1-1     relating to a pilot project transferring certain professional and
 1-2     occupational licensing boards to self-directed semi-independent
 1-3     status; making an appropriation.
 1-5           SECTION 1.  LEGISLATIVE INTENT.  (a)  Several agencies of the
 1-6     State of Texas regulate specific professions in the public
 1-7     interest.  While these licensing agencies perform important public
 1-8     functions, the populations most directly affected by their
 1-9     activities, the members of the professions, are small in comparison
1-10     to the population of the state.  While the agencies may collect and
1-11     remit the $200 professional fee to the state, their operations are
1-12     supported by examination, licensing, and other fees paid by the
1-13     professionals they regulate.
1-14           (b)  The state controls the activities of the licensing
1-15     agencies in many ways.  The governor appoints the board members who
1-16     run the agencies.  The agencies are subject to the open meetings
1-17     law, Chapter 551, Government Code, and the public information law,
1-18     Chapter 552, Government Code.  The decisions of the agencies are
1-19     procedurally and substantively guided by the Administrative
1-20     Procedure Act, Chapter 2001, Government Code, and ultimately the
1-21     courts of the State of Texas can review and reverse their
1-22     decisions.  All contested cases brought by the agencies are tried
1-23     before administrative law judges of the State Office of
1-24     Administrative Hearings.  The agencies are represented in the
 2-1     courts of the State of Texas by the attorney general.  They are
 2-2     subject to sunset review and file annual reports with the governor.
 2-3     They are audited by the state auditor and several are subject to
 2-4     the Texas Internal Auditing Act, Chapter 2102, Government Code.
 2-5           (c)  In addition, the agencies do not have unfettered
 2-6     discretion to raise funds from the public.  The legislature has set
 2-7     specific limits on the amounts that may be charged the regulated
 2-8     profession for the services provided by the agencies.
 2-9           (d)  The agencies perform functions vital to the interest of
2-10     the state and of its people.  They regulate their respective
2-11     professions to ensure that persons holding professional licenses
2-12     meet the highest standards of competence and professionalism.  The
2-13     public relies on these professionals for their expert judgment on
2-14     matters ranging from the soundness of public structures to the
2-15     financial solvency of a potential investment.  The public has a
2-16     vital interest in maintaining competence and improving the quality
2-17     of the licensees of the agencies.
2-18           (e)  At the same time, the controls on the licensing agencies
2-19     ensure that the functions of the agencies are carried out
2-20     efficiently and effectively.  Texas has a number of
2-21     semi-independent agencies that carry out the functions of the state
2-22     in other areas well and in the public interest with far fewer
2-23     controls than those enumerated in this section.
2-24           (f)  Therefore, the legislature intends through this Act to
2-25     establish a pilot project to assess the practicality and efficiency
2-26     of changing certain professional and occupational licensing boards
 3-1     to semi-independent self-directed status.  The state agencies
 3-2     involved in this pilot project have well-defined missions and
 3-3     well-run boards and administrations.  The pilot project will run
 3-4     for a specified time and will expire if not renewed.  If
 3-5     successful, approximately 100 employees will be removed from the
 3-6     state payroll and the administrative burden of state government
 3-7     will be reduced.
 3-8           SECTION 2.  AMENDMENT.  Title 132, Revised Statutes, is
 3-9     amended by adding Article 8930 to read as follows:
3-11           Sec. 1.  SHORT TITLE.  This Act shall be known as the
3-12     Self-Directed Semi-Independent Agency Project Act.
3-13           Sec. 2.  AGENCY PARTICIPATION.  The following agencies shall
3-14     be part of the pilot project created by this Act:
3-15                 (1)  the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy;
3-16                 (2)  the Texas Board of Professional Engineers; and
3-17                 (3)  the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners.
3-18           Sec. 3.  DEFINITION.  In this Act, "project agency" means an
3-19     agency listed in Section 2 of this Act.
3-20           Sec. 4.  PILOT PROJECT.  (a)  Notwithstanding any other
3-21     provision of law, each project agency shall become self-directed
3-22     and semi-independent as specified in this Act.
3-23           (b)  Each project agency shall continue to be a state agency,
3-24     as that term is defined in Section 2001.003(7), Government Code.
3-25           (c)  This Act is subject to Chapter 325, Government Code
3-26     (Texas Sunset Act).  Unless continued in existence as provided by
 4-1     that chapter, this Act expires September 1, 2003.
 4-2           Sec. 5.  GENERAL DUTIES OF ALL PROJECT AGENCIES.  In addition
 4-3     to the duties enumerated in the enabling legislation specifically
 4-4     applicable to each project agency, each project agency shall have
 4-5     the duties prescribed by Sections 6 through 9 of this Act.
 4-6           Sec. 6.  BUDGET.  (a)  A project agency shall adopt a budget
 4-7     annually using generally accepted accounting principles.  The
 4-8     budget shall be reviewed and approved only by the project agency's
 4-9     governing board notwithstanding any other provision of law,
4-10     including the General Appropriations Act.  No costs shall be
4-11     incurred by the general revenue fund.  A project agency shall be
4-12     responsible for all costs, both direct and indirect.
4-13           (b)  A project agency shall keep financial and statistical
4-14     information as necessary to disclose completely and accurately the
4-15     financial condition and operation of the project agency.
4-16           (c)  The Texas State Board of Public Accountancy shall
4-17     annually remit $500,000 to the general revenue fund, the Texas
4-18     Board of Professional Engineers shall annually remit $50,000 to the
4-19     general revenue fund, and the Texas Board of Architectural
4-20     Examiners shall annually remit $700,000 to the general revenue
4-21     fund.
4-22           Sec. 7.  AUDITS.  Nothing in this Act shall affect the duty
4-23     of the State Auditor to audit a project agency.  The State Auditor
4-24     shall enter into a contract and schedule with each project agency
4-25     to conduct audits, including financial reports and performance
4-26     audits.  Costs incurred in performing such audits shall be
 5-1     reimbursed by the project agency.
 5-2           Sec. 8.  REPORTING REQUIREMENTS.  (a)  A project agency shall
 5-3     submit to the legislature and the governor by the first day of the
 5-4     regular session of the legislature a report describing all of the
 5-5     agency's activities in the previous biennium.  The report shall
 5-6     include:
 5-7                 (1)  an audit required by Section 7 of this Act;
 5-8                 (2)  a financial report of the previous fiscal year;
 5-9                 (3)  a description of any changes in licensing fees;
5-10                 (4)  a report on the number of examination candidates,
5-11     licensees, certificate holders, and enforcement activities and any
5-12     changes in those figures; and
5-13                 (5)  a description of all new rules adopted or
5-14     repealed.
5-15           (b)  In addition to the reporting requirements of Subsection
5-16     (a) of this section, each project agency shall report annually, not
5-17     later than November 1, to the governor, to the committee of each
5-18     house of the legislature that has jurisdiction over appropriations,
5-19     and to the Legislative Budget Board the following:
5-20                 (1)  the salary for all project agency personnel and
5-21     the total amount of per diem expenses and travel expenses paid for
5-22     all agency employees;
5-23                 (2)  the total amount of per diem expenses and travel
5-24     expenses paid for each member of the governing body of each project
5-25     agency;
5-26                 (3)  each project agency's operating plan and budget
 6-1     covering a two-year period; and
 6-2                 (4)  a detailed report of all revenue received and all
 6-3     expenses incurred by the project agency in the previous 12 months.
 6-4           Sec. 9.  DISPOSITION OF FEES COLLECTED.  If provided in a
 6-5     project agency's enabling legislation, the project agency shall
 6-6     collect a professional fee of $200 from its licensees annually
 6-7     which shall be remitted to the state.  If provided in a project
 6-8     agency's enabling legislation, the project agency shall collect a
 6-9     scholarship fee of $10 annually from its licensees and shall remit
6-10     it to the state.
6-12     addition to the powers enumerated in each project agency's enabling
6-13     legislation, each project agency shall have the powers described in
6-14     Sections 11 through 14 of this Act.
6-15           Sec. 11.  ABILITY TO CONTRACT.  To carry out and promote the
6-16     objectives of this Act, a project agency may enter into contracts
6-17     and do all other acts incidental to those contracts that are
6-18     necessary for the administration of its affairs and for the
6-19     attainment of its purposes; provided, however, that any
6-20     indebtedness, liability, or obligation of the project agency shall
6-21     not:
6-22                 (1)  create a debt or other liability of the state or
6-23     any other entity other than the project agency; or
6-24                 (2)  create any personal liability on the part of the
6-25     members of the board of the project agency or its employees.
6-26           Sec. 12.  PROPERTY.  A project agency may acquire by lease,
 7-1     and maintain, use, and operate, any real, personal, or mixed
 7-2     property necessary to the exercise of the powers, rights,
 7-3     privileges, and functions of the agency.
 7-4           Sec. 13.  SUITS.  The office of the attorney general shall
 7-5     represent a project agency in any litigation.  The attorney general
 7-6     may assess and collect from the project agency reasonable
 7-7     attorney's fees associated with any litigation under this section.
 7-8           Sec. 14.  FEES.  Subject to the limitations, if any, in the
 7-9     applicable enabling legislation, each project agency may set the
7-10     amount of fees by statute or rule as necessary for the purpose of
7-11     carrying out the functions of the project agency.
7-12           Sec. 15.  POST-PARTICIPATION LIABILITY.  (a)  If a state
7-13     agency no longer has status under this Act as a self-directed
7-14     semi-independent project agency either because of the expiration of
7-15     this Act or for any other reason, the agency shall be liable for
7-16     any expenses or debts incurred by the agency during the time the
7-17     agency participated in the pilot project.  The agency's liability
7-18     under this section includes liability for any lease entered into by
7-19     the agency.  The state is not liable for any expense or debt
7-20     covered by this subsection, and money from the general revenue fund
7-21     may not be used to repay the expense or debt.
7-22           (b)  If a state agency no longer has status under this Act as
7-23     a self-directed semi-independent project agency either because of
7-24     the expiration of this Act or for any other reason, ownership of
7-25     any property or other asset acquired by the agency during the time
7-26     the agency participated in the pilot project shall be transferred
 8-1     to the state.
 8-2           Sec. 16.  OPEN GOVERNMENT.  Subject to the confidentiality
 8-3     provisions of a project agency's enabling legislation:
 8-4                 (1)  meetings of the project agency are subject to
 8-5     Chapter 551, Government Code; and
 8-6                 (2)  records maintained by the project agency are
 8-7     subject to Chapter 552, Government Code.
 8-9     Employees of the project agencies are members of the Employees
8-10     Retirement System of Texas under Chapter 812, Government Code, and
8-11     transition to independent status shall have no effect on their
8-12     membership.
8-13           SECTION 3.  AMENDMENT.  Section 22A, Public Accountancy Act
8-14     of 1991 (Article 41a-1, Vernon's Texas Civil Statutes), is amended
8-15     to read as follows:
8-17     [(a)]  The board may appoint enforcement committees from its
8-18     membership and may adopt rules consistent with this Act as
8-19     necessary for the performance of each committee's duties.  An
8-20     enforcement committee shall consider and make recommendations to
8-21     the full board on matters relating to the enforcement of this Act
8-22     and the rules adopted in accordance with this Act.  At least one
8-23     member of the board who is a public representative member must
8-24     serve on each enforcement committee.
8-25           [(b)  A special fund is established for the exclusive use of
8-26     the board to be known as the public accountancy enforcement fund.
 9-1     The fund may be used only to finance the enforcement functions
 9-2     performed under this Act.  Money received by the board from a fee
 9-3     increase adopted under Section 9(g) of this Act and money related
 9-4     to an administrative penalty and received by the board under
 9-5     Section 21D of this Act shall be deposited in the fund.  The
 9-6     comptroller is the custodian of the fund.  The comptroller shall
 9-7     issue warrants from the fund supported only by vouchers signed by
 9-8     the chairman and the executive director.  The fund shall be
 9-9     appropriated to the board by the legislature.]
9-10           SECTION 4.  AMENDMENT.  Section 4A, Chapter 478, Acts of the
9-11     45th Legislature, Regular Session, 1937 (Article 249a, Vernon's
9-12     Texas Civil Statutes), is amended to read as follows:
9-13           Sec. 4A.  [(a)]  Each member of the Board is entitled to a
9-14     [the] per diem [set by legislative appropriation] for each day that
9-15     the member engages in the business of the Board.  A member is
9-16     entitled to compensation for travel expenses, including food,
9-17     lodging, and transportation expenses[, as provided by the General
9-18     Appropriations Act].
9-19           [(b)  The per diem and expenses of the members of the Board
9-20     shall be paid from the Architectural Examiners Fund.]
9-21           [(c)  General revenue funds may not be used for the
9-22     administration of this Act except as provided by the General
9-23     Appropriations Act.]
9-24           SECTION 5.  APPROPRIATIONS.  To provide a reasonable period
9-25     for each project agency under Article 8930, Revised Statutes, as
9-26     added by this Act, to establish itself as semi-independent and
 10-1    self-directed after the conclusion of fiscal year 1999, each
 10-2    project agency is appropriated an amount equal to 50 percent of
 10-3    that agency's appropriated amount for fiscal year 1999.  This
 10-4    appropriation shall be repaid to the general revenue fund by the
 10-5    project agency as funds become available.
 10-7    (a)  The transfer of a project agency under Article 8930, Revised
 10-8    Statutes, as added by this Act, to semi-independent status and the
 10-9    expiration of semi-independent status shall not act to cancel,
10-10    suspend, or prevent:
10-11                (1)  any debt owed to or by the project agency;
10-12                (2)  any fine, tax, penalty, or obligation of any
10-13    party;
10-14                (3)  any contract or other obligation of any party; or
10-15                (4)  any action taken by the project agency in
10-16    administration or enforcement of its duties.
10-17          (b)  Each project agency shall continue to have and exercise
10-18    the powers and duties allocated to it in its enabling legislation,
10-19    except as specifically amended by this Act.
10-20          (c)  Title to all supplies, materials, records, equipment,
10-21    books, papers, and facilities used by each project agency is
10-22    transferred to each respective project agency in fee simple.
10-23    Nothing in this Act shall have any effect on property already owned
10-24    by the project agencies.  At its sole option, each project agency
10-25    may continue to occupy its current premises at the rates prescribed
10-26    by the General Services Commission for indirect costs and bond debt
 11-1    service for the duration of the pilot project.
 11-2          (d)  Examination fees collected prior to September 1, 1999,
 11-3    for examinations conducted after September 1, 1999, shall be made
 11-4    available to the project agency for costs associated with
 11-5    conducting the examinations.
 11-6          SECTION 7.  EFFECTIVE DATE.  This Act takes effect September
 11-7    1, 1999.
 11-8          SECTION 8.  EMERGENCY.  The importance of this legislation
 11-9    and the crowded condition of the calendars in both houses create an
11-10    emergency and an imperative public necessity that the
11-11    constitutional rule requiring bills to be read on three several
11-12    days in each house be suspended, and this rule is hereby suspended.
                                                               S.B. No. 1438
         ________________________________   ________________________________
             President of the Senate             Speaker of the House
               I hereby certify that S.B. No. 1438 passed the Senate on
         April 26, 1999, by a viva-voce vote; May 28, 1999, Senate refused
         to concur in House amendments and requested appointment of
         Conference Committee; May 29, 1999, House granted request of the
         Senate; May 30, 1999, Senate adopted Conference Committee Report by
         a viva-voce vote; passed subject to the provisions of Article III,
         Section 49a, of the Constitution of Texas.
                                                 Secretary of the Senate
               I hereby certify that S.B. No. 1438 passed the House, with
         amendments, on May 25, 1999, by a non-record vote; May 29, 1999,
         House granted request of the Senate for appointment of Conference
         Committee; May 30, 1999, House adopted Conference Committee Report
         by a non-record vote; passed subject to the provisions of Article
         III, Section 49a, of the Constitution of Texas.
                                                Chief Clerk of the House
         ________________________________    I, Carole Keeton Rylander,
                      Date                   Comptroller of Public Accounts,
                                             do hereby certify that the
                                             amounts appropriated in the
                                             herein S.B. No. 1438, Regular
         ________________________________    Session, 76th Legislature,
                    Governor                 are within the amount estimated
                                             to be available in the affected
                                             Certified _____________, 1999.
                                             Comptroller of Public Accounts