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.