The Wise Report
Henry M. Wise, P.G.
August 3, 2018
The Texas Sunset Commission has published its staff report on the Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists (TBPG). Their recommendation is to “Abolish the Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists and repeal the Texas Geoscience Practice Act.” That recommendation is based on key “Findings” in the report. The overall key finding statement of the Sunset Commission staff was that the regulation of Professional Geoscientists “did not provide meaningful public protection.” The full report can be found at: https://www.sunset.texas.gov/reviews-and-reports/agencies/texas-board-professional-geoscientists-tbpg
The full Sunset Staff Report on the Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists was published following certain events and actions in accordance with the process coordinated by the Sunset Commission, including TBPG’s preparation activities (which included a thorough review of the standards by which every agency is reviewed and the a set of standards by which occupational regulatory agencies are reviewed); TBPG’s submission of a Self-Evaluation Report (available on both the TBPG and Sunset Commission websites), and actual review activities which included interviews of TBPG staff, certain Board Members, and certain stakeholders. I only know of two stakeholders who were contacted by the Sunset Commission, one of whom was myself.
The following activities will occur:
- August 16, 2018: TBPG may submit a formal response to the report.
- August 29-30, 2018: Sunset staff will present its report on TBPG at a public hearing of the Sunset Commission. The agency will present its response to the report. The Sunset Commission will allow “limited” public comments. The reason the actual date is uncertain is that a number of agencies will be reported on and the order of the agency presentations has not yet been determined.
- November 14-15, 2018: The Sunset Commission will present its decision on how it will respond to the staff recommendation regarding the discontinuation of the regulation of Professional Geoscientists.
- If the Sunset Commission’s decision is to discontinue the agency, then a bill will be filed in the upcoming 86th Texas Legislative session, beginning in January 2019, to determine how, exactly, the agency would be dissolved or the Sunset Commission could simply let the Texas Geoscience Practice Act and the TBPG agency expire.
- If the Sunset Commission’s decision is to continue the agency, then a bill will be filed in the upcoming 86th Texas Legislative session, beginning in January 2019, to extend the Sunset date in the Texas Geoscience Practice Act.
How you can weigh in on this process?
- Submit comments to the Sunset Commission by following the instructions on the Sunset Commission website: https://www.sunset.texas.gov/reviews-and-reports/agencies/texas-board-professional-geoscientists-tbpg
- Attend and make provide comments (orally or in writing) to the Sunset Commission at its Sunset Advisory Commission Public Hearing on August 29-30, 2018.
- Get together with your local/state/national geologic society to see what support they are planning. There are numerous groups currently gearing up to make recommendations and attend the Public Hearings. These groups are also working together towards supporting the TBPG and I know of at least two meetings coming up this week.
We are also looking into the possible need for a lobbyist to help us with the State Legislature, should the worst happen. This will take money. I suggest you work within your various societies to determine how much they can contribute to the effort, should the need arise. While the recommendations of the Sunset Commission’s Staff Report are disappointing, they aren’t final. Please keep your comments factual and to the point.
Henry M. Wise, P.G.
The Wise Report