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TITLE 37PUBLIC SAFETY AND CORRECTIONS
PART 15TEXAS FORENSIC SCIENCE COMMISSION
CHAPTER 651DNA, CODIS, FORENSIC ANALYSIS, AND CRIME LABORATORIES
SUBCHAPTER CFORENSIC ANALYST LICENSING PROGRAM
RULE §651.222Voluntary Forensic Analyst Licensing Requirements Including Eligibility, License Term, Fee and Procedure for Denial of Initial Application or Renewal Application and Reconsideration

(a) Issuance. The Commission may issue an individual's voluntary forensic analyst license for forensic examinations or tests not subject to accreditation under this section.

(b) The following forensic disciplines are eligible for a voluntary forensic analyst license:

  (1) forensic anthropology; and

  (2) document examination, including document authentication, physical comparison, and product determination.

(c) Application. Before being issued a voluntary forensic analyst license, an applicant shall complete and submit to the Commission a current forensic analyst license application and provide documentation that he or she has satisfied all applicable requirements set forth under this section.

(d) Minimum Education Requirements.

  (1) Document Examination Analyst. An applicant for a voluntary forensic analyst license in document examination must have a high school diploma or equivalent degree or higher (i.e., baccalaureate or advanced degree).

  (2) Forensic Anthropologist. An applicant for a voluntary forensic analyst license in forensic anthropology must be certified by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology (ABFA), including fulfillment of any minimum education requirements required to comply with and maintain ABFA certification at the time of the candidate's application for a license.

  (3) Foreign/Non-U.S. degrees. The Commission shall recognize equivalent foreign, non-U.S. baccalaureate or advanced degrees. The Commission reserves the right to charge licensees a reasonable fee for credential evaluation services to assess how a particular foreign degree compares to a similar degree in the United States. The Commission may accept a previously obtained credential evaluation report from an applicant or licensee in fulfillment of the degree comparison assessment.

(e) Specific Coursework Requirements.

  (1) General Requirement for Statistics. An applicant for any voluntary forensic analyst license must have a three-semester credit hour (or equivalent) college-level statistics course from an accredited university or a program approved by the Commission.

  (2) Forensic Discipline Specific Coursework Requirements.

    (A) Document Examination Analyst. An applicant for a voluntary forensic analyst license must have a three-semester credit hour (or equivalent) college-level statistics course from an accredited university or a program approved by the Commission. No other specific college-level coursework is required.

    (B) Forensic Anthropologist. An applicant for a voluntary forensic analyst license in forensic anthropology must be certified by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology (ABFA), including fulfillment of any specific coursework requirements required to comply with and maintain ABFA certification at the time of the candidate's application for a license.

  (3) Exemptions from Specific Coursework Requirements. Previously Licensed Document Examination Analyst Exemption. An applicant for a voluntary forensic analyst license previously licensed by the Commission when licensure was mandatory for the discipline is exempt from any specific coursework requirements in this subsection.

(f) General Forensic Analyst Licensing Exam Requirement for Voluntary License Applicants.

  (1) Exam Requirement. An applicant for a voluntary forensic analyst license must pass the General Forensic Analyst Licensing Exam administered by the Commission.

    (A) An applicant is required to take and pass the General Forensic Analyst Licensing Exam one time.

    (B) An applicant may take the General Forensic Analyst Licensing Exam no more than three times. If an applicant fails the General Forensic Analyst Licensing Exam three times, the applicant has thirty (30) days from the date the applicant receives notice of the failure to request special dispensation from the Commission as described in subparagraph (C) of this paragraph. Where special dispensation is granted, the applicant has 90 days from the date he or she receives notice the request for exam is granted to successfully complete the exam requirement. However, for good cause shown, the Commission or its Designee at its discretion may waive this limitation

    (C) Requests for Exam. If an applicant fails the General Forensic Analyst Licensing Exam three times, the applicant must request in writing special dispensation from the Commission to take the exam more than three times. Applicants may submit a letter of support from their laboratory director or licensing representative and any other supporting documentation supplemental to the written request.

    (D) If an applicant sits for the General Forensic Analyst Licensing Exam more than three times, the applicant must pay a $50 exam fee each additional time the applicant sits for the exam beyond the three initial attempts.

  (2) Credit for Pilot Exam. If an individual passes a Pilot General Forensic Analyst Licensing Exam, regardless of his or her eligibility status for a voluntary or mandatory Forensic Analyst License at the time the exam is taken, the candidate has fulfilled the General Forensic Analyst Licensing Exam Requirement of this subsection.

(g) Proficiency Monitoring Requirement.

  (1) Requirement for Applicants Employed by an Accredited Laboratory. An applicant who is employed by an accredited laboratory must demonstrate the applicant participates in the laboratory's process for intra-laboratory comparison, inter-laboratory comparison, proficiency testing, or observation-based performance monitoring requirements in compliance with and on the timeline set forth by the laboratory's accrediting body's proficiency monitoring requirements as applicable to the Forensic Analyst's or Forensic Technician's specific forensic discipline and job duties.

  (2) Requirement for Applicants Not Employed at an Accredited Laboratory or at an Accredited Laboratory in an Unaccredited Forensic Discipline. An applicant who is employed by an entity other than an accredited laboratory or performs a forensic examination or test at an accredited laboratory in a forensic discipline not covered by the scope of the laboratory's accreditation must demonstrate the applicant participates in the laboratory or employing entity's process for intra-laboratory comparison, inter-laboratory comparison, proficiency testing, or observation-based performance monitoring requirements in compliance with and on the timeline set forth by the laboratory or employing entity's Commission-approved process for proficiency monitoring as applicable to the Forensic Analyst's or Forensic Technician's specific forensic discipline and job duties.

  (3) A signed certification by the laboratory or entity's authorized representative that the applicant has satisfied the applicable proficiency monitoring requirements, including any intra-laboratory comparison, inter-laboratory comparisons, proficiency testing, or observation-based performance monitoring requirements in paragraph (1) or (2) of this subsection as of the date of the analyst's application must be provided on the Proficiency Monitoring Certification form provided by the Commission. The licensee's authorized representative must designate the specific forensic discipline in which the Forensic Analyst or Forensic Technician actively performs forensic casework or is currently authorized to perform supervised or independent casework.

  (4) Applicants employed by an entity other than an accredited laboratory or performing forensic examinations or tests at an accredited laboratory in a discipline not covered by the scope of the laboratory or employing entity's accreditation must include written proof of the Forensic Science Commission's approval described in (5) of this subsection with the Proficiency Monitoring Certification form required in (3) of this subsection. The applicant must include written documentation of performance in conformance with expected consensus results for the laboratory or employing entity's Commission-approved activities or exercise(s) as applicable to the applicant's specific forensic discipline and job duties in compliance with and on the timeline set forth by the laboratory or employing entity's Commission-approved process for proficiency monitoring.

  (5) Applicants employed by an entity other than an accredited laboratory or performing forensic examinations or tests at an accredited laboratory in a discipline not covered by the scope of the laboratory or employing entity's accreditation seeking approval of proficiency monitoring activities or exercise(s) must seek prior approval of the activities or exercise(s) from the Commission.

(h) License Term and Fee.

  (1) A Voluntary Forensic Analyst license shall expire two years from the date the applicant is granted a license.

  (2) Application Fee. A voluntary Forensic Analyst license applicant or current voluntary licensee shall pay the following fee(s) as applicable:

    (A) Initial Application fee of $220;

    (B) Biennial renewal fee of $200;

    (C) License Reinstatement fee of $220; or

    (D) Special Exam Fee of $50 for General Forensic Analyst Licensing Exam, required only if testing beyond the three initial attempts; and

(i) Voluntary Forensic Analyst License Renewal. Renewal of a Voluntary Forensic Analyst License. Applicants for renewal of a Voluntary Forensic Analyst License must comply with §651.208 (Forensic Analyst and Forensic Technician License Renewal) of this subchapter.

(j) Voluntary Forensic Analyst License Expiration and Reinstatement. Expiration and Reinstatement of a Voluntary Forensic Analyst License. A Voluntary Forensic Analyst must comply with § 651.209 of this subchapter (Forensic Analyst and Forensic Technician License Expiration and Reinstatement).

(k) Procedure for Denial of Initial Application or Renewal Application and Reconsideration.

  (1) Application Review. The Commission Director or Designee must review each initial application or renewal application and determine whether the applicant meets the qualifications and requirements set forth in this subchapter. If a person who has applied for a voluntary forensic analyst license does not meet the qualifications or requirements set forth in this subchapter and has submitted a complete application, the Director or Designee must consult with members of the Licensing Advisory Committee before denying the application.

  (2) Denial of Application. The Commission, through its Director or Designee, may deny an initial or renewal application if the applicant fails to meet any of the qualifications or requirements set forth in this subchapter.

  (3) Notice of Denial. The Commission, through its Director or Designee, shall provide the applicant a written statement of the reason(s) for denial of the initial or renewal application.

  (4) Request for Reconsideration. Within twenty (20) days of the date of the notice that the Commission has denied the application, the applicant may request that the Commission reconsider the denial. The request must be in writing, identify each point or matter about which reconsideration is requested, and set forth the grounds for the request for reconsideration.

  (5) Reconsideration Procedure. The Commission must consider a request for reconsideration at its next meeting where the applicant may appear and present testimony.

  (6) Commission Action on Request. After reconsidering its decision, the Commission may either affirm or reverse its original decision.

  (7) Final Decision. The Commission, through its Director or Designee, must notify the applicant in writing of its decision on reconsideration within fifteen (15) business days of the date of its meeting where the final decision was rendered.


Source Note: The provisions of this §651.222 adopted to be effective July 10, 2022, 47 TexReg 3822; amended to be effective November 9, 2022, 47 TexReg 7425

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