The 77th Session of the Texas Legislature convened on 01/09/01 and adjourned
on 05/28/01. The deadline for the governor to sign or veto all bills was
06/17/01. Consequently, the lawmakers have now returned to their "real"
jobs and the governor has returned to whatever it is that governors do
during the 18-month gaps between legislative sessions. So, what happened?
By all accounts, the 77th Session of the Texas Legislature was relatively
quiet and uneventful. Nevertheless, 37 bills were introduced that had the
potential to directly or indirectly affect the profession of engineering and
related professions such as architecture, landscape architecture, the
geosciences, and surveying. Five of these bills amounted to duplicate
legislation in the house and in the senate. Eighteen of these bills died in
the legislature, usually in some committee. Two of the bills were passed by
both houses of the legislature, but (inexplicably) vetoed by the governor.
Twelve of these bills were passed by both houses of the legislature and were
signed into law by the governor.
Notable Bills that Died in the Legislature:
1] Bills that would have allowed municipalities, counties, and TDCJ to use
design/build procurement schemes on public sector projects.
2] Bills that would have exempted sole-proprietorships from the recent
professional engineering firm registration requirements.
3] Bills that would have enabled counties to establish the IRC as a uniform
residential construction code and the NEC as a uniform residential
electrical construction code in unincorporated areas.
Bills that were Vetoed:
1] A bill that would have authorized the State Board of Engineers to
establish and to administer a program for the mandatory continuing
professional competency of all licensed professional engineers.
2] A bill that would have placed additional restrictions on local
government corporations, forcing them to follow the same administrative and
procurement rules as their parent government bodies.
Bills that have been Signed into Law:
HB199/SB484] Allows architectural barrier inspections to be contracted out
to individuals in the private sector.
HB897/SB353] Creates a public/private partnership to promote engineering
and computer science education.
HB905/SB645] Requires several licensing boards to make their services
available online through special Internet portals.
HB1012/SB405] Establishes the Texas Geoscience Practice Act and the
professional licensing of geoscientists.
HB1872] Establishes new procedures for preparing local employment impact
statements that are required for any proposed rules that might affect local
HB2337] Redefines "Landscape Architect" and clarifies the rules and
regulations pertaining to the profession of landscape architecture.
HB2411/SB365] Establishes the IRC as the uniform residential construction
code and the NEC as the uniform residential electrical construction code in
HB3111] Establishes new, consistent procedures for all TNRCC licensing
SB276] Permits the use of electronic notarization as an alternative to
SB736] Provides funding for special pilot programs to give greater autonomy
to the State Board of Engineers and to the State Board of Architects.
SB1797] Exempts faculty and researchers at institutions of higher learning
from the provisions of the Texas Engineering Practice Act.
HB144/SB584] Waives the six month waiting period for individuals to re-take
the RPLS Exam after having initially failed to pass it.
A brief summary and analysis of each law, or the complete text, can be
downloaded from the Internet at:
Stan R. Caldwell, P.E.
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