SB 303

85(R) - 2017
Senate State Affairs
House Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence
Senate State Affairs
House Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence
Occupational Licensing

Vote Recommendation

  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Negative
  • Negative


Kirk Watson


Senfronia Thompson

Bill Caption

Relating to the continuation and functions of the Board of Law Examiners.

Fiscal Notes

From the Legislative Budget Board: no significant fiscal implication to the state is anticipated.

Bill Analysis

SB 303 would amend the Government Code to extend the sunset for the Board of Law Examiners until 2029. Also, the board may now delegate routine decisions to the executive director of the board. Next, the executive director would be required to create a training manual and distribute annually to the board members. Finally, the board would be required to develop guidelines for the licensing of attorneys for determining moral character of applicants, overseeing probationary license holders, and granting waiver requests. As part of this provision the board may require an applicant to submit to an evaluation by a licensed mental health professional designated by the board.

Vote Recommendation Notes

We oppose sunset bills which add new, onerous requirements to licensed professions (such as mandatory fingerprinting and background checks) without at a minimum offsetting the new requirements with counterbalancing repeal of other requirements. Some ways to provide a counterbalance include significant reduction or revocation of fees, reduction in required continuing education, reduction of the number of hours of required training to obtain a license, or increasing the length of time a license is valid before it must be renewed.

SB 303 contains numerous procedural changes that do not affect our principles, however this is negated by one provision of the bill that would allow the board to require an individual to undergo a mental health evaluation. This violates our principles of limited government and individual liberty. For these reasons we oppose SB 303.

For a fuller exposition of our views regarding occupational licensure, click here.

For further reading on this issue we recommend a couple excellent resources:

The Institute for Justice has done yeoman’s work in researching the pervasiveness of the licensing problem. Their 2012 national study, License To Work, which gives an in-depth report on the status of licensure in every state, should be required reading for policymakers working on licensure issues.  

Guild-Ridden Labor Markets: The Curious Case of Occupational Licensing by Morris M. Kleiner, which describes in easily readable language the history of occupational licensing in the United States, demonstrates the clear connection between licensure and industry protection.