause.