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(ETHICS-QUALIFIED LESSON)

TEXAS STATUTES CHAPTERS 152–154 and CHAPTER 52

GOVERNMENT CODE

TITLE 2. JUDICIAL BRANCH

SUBTITLE L. COURT PROFESSIONS REGULATION

CHAPTER 151. GENERAL PROVISIONS

Sec. 151.001. DEFINITIONS. In this subtitle:

(1) "Certification" means a certification issued by the commission.

(2) "Commission" means the Judicial Branch Certification Commission.

(3) "Director" means the administrative director of the office.

(4) "License" means a license issued by the commission.

(5) "Office" means the Office of Court Administration of the Texas Judicial System.

(6) "Registration" means a registration issued by the commission.

(7) "Regulated person" means a person, firm, or other business entity, who holds a certification, registration, or license issued by the commission.

GOVERNMENT CODE

TITLE 2. JUDICIAL BRANCH

SUBTITLE L. COURT PROFESSIONS REGULATION

CHAPTER 152. JUDICIAL BRANCH CERTIFICATION COMMISSION

SUBCHAPTER A. GENERAL PROVISIONS

Sec. 152.001. SUNSET PROVISION. The Judicial Branch Certification Commission is subject to Chapter 325 (Texas Sunset Act), but is not abolished under that chapter. The commission shall be reviewed during the period in which state agencies abolished in 2025, and every 12th year after that year, are reviewed.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 42 (S.B. 966), Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2014.

Amended by:

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 938 (H.B. 3123), Sec. 2.03, eff. June 18, 2015.

Redesignated from Government Code, Subtitle K, Title 2 by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1236 (S.B. 1296), Sec. 21.001(21), eff. September 1, 2015.

Amended by:

Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 596 (S.B. 619), Sec. 3.02, eff. June 10, 2019.

SUBCHAPTER B. COMMISSION

Sec. 152.051. ESTABLISHMENT OF COMMISSION. The Judicial Branch Certification Commission is established to oversee the regulatory programs assigned to it by state law or by the supreme court.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 42 (S.B. 966), Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2014.

Redesignated from Government Code, Subtitle K, Title 2 by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1236 (S.B. 1296), Sec. 21.001(21), eff. September 1, 2015.

Sec. 152.052. APPOINTMENT OF COMMISSION. (a) The commission consists of nine members appointed by the supreme court as follows:

(1) five judges, at least three of whom must be active judges who preside over a court that employs an official court reporter; and

(2) four public members.

(b) Subject to Subsection (d), public members of the commission are appointed as follows:

(1) one member selected by the supreme court from a list of nominees submitted by the Court Reporters Certification Advisory Board established under Section 154.051 to represent that advisory board;

(2) one member selected by the supreme court from a list of nominees submitted by the Guardianship Certification Advisory Board established under Section 155.051 to represent that advisory board;

(3) one member selected by the supreme court from a list of nominees submitted by the Process Server Certification Advisory Board established under Section 156.051 to represent that advisory board; and

(4) one member selected by the supreme court from a list of nominees submitted by the licensed court interpreter advisory board established under Section 157.051 to represent that advisory board.

(c) In making an appointment under Subsection (b), the supreme court may reject one or more of the nominees included on a list submitted by an advisory board and request a new list of nominees that does not include any nominees in the previous list.

(d) The supreme court may appoint to the commission a public member selected by the supreme court if:

(1) an advisory board fails to provide the list of nominees in the time required by the supreme court; or

(2) a selected nominee does not otherwise meet the qualifications required by this chapter.

(e) Appointments to the commission shall be made without regard to the race, color, disability, sex, religion, age, or national origin of the appointee.

(f) A member appointed to the commission must be knowledgeable about the professions certified by the commission.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 42 (S.B. 966), Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2014.

Redesignated from Government Code, Subtitle K, Title 2 by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1236 (S.B. 1296), Sec. 21.001(21), eff. September 1, 2015.

Sec. 152.053. CONFLICT PROVISIONS. (a) In this section, "Texas trade association" means a cooperative and voluntarily joined statewide association of business or professional competitors in this state designed to assist its members and its industry or profession in dealing with mutual business or professional problems and in promoting their common interest.

(b) A person is not eligible for appointment as a member of the commission, or as a member of an advisory board or committee that serves the commission, if the person or the person's spouse:

(1) is employed by or participates in the management of a business entity or other organization receiving funds from the commission;

(2) owns or controls, directly or indirectly, more than a 10 percent interest in a business entity or other organization receiving funds from the commission; or

(3) uses or receives a substantial amount of tangible goods, services, or funds from the commission, other than compensation or reimbursement authorized by law for commission membership, attendance, or expenses.

(c) A person may not serve as a member of the commission, or as a member of an advisory board or committee that serves the commission, or act as the general counsel to the commission if the person is required to register as a lobbyist under Chapter 305 because of the person's activities for compensation on behalf of a profession related to the operation of the commission.

(d) A person may not be a member of the commission, a member of an advisory board or committee that serves the commission, or a commission employee employed in a "bona fide executive, administrative, or professional capacity," as that phrase is used for purposes of establishing an exemption to the overtime provisions of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. Section 201 et seq.), if:

(1) the person is an officer, employee, or paid consultant of a Texas trade association in the legal profession; or

(2) the person's spouse is an officer, manager, or paid consultant of a Texas trade association in the legal profession.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 42 (S.B. 966), Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2014.

Redesignated from Government Code, Subtitle K, Title 2 by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1236 (S.B. 1296), Sec. 21.001(21), eff. September 1, 2015.

Amended by:

Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 516 (S.B. 43), Sec. 3, eff. September 1, 2017.

Sec. 152.054. TRAINING. (a) A person who is appointed to and qualifies for office as a member of the commission may not vote, deliberate, or be counted as a member in attendance at a meeting of the commission until the person completes a training program that complies with this section.

(b) The training program must provide the person with information regarding:

(1) this subtitle and the rules of the commission, with an emphasis on the rules that relate to the commission's disciplinary and investigatory authority;

(2) rules of ethics, codes of conduct, and other rules adopted by the supreme court that are applicable to each profession regulated or subject to oversight by the commission;

(3) the role and functions of the commission;

(4) the current budget for the commission;

(5) the results of the most recent formal audit of the commission; and

(6) any ethics policies applicable to the commission and adopted by the commission or supreme court.

(c) A person appointed to the commission is entitled to reimbursement, as provided by the General Appropriations Act, for the travel expenses incurred in attending the training program regardless of whether the attendance at the program occurs before or after the person qualifies for office.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 42 (S.B. 966), Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2014.

Redesignated from Government Code, Subtitle K, Title 2 by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1236 (S.B. 1296), Sec. 21.001(21), eff. September 1, 2015.

Sec. 152.055. TERMS; VACANCY; REMOVAL. (a) Members of the commission serve staggered six-year terms. The terms of three members expire on February 1 of each odd-numbered year.

(b) If a vacancy occurs during a member's term, the supreme court shall appoint a similarly qualified person to fill the unexpired term.

(c) The supreme court may remove a member of the commission for inefficiency or neglect of duty in office.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 42 (S.B. 966), Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2014.

Redesignated from Government Code, Subtitle K, Title 2 by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1236 (S.B. 1296), Sec. 21.001(21), eff. September 1, 2015.

Sec. 152.056. PRESIDING OFFICER. The supreme court shall designate a member of the commission as presiding officer of the commission to serve in that capacity at the pleasure of the supreme court. The presiding officer may designate a member of the commission to preside over a meeting of the commission in the absence of the presiding officer.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 42 (S.B. 966), Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2014.

Redesignated from Government Code, Subtitle K, Title 2 by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1236 (S.B. 1296), Sec. 21.001(21), eff. September 1, 2015.

Amended by:

Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 516 (S.B. 43), Sec. 4, eff. September 1, 2017.

Sec. 152.057. COMPENSATION; REIMBURSEMENT. (a) A commission member may not receive compensation for service on the commission.

(b) A commission member is entitled to reimbursement for travel expenses and other actual and necessary expenses incurred in performing functions as a commission member, subject to any applicable limitation on reimbursement provided by the General Appropriations Act.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 42 (S.B. 966), Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2014.

Redesignated from Government Code, Subtitle K, Title 2 by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1236 (S.B. 1296), Sec. 21.001(21), eff. September 1, 2015.

Sec. 152.058. MEETINGS. (a) The commission shall meet at least once in each quarter of the fiscal year.

(b) The commission may meet at other times at the call of the presiding officer or as provided by commission rules.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 42 (S.B. 966), Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2014.

Redesignated from Government Code, Subtitle K, Title 2 by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1236 (S.B. 1296), Sec. 21.001(21), eff. September 1, 2015.

Sec. 152.059. PUBLIC TESTIMONY. The commission shall develop and implement policies that provide the public with a reasonable opportunity to appear before the commission and to speak on any issue under the jurisdiction of the commission.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 42 (S.B. 966), Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2014.

Redesignated from Government Code, Subtitle K, Title 2 by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1236 (S.B. 1296), Sec. 21.001(21), eff. September 1, 2015.

SUBCHAPTER C. ADMINISTRATION

Sec. 152.101. RULES. The supreme court may adopt rules consistent with this subtitle, including rules governing the certification, registration, licensing, and conduct of persons regulated under this subtitle. The supreme court may authorize the commission to adopt rules as the supreme court considers appropriate or as otherwise specified under this subtitle.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 42 (S.B. 966), Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2014.

Redesignated from Government Code, Subtitle K, Title 2 by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1236 (S.B. 1296), Sec. 21.001(21), eff. September 1, 2015.

Sec. 152.102. RULES REGARDING ADVERTISING OR COMPETITIVE BIDDING. (a) Subject to any rules related to ethics or professional conduct promulgated by the supreme court, the supreme court may not adopt rules restricting advertising or competitive bidding by a holder of a certification, registration, or license except to prohibit false, misleading, or deceptive practices.

(b) In its rules to prohibit false, misleading, or deceptive practices, the supreme court may not include a rule that:

(1) restricts the use of any medium for advertising;

(2) restricts the use of a regulated person's personal appearance or voice in an advertisement;

(3) relates to the size or duration of an advertisement by the regulated person; or

(4) restricts the regulated person's advertisement under a trade name.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 42 (S.B. 966), Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2014.

Redesignated from Government Code, Subtitle K, Title 2 by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1236 (S.B. 1296), Sec. 21.001(21), eff. September 1, 2015.

Sec. 152.103. ADMINISTRATIVE ATTACHMENT. (a) The commission is administratively attached to the office.

(b) Notwithstanding any other law, the office shall:

(1) provide administrative assistance, services, and materials to the commission, including budget planning and purchasing;

(2) accept, deposit, and disburse money made available to the commission;

(3) reimburse the travel expenses and other actual and necessary expenses of commission members incurred in the performance of official commission duties, as provided by the General Appropriations Act; and

(4) provide the commission with adequate computer equipment and support.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 42 (S.B. 966), Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2014.

Redesignated from Government Code, Subtitle K, Title 2 by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1236 (S.B. 1296), Sec. 21.001(21), eff. September 1, 2015.

Sec. 152.104. DIRECTOR. The director shall:

(1) perform any duty assigned by the commission and other duties specified by law; and

(2) administer and enforce the commission's programs.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 42 (S.B. 966), Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2014.

Redesignated from Government Code, Subtitle K, Title 2 by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1236 (S.B. 1296), Sec. 21.001(21), eff. September 1, 2015.

Sec. 152.105. DIVISION OF RESPONSIBILITIES. The commission shall develop and implement policies that clearly separate the policy-making responsibilities of the commission and the management responsibilities of the director and the staff of the office.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 42 (S.B. 966), Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2014.

Redesignated from Government Code, Subtitle K, Title 2 by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1236 (S.B. 1296), Sec. 21.001(21), eff. September 1, 2015.

Sec. 152.106. USE OF TECHNOLOGY. The commission shall implement a policy requiring the commission to use appropriate technological solutions to improve the commission's ability to perform its functions. The policy must ensure that the public is able to interact with the commission on the Internet.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 42 (S.B. 966), Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2014.

Redesignated from Government Code, Subtitle K, Title 2 by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1236 (S.B. 1296), Sec. 21.001(21), eff. September 1, 2015.

Sec. 152.107. INFORMATION ON STANDARDS OF CONDUCT. The director or the director's designee shall provide to members of the commission and to office employees, as often as necessary, information regarding the requirements for service or employment under this subtitle, including information regarding a person's responsibilities under applicable laws relating to standards of conduct for state officers or employees.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 42 (S.B. 966), Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2014.

Redesignated from Government Code, Subtitle K, Title 2 by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1236 (S.B. 1296), Sec. 21.001(21), eff. September 1, 2015.

Sec. 152.108. PUBLIC INTEREST INFORMATION. (a) The commission shall prepare information of public interest describing the functions of the commission under this subtitle and the procedure by which complaints are filed and resolved under this subtitle.

(b) The commission shall make the information available to the public and appropriate state agencies.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 42 (S.B. 966), Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2014.

Redesignated from Government Code, Subtitle K, Title 2 by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1236 (S.B. 1296), Sec. 21.001(21), eff. September 1, 2015.

Sec. 152.109. NOTICE OF COMPLAINT PROCESS. (a) The commission shall establish methods by which consumers are notified of the name, mailing address, and telephone number of the commission for the purpose of directing complaints about persons regulated under this subtitle to the commission.

(b) The commission shall list with its regular telephone number any toll-free telephone number established under other state law that may be called to present a complaint about a person regulated under this subtitle.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 42 (S.B. 966), Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2014.

Redesignated from Government Code, Subtitle K, Title 2 by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1236 (S.B. 1296), Sec. 21.001(21), eff. September 1, 2015.

Amended by:

Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 516 (S.B. 43), Sec. 5, eff. September 1, 2017.

Sec. 152.110. RECORDS OF COMPLAINTS. (a) The commission shall maintain a file on each written complaint filed with the commission under this subtitle. The file must include:

(1) the name of the person who filed the complaint;

(2) the date the complaint is received by the commission;

(3) the subject matter of the complaint;

(4) the name of each person contacted in relation to the complaint;

(5) a summary of the results of the review or investigation of the complaint; and

(6) an explanation of the reason the file was closed, if the commission closed the file without taking action other than to investigate the complaint.

(b) The commission shall provide to the person filing the complaint and to each person who is a subject of the complaint a copy of the commission's policies and procedures relating to complaint investigation and resolution. A person who reports a complaint by telephone shall be given information on how to file a written complaint.

(c) The commission, at least quarterly and until final disposition of the complaint, shall notify the person filing the complaint and each person who is a subject of the complaint of the status of the investigation unless the notice would jeopardize an ongoing investigation.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 42 (S.B. 966), Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2014.

Redesignated from Government Code, Subtitle K, Title 2 by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1236 (S.B. 1296), Sec. 21.001(21), eff. September 1, 2015.

Sec. 152.111. COMPLAINT DISMISSAL. (a) The commission may adopt a policy allowing office employees to dismiss a complaint that:

(1) clearly does not allege misconduct;

(2) is not within the commission's jurisdiction; or

(3) alleges misconduct that took place more than five years before the date the complaint was filed.

(b) Office employees shall inform the commission of all dismissals made under this section.

(c) A person who files a complaint that is dismissed under this section may, not later than the 30th day after the date of notice of the dismissal, request in writing that the commission reconsider the complaint.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 42 (S.B. 966), Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2014.

Redesignated from Government Code, Subtitle K, Title 2 by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1236 (S.B. 1296), Sec. 21.001(21), eff. September 1, 2015.

Amended by:

Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 516 (S.B. 43), Sec. 6, eff. September 1, 2017.

Sec. 152.112. ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION PROCEDURES. (a) The commission shall develop and implement a policy to encourage the use of appropriate alternative dispute resolution procedures to assist in the resolution of internal and external disputes under the commission's jurisdiction.

(b) The procedures relating to alternative dispute resolution under this section must conform, to the extent possible, to any model guidelines issued by the State Office of Administrative Hearings for the use of alternative dispute resolution by state agencies.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 42 (S.B. 966), Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2014.

Redesignated from Government Code, Subtitle K, Title 2 by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1236 (S.B. 1296), Sec. 21.001(21), eff. September 1, 2015.

SUBCHAPTER D. POWERS AND DUTIES

Sec. 152.151. GENERAL POWERS AND DUTIES. (a) The commission shall:

(1) administer and enforce this subtitle;

(2) in consultation with appropriate advisory boards, develop and recommend rules to the supreme court;

(3) in consultation with appropriate advisory boards, develop and recommend to the supreme court a code of ethics for each profession regulated under this subtitle;

(4) set fees in amounts reasonable and necessary to cover the costs of administering the programs or activities administered by the commission, including examinations and issuance and renewal of certifications, registrations, and licenses; and

(5) in consultation with appropriate advisory boards, establish qualifications for certification, registration, and licensing under this subtitle.

(b) The commission may:

(1) require applicants for certification, registration, or licensing under this subtitle to pass an examination that is developed and administered by the commission, or by the commission in conjunction with a person with whom the commission contracts to develop and administer the examination, and charge fees for the examination;

(2) require regulated persons to obtain continuing education; and

(3) appoint necessary committees.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 42 (S.B. 966), Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2014.

Redesignated from Government Code, Subtitle K, Title 2 by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1236 (S.B. 1296), Sec. 21.001(21), eff. September 1, 2015.

Sec. 152.152. ADVISORY BOARDS. (a) In addition to the advisory boards specifically established under this subtitle, the commission may establish other advisory boards to advise the commission on policy and persons regulated under this subtitle.

(b) An advisory board established under this subtitle, including under this section, shall meet at least once each year and at the call of the presiding officer.

(c) An advisory board established under this subtitle, including under this section, shall assist the commission by developing and recommending rules to the commission. The advisory board may establish subcommittees to fulfill the duties imposed under this subsection.

(d) An advisory board member serves without compensation but is entitled to reimbursement for travel expenses and other actual and necessary expenses incurred in performing functions as an advisory board member, subject to any applicable limitation on reimbursement provided by the General Appropriations Act.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 42 (S.B. 966), Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2014.

Redesignated from Government Code, Subtitle K, Title 2 by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1236 (S.B. 1296), Sec. 21.001(21), eff. September 1, 2015.

SUBCHAPTER E. CERTIFICATION, REGISTRATION, AND LICENSING REQUIREMENTS

Sec. 152.201. EXAMINATIONS. (a) Not later than the 30th day after the date a person takes an examination, the commission shall notify the person of the results of the examination.

(b) If the examination is graded or reviewed by a testing service:

(1) the commission shall notify the person of the results of the examination not later than the 30th day after the date the commission receives the results from the testing service; and

(2) if notice of the examination results will be delayed for longer than 90 days after the examination date, the commission shall notify the person of the reason for the delay before the 90th day.

(c) The commission may require a testing service to:

(1) notify a person of the results of the person's examination; or

(2) collect a fee for administering an examination from a person taking the examination.

(c-1) A passing score on an applicable examination is valid for purposes of certification, registration, or licensing for a period of two years after the date of the examination. A person who does not apply to become certified, licensed, or registered before the expiration of the two-year period must repeat and pass the examination.

(d) If requested in writing by a person who fails an examination, the commission shall furnish the person with an analysis of the person's performance on the examination. A person may not view a copy of the examination.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 42 (S.B. 966), Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2014.

Redesignated from Government Code, Subtitle K, Title 2 by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1236 (S.B. 1296), Sec. 21.001(21), eff. September 1, 2015.

Amended by:

Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 516 (S.B. 43), Sec. 7, eff. September 1, 2017.

Sec. 152.2015. CERTIFICATION, REGISTRATION, AND LICENSING FEE AND RENEWAL. (a) A person, firm, or business entity must pay the commission an initial fee and any other required fee to receive a certification, registration, or license from the commission.

(b) A regulated person who is otherwise eligible to renew a certification, registration, or license may renew an unexpired certification, registration, or license by paying the required renewal fee to the commission before the expiration date. A regulated person whose certification, registration, or license has expired may not engage in any applicable regulated activity until the certification, registration, or license has been renewed.

(c) A regulated person whose certification, registration, or license has been expired for 90 days or fewer may renew the certification, registration, or license by paying to the commission a renewal fee that is equal to one and one-half times the normally required renewal fee.

(d) A regulated person whose certification, registration, or license has been expired for more than 90 days but less than one year may renew the certification, registration, or license by paying to the commission a renewal fee that is equal to twice the normally required renewal fee.

(e) Except as provided by Subsection (f), a person, firm, or business entity may not renew an expired certification, registration, or license one year or more after expiration. The person, firm, or business entity may obtain a new certification, registration, or license by complying with the requirements and procedures, including the examination requirements, for obtaining an original certification, registration, or license.

(f) A person may, without examination, renew a certification, registration, or license which has been expired for one year or longer, if:

(1) before applying for renewal, the person had moved to another state or jurisdiction;

(2) at the time of applying for renewal, the person is certified, registered, or licensed in good standing in the other state or jurisdiction to practice the profession for which the expired certification, registration, or license is required;

(3) the person has been in practice in that profession in that state for one year or more preceding the date the person applies for renewal; and

(4) the person pays to the commission a fee that is equal to twice the normally required renewal fee for the certification, registration, or license.

(g) Not later than the 30th day before the date a regulated person's certification, registration, or license is scheduled to expire, the commission shall send written notice of the impending expiration to the regulated person at the person's last known address according to the records of the commission.

Added by Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 516 (S.B. 43), Sec. 8, eff. September 1, 2017.

Sec. 152.202. ENDORSEMENT; RECIPROCITY. (a) The commission may waive any prerequisite to obtaining a certification, registration, or license for an applicant after reviewing the applicant's credentials and determining that the applicant holds a certification, registration, or license issued by another jurisdiction that has certification, registration, or licensing requirements substantially equivalent to those of this state.

(b) The commission may waive any prerequisite to obtaining a certification, registration, or license for an applicant who holds a certification, registration, or license issued by another jurisdiction with which this state has a reciprocity agreement. The commission may make an agreement, subject to the approval of the supreme court, with another state to allow for certification, registration, or licensing by reciprocity.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 42 (S.B. 966), Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2014.

Redesignated from Government Code, Subtitle K, Title 2 by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1236 (S.B. 1296), Sec. 21.001(21), eff. September 1, 2015.

Sec. 152.203. RULES ON INELIGIBILITY. The supreme court shall adopt rules on applicants' ineligibility for certification, registration, or licensing under this subtitle based on the person's criminal history or other information that indicates the person lacks the honesty, trustworthiness, or integrity to hold the certification, registration, or license.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 42 (S.B. 966), Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2014.

Redesignated from Government Code, Subtitle K, Title 2 by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1236 (S.B. 1296), Sec. 21.001(21), eff. September 1, 2015.

Sec. 152.204. CONTINUING EDUCATION. (a) The supreme court may authorize and the commission by rule may require continuing professional education for persons regulated under this subtitle.

(b) The rules for continuing professional education adopted by the commission may include standards relating to:

(1) reporting by regulated persons or by providers of continuing professional education;

(2) continuing professional education course content; and

(3) the minimum number of continuing professional education hours required.

(c) The commission by rule may exempt certain persons, including retired persons and persons with disabilities, from all or a portion of the continuing education requirements.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 42 (S.B. 966), Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2014.

Redesignated from Government Code, Subtitle K, Title 2 by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1236 (S.B. 1296), Sec. 21.001(21), eff. September 1, 2015.

Sec. 152.205. CODE OF ETHICS. (a) The commission shall develop and recommend to the supreme court for adoption by rule a code of ethics for persons regulated under this subtitle. In developing the code of ethics, the commission may use the codes of ethics adopted by state or national associations as models.

(b) The commission shall publish the code of ethics after adoption by the supreme court.

(c) After publishing the code of ethics, the commission shall propose to the supreme court a rule stating that a person who violates the code of ethics is subject to commission enforcement under Chapter 153.

(d) The commission shall update the code of ethics as necessary to reflect changes in technology or other factors affecting a profession regulated under this subtitle.

GOVERNMENT CODE

TITLE 2. JUDICIAL BRANCH

SUBTITLE L. COURT PROFESSIONS REGULATION

CHAPTER 153. COMMISSION ENFORCEMENT

SUBCHAPTER A. GENERAL ENFORCEMENT PROVISIONS

Sec. 153.0001. FILING COMPLAINT. (a) To file a complaint with the commission against a regulated person or another person alleged to have unlawfully engaged in conduct regulated under this subchapter, a person must:

(1) have personal knowledge of the alleged violation;

(2) complete a complaint form provided by the commission;

(3) sign the completed complaint form; and

(4) attach any pertinent documentary evidence to the complaint form.

(b) On receipt of a properly executed complaint, the commission shall furnish a copy of the complaint and any attachments to the person who is the subject of the complaint.

(c) This section does not preclude the commission, an advisory board of the commission, or a court of this state from filing a complaint.

Added by Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 516 (S.B. 43), Sec. 10, eff. September 1, 2017.

Sec. 153.001. INVESTIGATIONS. The commission may conduct investigations as necessary to enforce the laws administered by the commission.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 42 (S.B. 966), Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2014.

Redesignated from Government Code, Subtitle K, Title 2 by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1236 (S.B. 1296), Sec. 21.001(21), eff. September 1, 2015.

Sec. 153.002. SUBPOENAS. (a) The commission may issue a subpoena as provided by this section.

(b) The commission may request and, if necessary, compel by subpoena:

(1) the production for inspection and copying of records, documents, and other evidence relevant to the investigation of an alleged violation of this subtitle, a law establishing a regulatory program administered by the commission, a rule adopted under this subtitle, or an order issued by the commission or director; and

(2) the attendance of a witness for examination under oath.

(c) A subpoena under this section may be issued throughout this state and may be served by any person designated by the commission or the director.

(d) The commission, acting through the attorney general, may bring an action to enforce a subpoena issued under this section against a person who fails to comply with the subpoena.

(e) Venue for an action brought under this section is in a district court in:

(1) Travis County; or

(2) any county in which the commission may hold a hearing.

(f) The court shall order compliance with the subpoena if the court finds that good cause exists to issue the subpoena.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 42 (S.B. 966), Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2014.

Redesignated from Government Code, Subtitle K, Title 2 by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1236 (S.B. 1296), Sec. 21.001(21), eff. September 1, 2015.

Sec. 153.003. CEASE AND DESIST ORDER. (a) The director may issue a temporary cease and desist order for the duration of an investigation and disciplinary action by the commission if the director determines that the action is necessary to prevent a violation of:

(1) this subtitle;

(2) a law establishing a regulatory program administered by the commission; or

(3) a rule adopted under this subtitle or order issued by the commission or the director.

(b) A cease and desist order may require a person to cease and desist from committing a violation listed under Subsection (a) or from engaging in any practice regulated by the commission as necessary to prevent the violation.

(c) A person to whom a cease and desist order is issued may file a written request for a hearing before the commission. The person must file the hearing request not later than the 10th day after the date of receipt of the order. The commission must conduct the hearing not later than the 30th day after the date of the hearing request.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 42 (S.B. 966), Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2014.

Redesignated from Government Code, Subtitle K, Title 2 by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1236 (S.B. 1296), Sec. 21.001(21), eff. September 1, 2015.

Amended by:

Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 516 (S.B. 43), Sec. 11, eff. September 1, 2017.

Sec. 153.004. DENIAL, REVOCATION, SUSPENSION, OR REFUSAL TO RENEW; REPRIMAND; PROBATION. (a) The commission may deny, revoke, suspend, or refuse to renew a certification, registration, or license or may reprimand a regulated person for a violation of this subtitle, a law establishing a regulatory program administered by the commission, a rule adopted under this subtitle, or an order issued by the commission or director.

(b) The commission may place on probation a person whose certification, registration, or license is suspended. If a certification, registration, or license suspension is probated, the commission may require the person to:

(1) report regularly to the commission on matters that are the basis of the probation;

(2) limit practice to the areas prescribed by the commission; or

(3) continue or review professional education until the person attains a degree of skill satisfactory to the commission in those areas that are the basis for the probation.

(c) On the commission's motion, or on the recommendation of commission staff, the commission may conduct a hearing to inquire into a suspension. If the commission determines that a person has not corrected the deficiencies that were the grounds of the suspension or has not complied with the conditions imposed by the commission, the commission may revoke or take other disciplinary action against the person's certification, registration, or license.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 42 (S.B. 966), Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2014.

Redesignated from Government Code, Subtitle K, Title 2 by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1236 (S.B. 1296), Sec. 21.001(21), eff. September 1, 2015.

Amended by:

Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 516 (S.B. 43), Sec. 12, eff. September 1, 2017.

Sec. 153.005. INJUNCTION. (a) The commission may apply to a district court in any county for an injunction to restrain a violation of this subtitle or a rule adopted under this subtitle by a person.

(b) At the request of the commission, the attorney general shall initiate and conduct an action in a district court in the state's name to obtain an injunction under this section.

(c) If the state prevails in a suit under this section, the attorney general may recover on behalf of the state reasonable attorney's fees, court costs, and reasonable investigative costs incurred in relation to the proceeding.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 42 (S.B. 966), Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2014.

Redesignated from Government Code, Subtitle K, Title 2 by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1236 (S.B. 1296), Sec. 21.001(21), eff. September 1, 2015.

SUBCHAPTER B. ADMINISTRATIVE PENALTY; ADMINISTRATIVE SANCTION

Sec. 153.051. IMPOSITION OF PENALTY. (a) The commission may impose an administrative penalty on a person who violates:

(1) this subtitle;

(2) a statute establishing a regulatory program administered by the commission;

(3) a rule or standard adopted under this subtitle; or

(4) an order issued by the commission or director under this subtitle.

(b) A proceeding under this subchapter imposing an administrative penalty may be combined with a proceeding to impose an administrative sanction otherwise imposed under this subtitle.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 42 (S.B. 966), Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2014.

Redesignated from Government Code, Subtitle K, Title 2 by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1236 (S.B. 1296), Sec. 21.001(21), eff. September 1, 2015.

Amended by:

Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 516 (S.B. 43), Sec. 13, eff. September 1, 2017.

Sec. 153.052. AMOUNT OF PENALTY. (a) The amount of an administrative penalty may not exceed $500 for each violation, and each day a violation continues or occurs is a separate violation for purposes of imposing a penalty.

(b) The amount shall be based on:

(1) the seriousness of the violation, including the nature, circumstances, extent, and gravity of the violation;

(2) the threat to health or safety caused by the violation;

(3) any previous violations;

(4) the amount necessary to deter a future violation;

(5) whether the violator demonstrated good faith, including when applicable whether the violator made good faith efforts to correct the violation; and

(6) any other matter that justice may require.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 42 (S.B. 966), Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2014.

Redesignated from Government Code, Subtitle K, Title 2 by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1236 (S.B. 1296), Sec. 21.001(21), eff. September 1, 2015.

Sec. 153.053. REPORT AND NOTICE OF VIOLATION, PENALTY, AND SANCTION. (a) The commission shall appoint a committee of advisory board members to review a complaint, make the initial written determination on whether a violation occurred, and impose a penalty, a sanction, or both for violations. The committee shall state the committee's written determination as proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law, separately stated.

(b) The committee shall give to the person who is the subject of the complaint reviewed under Subsection (a) written notice by certified mail of the committee's determination on whether a violation occurred and each penalty or sanction, if any.

(c) The notice required under Subsection (b) must:

(1) include a brief summary of the alleged violation;

(2) state the amount of any penalty;

(3) state any sanction; and

(4) inform the person of the person's right to a hearing on the occurrence of the violation, the amount of the penalty, the imposition of the sanction, or any combination.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 42 (S.B. 966), Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2014.

Redesignated from Government Code, Subtitle K, Title 2 by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1236 (S.B. 1296), Sec. 21.001(21), eff. September 1, 2015.

Amended by:

Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 516 (S.B. 43), Sec. 13, eff. September 1, 2017.

Sec. 153.054. PENALTY PAID, SANCTION ACCEPTED, OR HEARING REQUESTED. (a) Not later than the 20th day after the date the person receives the notice sent under Section 153.053, the person in writing may:

(1) accept the determination of the committee appointed under Section 153.053 and the imposition of the penalty or sanction as an agreed order to be presented to the commission; or

(2) request a hearing before the commission on the occurrence of the violation, the imposition or amount of the penalty, the imposition of the sanction, or any combination.

(b) If the person accepts the determination and penalty or sanction as an agreed order, the commission shall review the proposed agreed order and accept, revise, or reject it or remand the matter to the committee for further review. The commission shall give to the person written notice of the commission's determination under this subsection. If the commission revises or rejects the proposed agreed order, the person may:

(1) accept the commission's determination, penalty, or sanction; or

(2) request a hearing not later than the 20th day after the date of receiving notice of the commission's determination.

(c) If the person fails to respond to the notice sent under Section 153.053, the commission may issue a default order to approve the determination of the committee and impose or revise the committee's proposed penalty, sanction, or both.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 42 (S.B. 966), Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2014.

Redesignated from Government Code, Subtitle K, Title 2 by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1236 (S.B. 1296), Sec. 21.001(21), eff. September 1, 2015.

Amended by:

Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 516 (S.B. 43), Sec. 13, eff. September 1, 2017.

Sec. 153.055. NOTICE; HEARING. (a) If the person requests a hearing, the commission shall give to the person written notice of the hearing that includes the time, place, legal authority, and jurisdiction under which the hearing is held and the laws and rules related to the violation.

(b) The person may appear, present evidence, and respond to questions from the commission at the hearing.

(c) The commission shall adopt, revise, or reject the committee's findings of fact and conclusions of law and promptly issue an order on the occurrence of the violation, the amount of any penalty imposed, and the imposition of any sanction. The commission shall give the person notice of the order.

(d) On approval of the supreme court, the commission may adopt rules governing the hearing, including rules on appearance by telephone. To the extent not inconsistent with this subchapter or commission rules, the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, including discovery rules, apply to the hearing, except that the commission may deviate from those rules as necessary for a full and fair adjudication and determination of fact or law.

(e) The presiding officer of the commission may hold prehearing conferences. The presiding officer may issue orders, including scheduling orders, and may designate the discovery control plan or otherwise limit or modify discovery before a hearing.

(f) The notice of the commission's order under Subsection (c) must include a statement of the right of the person to appeal the order under Section 153.058.

(g) On request of the commission, at least one member of the applicable advisory board committee shall attend the hearing to consult with the commission on the reasons for the advisory board committee's determination and proposed penalty or sanction under Section 153.053(a).

(h) At the hearing, the commission shall apply the general rules of evidence applicable in a district court, except that the commission may admit and consider any information the commission determines is relevant, trustworthy, and necessary for a full and fair adjudication and determination of fact or law.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 42 (S.B. 966), Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2014.

Redesignated from Government Code, Subtitle K, Title 2 by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1236 (S.B. 1296), Sec. 21.001(21), eff. September 1, 2015.

Amended by:

Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 516 (S.B. 43), Sec. 14, eff. September 1, 2017.

Sec. 153.056. OPTIONS FOLLOWING DECISION: PAY, ACCEPT, OR APPEAL. Not later than the 30th day after the date the order of the commission imposing an administrative penalty or sanction under Section 153.055 becomes final, the person shall:

(1) accept the obligation to pay the penalty or accept the sanction; or

(2) file an appeal of the commission's order contesting the findings of fact, the conclusions of law, the occurrence of the violation, the imposition or amount of the penalty, the imposition of the sanction, or any combination.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 42 (S.B. 966), Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2014.

Redesignated from Government Code, Subtitle K, Title 2 by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1236 (S.B. 1296), Sec. 21.001(21), eff. September 1, 2015.

Amended by:

Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 516 (S.B. 43), Sec. 15, eff. September 1, 2017.

Sec. 153.057. COLLECTION OF PENALTY. (a) If the person does not pay the penalty and the enforcement of the penalty is not stayed in accordance with supreme court rules, the penalty may be collected.

(b) The attorney general may sue to collect the penalty and may recover reasonable expenses, including attorney's fees, incurred in recovering the penalty.

(c) A penalty collected under this subchapter shall be deposited in the state treasury in the general revenue fund.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 42 (S.B. 966), Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2014.

Redesignated from Government Code, Subtitle K, Title 2 by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1236 (S.B. 1296), Sec. 21.001(21), eff. September 1, 2015.

Sec. 153.058. APPEAL OF DECISION. (a) The supreme court shall adopt rules governing appeals under this subchapter.

(b) The rules must require the appeal to be made to a special committee consisting of three regional presiding judges. If the alleged violation involves a certified guardian, the committee must consist of two regional presiding judges and the presiding judge of the statutory probate courts.

(c) An appeal must be filed not later than the 30th day after the date the commission's order is issued.

(d) The special committee shall consider the appeal under an abuse of discretion standard of review for all issues except issues involving questions of law. The standard of review for issues involving questions of law is de novo.

(e) The special committee may confer in writing with a certification, registration, or license holder who is in the same profession as the person appealing the commission's order if the special committee provides to the person:

(1) notice of the special committee's request for information; and

(2) a copy of the certification, registration, or license holder's response.

(f) If the special committee sustains the finding that a violation occurred, the special committee may:

(1) uphold or reduce the amount of any penalty and order the person to pay the full or reduced amount of the penalty; and

(2) uphold or reduce any other sanction and order the imposition of the sanction.

(g) If the special committee does not sustain the finding that a violation occurred, the special committee shall order that a penalty is not owed and that a sanction may not be imposed.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 42 (S.B. 966), Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2014.

Redesignated from Government Code, Subtitle K, Title 2 by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1236 (S.B. 1296), Sec. 21.001(21), eff. September 1, 2015.

Amended by:

Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 516 (S.B. 43), Sec. 16, eff. September 1, 2017.

Sec. 153.059. REMITTANCE OF PENALTY AND INTEREST. (a) If the person paid the penalty and if the amount of the penalty is reduced or the penalty is not upheld by the special committee, the special committee shall order that the appropriate amount plus accrued interest be remitted to the person not later than the 30th day after the date the judgment of the special committee becomes final.

(b) The interest accrues at the rate charged on loans to depository institutions by the New York Federal Reserve Bank.

(c) The interest shall be paid for the period beginning on the date the penalty is paid and ending on the date the penalty is remitted.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 42 (S.B. 966), Sec. 1.01, eff. September 1, 2014.

Redesignated from Government Code, Subtitle K, Title 2 by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1236 (S.B. 1296), Sec. 21.001(21), eff. September 1, 2015.

Sec. 153.060. REISSUANCE OF CERTIFICATE, REGISTRATION, OR LICENSE. (a) The commission may reissue a certificate, registration, or license that has been revoked or that the commissioner has refused to renew as a disciplinary sanction if the individual who was subject to the revocation or nonrenewal applies in writing to the commission and establishes good cause to justify reissuance of the certificate, registration, or license. The applicant has the burden of proving:

(1) the correction of the grounds for the revocation or the commission's refusal to renew the certificate, registration, or license;

(2) good faith efforts to correct, resolve, or otherwise cure the damages arising from the grounds for the revocation or the refusal to renew the certificate, registration, or license;

(3) that reissuance would not pose a threat to public health, safety, and welfare; and

(4) any other rehabilitative efforts.

(b) The commission may impose conditions on the revocation or refusal to renew a certificate, registration, or license that may include:

(1) prohibiting a person from applying for reissuance for a specified period; and

(2) imposing some or all prer...

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