HB 2898

85(R) - 2017
House Public Health
House Public Health
Boards & Commissions
Department of Health

Vote Recommendation

  • Negative
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Negative
  • Neutral


Larry Gonzales

Bill Caption

Relating to the creation of the Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council and to the continuation and transfer of the regulation of sex offender treatment providers, psychologists, marriage and family therapists, professional counselors, chemical dependency counselors, and social workers to the Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council; providing civil and administrative penalties; authorizing a fee.

Fiscal Notes

From the LBB: Estimated Two-year Net Impact to General Revenue Related Funds for HB 2898, As Introduced: an impact of $0 through the biennium ending August 31, 2019.

Bill Analysis

This bill would create the Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council (TBHEC) to administer and enforce Chapter 110 Occupations code (sex offender treatment council). The duties of the boards which currently license and regulate psychologists, marriage and family therapists, professional counselors, chemical dependency treatment counselors, and social workers would be consolidated and folded into the new TBHEC.

The boards that formerly regulated licensure and practice of these behavioral health professionals would instead offer advice and propose rules, scope of practice, and continuing education requirements to the executive council. The chapter would have a sunset date of September 29, 2029. The members of the council would be appointed by various therapy and psychology boards with one member appointed by the governor.

The bill would require a full set of fingerprints for a criminal history background check for all applicants for a license.

The bill would enact the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact to help regulate psychological practice across state lines and allow for the authorization of temporary psychological practice in a receiving state to help increase access to psychological services in underserved areas including by also regulating the use of telepsychology services across state lines. 

Vote Recommendation Notes

We do not oppose the idea of consolidating these various licensing boards under one council, however we do oppose adding mandatory fingerprint-based background checks. We also oppose licensing psychologists under this new council. A U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decision struck down the current definition of "psychological services" thus rendering the profession unregulated. According to the author's intent statement for a related Senate bill: "The court's ruling effectively prevents the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists (TSBEP) from taking action against an individual practicing psychology in Texas without a license. Whether the ruling will affect only TSBEP or be felt throughout Texas' other mental health professions remains to be seen." Due to the new regulations this bill would add, we oppose HB 2898.