SRC-MWN S.B. 697 77(R)BILL ANALYSIS Senate Research CenterS.B. 697 By: Wentworth Business & Commerce 6/5/2001 Enrolled DIGEST AND PURPOSE Licensed professional engineers are one of the few professional or occupational groups without mandatory continuing education requirements. The Board of Professional Engineers is authorized to administer a continuing education program, but participation in the program is voluntary. S.B. 697 authorizes the Board of Professional Engineers to adopt rules requiring continuing education and to establish standards for these rules, including activities for which a licensee is authorized to receive credit. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY Rulemaking authority is expressly granted to the Texas Board of Professional Engineers in SECTIONS 1 (Section 8, Article 3271a, V.T.C.S.), 2 (Section 13, Article 3271a, V.T.C.S), and 3 (Section 16.1, Article 3271a, V.T.C.S.) of this bill. SECTION BY SECTION ANALYSIS SECTION 1. Amends Section 8, The Texas Engineering Practice Act (Article 3271a, V.T.C.S.), by amending Subsection (c) and adding Subsection (e) to read as follows: (c) Authorizes the Texas Board of Professional Engineers (board) by rule to require, rather than recognize, prepare, or administer, continuing education for persons regulated by the board under this Act. Rules adopted under this subsection cover certain criteria. Deletes reference to programs. (e) Authorizes the board, at the request of any person, to review a proposal for the procurement of services issued by a governmental entity and issue a finding regarding whether the services are within the scope of the practice of professional engineering for purposes of Chapter 2254A, Government Code. SECTION 2. Amends Section 13, The Texas Engineering Practice Act (Article 3271a, V.T.C.S.), by adding Subsection (f) to require the board by rule to adopt a registration fee for a sole proprietorship that is equal to not more than half of the registration fee for other engineering firms. SECTION 3. Amends Section 16.1, The Texas Engineering Practice Act (Article 3271a, V.T.C.S.), to read as follows: Sec. 16.1. EXPIRATION DATES OF LICENSES AND REGISTRATIONS. (a) Authorizes the board by rule to adopt a system under which licenses and registrations expire on various dates during the year, and the dates for reinstatement shall be adjusted accordingly. (b) Requires the board by rule to adopt a system under which the registration of a sole proprietorship expires on the same date the sole proprietor's license expires. SECTION 4. Amends Section 20, The Texas Engineering Practice Act (Article 3271a, V.T.C.S.), by amending Subsection (a) and adding Subsections (h) and (i) to read as follows: (a) Requires certain persons to be exempt from the licensure provisions of this Act, however, the Board is authorized to require those practicing engineering in Texas who are exempt and not licensed to register and pay a fee not to exceed $25, provided that such persons are not directly or indirectly represented or held out to the public to be legally qualified to engage in the practice of engineering. (h) Provides that this Act does not provide or prohibit certain procedures. (i) Requires the board to develop written guidelines, in consultation with certain representatives that describe a distinction between engineering research conducted by faculty at a public or private institution of higher education and other activities conducted by those faculty that constitute engineering consulting or the offering of engineering services to the public. Provides that the guidelines developed under this subsection do not affect or apply to research or consulting performed by private industry. SECTION 5. Prohibits rules adopted under Section 8(c), The Texas Engineering Practice Act (Article 3271a, V.T.C.S.), as amended by this Act, from applying to the renewal of a license before January 1, 2004. SECTION 6. Effective date: September 1, 2001.