Sunset Commission Proposal that DPS be Directed to Consider Mitigating and Aggravating Factors in Assessing Criminal History

This is the sixth part in an ongoing series reviewing proposed changes to the Department of Public Safety (DPS) rules and law by the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission (Sunset Commission). As we discussed previously, DPS is being reviewed by the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission, which has prepared its report for the Texas Legislature in the 2019 legislative session.

In this post, we look at the proposal that DPS be directed to consider mitigating and aggravating factors when assessing criminal history. Before a state agency denies, revokes, or otherwise takes action against a licensee based on criminal background, the Texas Occupations Code requires that agency to consider certain factors, such as the licensee’s rehabilitation, letters of recommendation, and overall criminal history. However, the Sunset Commission noted that DPS’s “[s]taff does not apply mitigating and aggravating factors in assessing whether a criminal conviction should preclude licensure.” The Sunset Commission further stated:

The department in particular has had problems evaluating mitigating and aggravating factors to criminal history for applicants and licensees of the private security program.

Because DPS’s current activities are not consistent with the Texas Occupations Code, the Sunset Commission proposes that the Legislature direct DPS to adopt a process for applying mitigating and aggravating factors in criminal history evaluations.

These changes would be tremendously helpful for allowing applicants with criminal backgrounds obtain licenses and the ability to practice their chosen profession. We will follow the legislative session closely to see how this proposed change is received by the Legislature and what changes are made. If you would like to read about the Sunset process, you can do so at the Sunset website.

Sunset Commission Proposal that DPS Eliminate Guard Dog and Telematics Programs

This is the fifth part of an ongoing series reviewing proposed changes to the Department of Public Safety (DPS) rules and law by the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission (Sunset Commission). As we discussed previously, DPS is being reviewed by the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission, which has prepared its report for the Texas Legislature in the 2019 legislative session.

In this post, we look at the proposal to eliminate private security programs for guard dog companies, guard dog trainers, and telematics companies. With regards to guard dog companies and trainers, the Sunset Commission noted that few complaints arose underneath these programs, and most of those issues could be addressed by animal cruelty laws. Further, neither guard dog owners nor guard dogs themselves are regulated by DPS, which the Sunset Commission believes indicates that there is not a public safety need for guard dog regulation.

Likewise, the Sunset Commission noted that only three telematics companies were licensed in Texas to facilitate services such as emergency roadside assistance, collision notification, or stolen vehicle recovery. The Sunset Commission stated that no meaningful enforcement activities were taken against these companies; thus, regulation of these companies was not in the public interest.

We will follow the legislative session to see how these proposed changes are received by the Legislature and what changes are made. If you would like to read about the Sunset process, you can do so at the Sunset website.

Sunset Commission Proposal that DPS Eliminate Licenses for Private Security Salespersons and Consultants

This is the fourth part of an ongoing series reviewing proposed changes to the Department of Public Safety (DPS) rules and law by the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission (Sunset Commission). As we discussed previously, DPS is being reviewed by the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission, which has prepared its report for the Texas Legislature in the 2019 legislative session.

In this post, we look at the proposal to eliminate license and requirements for private security salespersons and consultants. The Sunset Commission states that, because these individuals do not provide direct security services, business proposals made by these individuals are better left addressed by resources like the Better Business Bureau and other online business review forums. The Sunset Commission also notes that fraudulent or criminal activity can be reviewed by the consumer protection division of the attorney general’s office.

These changes will entirely eliminate licensure requirements for individuals that do not provide security service themselves. We will follow the legislative session to see how these proposed changes are received by the Legislature and what changes are made. If you would like to read about the Sunset process, you can do so at the Sunset website.

Sunset Commission Proposal that DPS Simplify Many Private Security Licenses for Individuals and Entities that Do Not Provide Services

This is the third part of an ongoing series reviewing proposed changes to the Department of Public Safety (DPS) rules and law by the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission (Sunset Commission). As we discussed previously, DPS is being reviewed by the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission, which has prepared its report for the Texas Legislature in the 2019 legislative session.

In this post, we look at the proposal to simplify private security licenses for individuals and entities that do not provide services. The Sunset Commission proposed that the following different licenses be unified under one license:

  • shareholders,
  • corporate officers,
  • managers,
  • supervisors, and
  • branch offices

Additionally, governmental subdivisions and private businesses with internal security departments currently have to hold licenses to have internal security. The Sunset Commission recommends that these companies simply have to register with DPS, rather than seek full licensure.

These changes would dramatically simplify and reduce the requirements for individuals and entities that do not provide service directly. We will follow the legislative session to see how these proposed changes are received by the Legislature and what changes are made. If you would like to read about the Sunset process, you can do so at the Sunset website.

Sunset Commission Proposal that the Texas Legislature Remove the Private Security Board’s Rulemaking Authority

This is the second part of an ongoing series reviewing proposed changes to the Department of Public Safety (DPS) rules and law by the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission (Sunset Commission). As we discussed previously, DPS is being reviewed by the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission, which has prepared its report for the Texas Legislature in the 2019 legislative session.

In this post, we look at the proposal to remove the Private Security Board’s (PSB) rulemaking and administrative authority. The PSB is a part of DPS, but it is also a “quasi-independent” Board with direct authority to make rules. The Sunset Commission asserted that the PSB was “industry dominated” and stated that there had been conflicts between the PSB and DPS regarding which rules were appropriate for the private security industry. The Sunset Commission also stated that the PSB’s rulemaking process was more cumbersome and time consuming.

In addition to its rulemaking authority, the PSB currently reviews decisions to grant or deny licenses, such as for licensees with criminal backgrounds. As the Sunset Commission noted, “Private Security Board members exercised considerable discretion in questioning the evidence and respondents, and took action contrary to the administrative law judge’s findings and conclusions.” It is our experience that the PSB is very willing to overturn an administrative law judge’s decision to grant a license. However, if the PSB were made into an advisory board, they would lose the authority to deny licenses, and that authority would instead go to DPS’s Private Security Commission.

We will follow the legislative session to see how this proposed change is received by the Legislature and what changes are made. If you would like to read about the Sunset process, you can do so at the Sunset website.