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Amendments to Title 30, Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 30 Occupational Licenses and Registrations

The Occupational Licensing & Registration Division (OLRD) proposes to amend 30 TAC Chapter 30, Occupational Licenses and Registrations and is accepting informal public comment. This would include adding a new provisional license for water and wastewater operators, requiring fingerprinting for background checks, changing the continuing education requirements for Leaking Petroleum Storage Tank Project Managers, requiring resiliency training for water operators, updating definitions and terminology, allowing TCEQ to issue digital licenses, and adding a timeframe for TCEQ to issue licenses to military service members in certain circumstances.

TCEQ held an informal stakeholder meeting on Thursday, March 7th, 2024, to discuss the proposed changes. A recording of the stakeholder meeting (YouTube) and a presentation is available.

The public comment period ended on March 12, 2024. We will take the comments we received into consideration when drafting the rules, but will not formally respond.

After the draft rules are published, there will be additional opportunity for the public to participate and submit formal comments.

Provisional License for Water and Wastewater Operators

TCEQ is now required to establish, by rule, a provisional occupational license for Class D wastewater operators and public water system operators for those without a high school diploma or equivalent.

House Bill (HB) 1845, by Representatives Metcalf and Troxclair, created this new requirement by adding Texas Water Code (TWC) Section 37.0045, Qualifications for Certain Licenses.

Digital Licensing

Licensing agencies, such as TCEQ, may now issue a digital license or certificate of registration in lieu of a physical paper license.

HB 2453, by Representative Guillen, created this option by adding Texas Occupations Code (TOC) Chapter 60, Digital Licenses.

Licenses for Military Service Members

TCEQ must now process applications and issue the license for qualified military service members, veterans, or spouses, within 30 days of receipt.

Senate Bill (SB) 422, by Senator Paxton, created these requirements by amending TOC Chapter 55, Licensing of Military Service Members, Military Veterans, and Military Spouses.

OLRD proposes to incorporate operator resiliency training requirements to assist licensed operators, public water systems, and affected utilities in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from severe weather-related events. TCEQ’s rule currently requires specific courses to be taken to qualify for specific license levels. This rulemaking would codify the new requirements for new and renewal of public water system operator licenses.

This proposal is in response to Winter Storm Uri and SB 3 from the 87th Texas Legislature and would amend 30 TAC Chapter 30. TCEQ has the authority to expand the requirements for minimum operator training under existing language in TWC Section 37.002 and 30 TAC Chapter 30 Subchapter K.

Fingerprinting Requirements

OLRD proposes amendments that would require all applicants for new and renewal licenses to subscribe to FBI fingerprinting for the criminal history review. This change will give TCEQ access to national criminal history rather than only the information from the Texas Department of Public Safety.

This will allow TCEQ to meet the statutory requirement to automatically revoke a license or registration upon an individual’s imprisonment following a criminal conviction, felony community supervision revocation, revocation of parole, or revocation of mandatory supervision, as stated in 30 TAC Subsection 53.021(b).

Currently, TCEQ does not have a way to know when a licensee is imprisoned due to a felony conviction until they submit a renewal application, which could potentially be three years after the conviction. Through the FBI fingerprint subscription, the agency will receive notification through the Criminal Justice Rap Back Program of Texas when a person who has fingerprints on file with the FBI has criminal activity associated with those fingerprints. Additionally, this would allow TCEQ to verify out-of-state offenses to ensure an applicant’s self-attestations are complete and accurate to protect public safety.

Continuing Education (CE) for Leaking Petroleum Storage Tank Project Manager Licenses

OLRD also proposes to reduce the number of CE credits required to renew this license from 32 hours to 20 hours. Currently, individuals are required to complete 32 hours of CE every three years to be eligible to renew their license.

The regulated community has expressed difficulty in meeting this requirement based on the available TCEQ-approved training—note TCEQ does not develop or offer training for this license. Staff believes that reducing the required CE credits from 32 to 20 will address the lack of available TCEQ-approved trainings without any detrimental effects on the environment or to public health.

Consistency in Requirements and Rules

Other minor updates to 30 TAC Chapter 30 will be made, as necessary, to provide consistency with other licensing requirements and rules. These changes include updating terms in the rules to be consistent with current training technology and approval processes.