Honorable Yvonne Davis, Chair, House Committee on Urban Affairs
John S. O'Brien, Director, Legislative Budget Board
HB3390 by Harper-Brown (Relating to the continuation and functions of the Texas Commission on Fire Protection.), As Introduced
The Texas Commission on Fire Protection (TCFP) is subject to the Sunset Act and will be abolished on September 1, 2009, unless continued by the Legislature. The bill continues the Commission for the standard 12-year period and contains the following Sunset Commission recommendations.
· Removes provisions relating to the Fire Fighters Advisory Committee that restrict TCFP's ability to effectively decide and implement policy.
· Repeals TCFP's Fire Department Emergency Program and transfers funding for the grant program to the Texas Forest Service (TFS), maintaining the existing eligibility of departments without regard to the number of paid personnel.
· Requires TCFP to conduct fingerprint-based state and national criminal background checks of all applicants for certifications if not separately provided by applicants or fire departments, and to collect a fee in an amount necessary to recover costs.
· Requires fire departments to submit continuing education records to TCFP at the time of certification renewal.
· Authorizes TCFP to establish a risk-based approach to conducting inspections and provides risk criteria to guide TCFP.
· Requires TCFP to timely open a complaint case on a violation found during an inspection.
· Requires TCFP to establish an enforcement matrix in rule to guide TCFP in determining penalty amounts or disciplinary actions for regulated entities and certified personnel.
· Authorizes TCFP to issue a default order when a regulated entity does not respond to attempts to resolve the violation.
· Requires TCFP to develop a method for analyzing trends in complaints and violations.
· Authorizes TCFP to temporarily suspend a certification.
· Requires TCFP to review fire fighter injury information and make recommendations to the State Fire Marshal's Office for reducing these injuries. Allows TCFP, based on these investigations, to provide technical assistance to identified fire departments.
· Applies and updates other standard Sunset Across-the-Board recommendations.
· Provides for changes in law to have an effective date of September 1, 2009.
This analysis assumes that cost/savings estimates provided by the Sunset Advisory Commission and TCFP could be met with existing resources and no significant fiscal impact to the State. While the bill would free up one TCFP full-time-equivalent (FTE) due to transferring administration of the Fire Department Emergency Program funding to the Texas Forest Service, the cost estimate assumes that TCFP would use this FTE, and other staff resources freed up by streamlining TCFP's enforcement, certification, and inspection functions, to implement other provisions in the bill. The Texas Forest Service anticipates no fiscal impact from passage of the bill.
116 Sunset Advisory Commission, 411 Commission on Fire Protection, 576 Texas Forest Service
JOB, DB, GG, AI, SK