Sunset Commission Proposal that DPS be Directed to Cease Permanently Disqualifying Individuals for Certain Convictions

This is the seventh 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 cease permanently disqualifying individuals for certain convictions. The Sunset Commission notes that DPS’s “overly criminalistic approach to evaluating past criminal history does not follow standards contained” in the Texas Occupations Code. This recommendation would allow some licensees who would otherwise be permanently ineligible for a license the opportunity to prove that they deserve an opportunity to obtain an occupational license.

In addition, the Sunset Commission recommends that DPS be directed to review rules that apply blanket penalties for convictions related and unrelated to specific occupations. This would ensure DPS practices are not unfairly restricting entry into a regulated industry. These rule changes would allow many more applicants to receive occupational licenses to serve the citizens of Texas.

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.