SB 317

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

Vote Recommendation

  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Neutral


Robert Nichols


Cindy Burkett


Dan Flynn
Senfronia Thompson

Bill Caption

Relating to the continuation and functions of the Executive Council of Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Examiners, the Texas Board of Physical Therapy Examiners, and the Texas Board of Occupational Therapy Examiners; authorizing a fee.

Fiscal Notes

From the LBB: Estimated Two-year Net Impact to General Revenue Related Funds for SB317, As Introduced: a negative impact of ($2,126,000) through the biennium ending August 31, 2019. 

Bill Analysis

This bill would extend the functions of the Executive Council of Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Examiners, the Texas Board of Physical Therapy Examiners, and the Texas Board of Occupational Therapy Examiners under the Sunset Act until 2029. 

The bill would prohibit a person from being a member of the executive council of the Texas Board of Physical Therapy Examiners or the Texas Board of Occupational Therapy Examiners if they or their spouse are also an employee of a Texas trade association in the field of healthcare. 

Would require the council and the Texas Board of Physical Therapy Examiners and the Texas Board of Occupational Therapy Examiners to implement policies to encourage alternative dispute resolution and negotiated rule making. 

The bill would get rid of the examination fee given to the Texas Board of Physical Therapy Examiners, get rid of the requirement that an applicant have completed at least 60 academic credits from an institute of higher education, and get rid of the requirements that an applicant specifically complete course in anatomical, biological, and physical sciences, and clinical procedures as prescribed by the board. The bill also would get rid of the requirement that foreign born applicants show evidence of “good moral character.”

The boards would designate a national testing authority to administer the licensing examination instead of doing it themselves. The bill would add provisions to disqualify applicants from taking the examination if they are found to compromise the integrity of the exam. The bill would require the boards to issue a license to a person who holds a license from a different jurisdiction with substantially similar licensing requirements. All applicants would be required to submit to a fingerprint-based background check.  

The boards would be required to select an appropriate organization to approve continuing competence activities for license holders. The boards would also be required to adopt a schedule of administrative penalties and sanctions against license holders and expunge the disciplinary record of a license holder with a disciplinary action against them before September 1, 2019 for practicing in a facility that did not meet certain requirements by January 2019. 

Would enact the Physical Therapy Licensure Compact to facilitate interstate practice of physical therapy and increase access of the public to physical therapy services by providing for mutual recognition of other member state licenses.  Only home states would have the power to take disciplinary or adverse actions against a license holder; a remote state would be able to bring attention to the home state any violations and act against the license holder’s membership under the compact. The compact would allow the board to disclose confidential information about license holders including social security numbers. 

Vote Recommendation Notes

We oppose bills which add new, onerous requirements to licensed professions such as mandatory fingerprinting and background checks, without at a minimum offsetting those 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 hours, 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.

If enough counterbalancing provisions are included in a bill that adds new burdens to licensed occupations, we may view that as a wash in terms of net state regulation of private industry and remain neutral. We support bills which reduce the burden of licensure without adding any new burdens, or which eliminate license requirements altogether.

In the case of SB 317, we believe the bill has enough counterbalancing provisions that it does not represent a net increase in regulation on the licensed professions affected by this bill. For this reason we remain neutral. 

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.