Adopted Amendments to 19 TAC Chapter 176, Driver Training Schools, Subchapter AA, Commissioner's Rules on Minimum Standards for Operation of Licensed Texas Driver Education Schools
I. Statutory Citations (PDF)
II. Text of Adopted Amendments to 19 TAC Chapter 176, Driver Training Schools, Subchapter AA, Commissioner's Rules on Minimum Standards for Operation of Licensed Texas Driver Education Schools (PDF)
The rule action presented in this item was filed as adopted with the Texas Register under the commissioner's rulemaking authority. This item adopts amendments to 19 TAC Chapter 176, Driver Training Schools, Subchapter AA, Commissioner's Rules on Minimum Standards for Operation of Licensed Texas Driver Education Schools. The adopted amendments implement changes to the Texas Education Code (TEC), Chapter 1001, Driver and Traffic Safety Education, by House Bill (HB) 2678, 82nd Texas Legislature, 2011. No changes were made to the rules since published as proposed.
TEC, §§1001.053, 1001.055, 1001.2511, and 1001.2512.
August 27, 2012.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION AND SIGNIFICANT ISSUES:
HB 2678, 82nd Texas Legislature, 2011, amended the TEC, §1001.055, to allow the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to provide certificate numbers to licensed driver education schools, exempt driver education schools, and approved parent-taught course providers to enable these entities to print and issue TEA-approved driver education certificates.
HB 2678, 82nd Texas Legislature, 2011, also added the TEC, §§1001.2511-1001.2514, relating to national criminal history record information review for applicants for or holders of driver education instructor licenses and licenses issued under the TEC, §1001.255. The new statutes require the TEA to obtain this national criminal history record information no later than September 1, 2013; permit the commissioner of education to set a fee for the review of the information; define the circumstances under which the information may be released; and describe the responsibility of the TEA and a driver education school if it is determined that an applicant, employee, or license holder has been convicted of certain offenses.
The adopted amendments to 19 TAC Chapter 176, Subchapter AA, incorporate these statutory changes as follows.
Section 176.1001, Definitions, has been amended to add definitions for criminal history record information, inactive status, and national criminal history record information.
Section 176.1004, Driver Education School Responsibility for Employees, has been amended to add new subsections (c) and (d). New subsection (c) sets out the procedures for driver education schools to follow if they elect to print their own certificates. New subsection (d) requires a driver education school to discharge or refuse to hire any employee who has been convicted of an offense described by the TEC, §1001.2514.
Section 176.1006, Driver Education Instructor License, has been amended in subsection (a) to state that a person who has been convicted of certain serious crimes is not eligible for licensure. Subsection (b) has been revised to require an applicant for a license to pay the national criminal history record information review fee and submit fingerprints to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). New subsection (c) has been added to specify that if an applicant fails to timely submit requested information, the application will be withdrawn and the applicant must file a new application and pay a new fee. New subsection (d) has been added to allow an out-of-state applicant to submit fingerprints through an alternate method as long as that method is as secure as the method employed by DPS. Subsequent subsections have been re-lettered accordingly. Existing subsection (d), re-lettered as subsection (f), has been revised to require an applicant for renewal to pay the national criminal history record information review fee. New subsection (g) has been added to allow the issuance of a renewal license if the applicant has completed the renewal application process, even if the fingerprints are rejected. In that event, the applicant will be required to resubmit the information. If the applicant fails to timely resubmit the information, the applicant's license will be placed on inactive status and may also be suspended or revoked. Existing subsection (m), re-lettered as subsection (p), has been amended to include convictions for offenses described in the TEC, §1001.2514, as grounds for revocation of a license; clarify that the Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 53 (relating to the factors to consider when an applicant has a criminal history), does not apply when an applicant has been convicted of an offense described in the TEC, §1001.2514; and state that a conviction for an offense will be considered for a period of 30 years from the date of the offense and will continue to be considered after that point in time if the applicant did not comply with the terms of the order issued upon conviction. New subsection (q) has been added to allow the TEA to notify any driver education school employing a person who has been convicted of a crime described in the TEC, §1001.2514, of that employee's criminal history record information.
Section 176.1018, Driver Education Certificates (DE-964 and ADE-1317), has been amended to add subsection (d) describing the procedures a driver education school must follow if it purchases driver education certificate numbers.
Section 176.1020, Application Fees and Other Charges, has been amended to add a fee for national criminal history record information processing.
No changes were made to the rules since published as proposed.
The TEA has determined that there are no additional costs to persons or entities required to comply with the rule action. The obligation to pay a fee for the review of the required criminal history record information was imposed by the TEC, §1001.2512, not by the amendments. Additionally, driver education schools that choose to purchase certificate numbers rather than pre-printed certificates will bear additional costs in printing the certificates, but those costs will be offset by the reduced cost of shipping pre-printed certificates.
In addition, there is no direct adverse economic impact for small businesses and microbusinesses; therefore, no regulatory flexibility analysis, specified in Texas Government Code, §2006.002, is required.
PUBLIC AND STUDENT BENEFIT:
The adopted amendments will enhance student safety by taking further precautions to prevent people with serious criminal histories from obtaining a driver education school license.
PROCEDURAL AND REPORTING IMPLICATIONS:
The adopted amendments have procedural and reporting implications. The amendments require driver education instructors and applicants to submit fingerprints to the DPS through the DPS's contractor. In addition, driver education schools that elect to purchase certificate numbers rather than pre-printed certificates will be required to print their own certificates.
LOCALLY MAINTAINED PAPERWORK REQUIREMENTS:
The adopted amendments have no new locally maintained paperwork requirements.
The public comment period on the proposal began June 15, 2012, and ended July 16, 2012. No public comments were received.
OTHER COMMENTS AND RELATED ISSUES:
Staff Members Responsible:
Chris Jones, Senior Counsel, Legal Services
Gaye Estes, Coordinator, Driver Training
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