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TITLE 22EXAMINING BOARDS
PART 39TEXAS BOARD OF PROFESSIONAL GEOSCIENTISTS
CHAPTER 851TEXAS BOARD OF PROFESSIONAL GEOSCIENTISTS LICENSING AND ENFORCEMENT RULES
SUBCHAPTER BP.G. LICENSING, FIRM REGISTRATION, AND GIT CERTIFICATION
RULE §851.30Firm Registration

(a) Registration required. Unless an exemption applies, as outlined in Texas Occupations Code §1002.351(b), a firm or corporation may engage in the public practice of geoscience only if the firm is currently registered with the TBPG; and

  (1) The geoscience services are performed by, or under the supervision of, a Professional Geoscientist who is in responsible charge of the work and who signs and seals all geoscientific reports, documents, and other records as required by this chapter; or

  (2) The business of the firm includes the public practice of geoscience as determined by TBPG rule and a principal of the firm or an officer or director of the corporation is a Professional Geoscientist and has overall supervision and control of the geoscience services performed in this state. As provided in §851.10(24) of this chapter, the term firm includes a sole practitioner registered with TBPG as a Geoscience Firm, a sole proprietor registered as a Geoscience Firm, co-partnership, corporation, partnership, limited liability company, joint stock association, or other business organization. For the purposes of this section, the term public includes, but is not limited to, political subdivisions of the state, business entities, and individuals. This section does not apply to an engineering firm that performs service or work that is both engineering and geoscience.

(b) Unless registered by the TBPG or exempt from registration under Texas Occupations Code §1002.351 or elsewhere in this section, an individual or firm may not represent to the public that the individual or firm is a Professional Geoscientist or is able to perform geoscience services or prepare a geoscientific report, document, or other record that requires the signature and seal of a license holder under Texas Occupations Code §1002.263(b).

(c) A currently licensed P.G. who offers services as an unincorporated sole proprietor is exempt from the firm registration requirements in this section. A P.G. who is exempt from the firm registration requirements under this section and who offers services under an assumed name must report the assumed name to the TBPG. A P.G. who is otherwise exempt from the firm registration requirements under this section may choose to register as a Geoscience Firm and pay the current Geoscience Firm registration fee.

(d) Registration requirements. In order to be eligible to register as a Geoscience Firm, the firm must:

  (1) Affirm and demonstrate that the firm is an unincorporated sole-proprietorship or another business entity that offers or performs work that includes the public practice of geoscience;

  (2) Identify an Authorized Official of a Firm who shall be responsible for submitting the application for the initial registration of the firm with the TBPG; ensuring that the firm maintains compliance with the requirements of registration; ensuring that the firm renews its registration status as long as the firm offers or provides professional geoscience services; ensuring that the geoscientist is a currently licensed P.G.; and communicating with the TBPG regarding any other necessary matter;

  (3) Operate under a business model such that:

    (A) The geoscience services are performed by, or under the supervision of, a licensed Professional Geoscientist who is in responsible charge of the work and who ensures that the firm complies with all laws, codes, rules, and standards applicable to the public practice of geoscience and who signs and seals all geoscientific reports, documents, and other records as required by this chapter and ensures that all geoscientific reports, documents, and other records are signed and sealed by a licensed Professional Geoscientist; or

    (B) The principal business of the firm is the public practice of geoscience as determined by TBPG rule and a principal of the firm or an officer or director of the corporation is a licensed Professional Geoscientist and has overall supervision and control of the geoscience services performed in this state;

  (4) Identify the business model and the Professional Geoscientist who fulfills the role of the licensed Professional Geoscientist in paragraph (3) of this subsection;

  (5) Unless the firm is an unincorporated sole-proprietorship, a firm seeking registration with the TBPG must register the firm with the Office of the Secretary of State (SOS) and obtain a certificate of authority. If the firm operates under a name other than that which is filed with the SOS, an Assumed Name Certificate must be filed with the County Clerk. A firm's SOS certificate of authority number and all Assumed Name Certificate instrument numbers must be provided to the TBPG upon initial application. If the firm is a sole-proprietorship and the firm operates under a name that does not include the last name of the individual sole proprietor, the firm shall file an Assumed Name Certificate with the County Clerk;

  (6) Submit a Firm Registration Application (Form C), in accordance to the procedures outlined in subsection (e) of this section;

  (7) Upon initial application, affirm that the licensed Professional Geoscientist performing or supervising the geoscience services for a Geoscience Firm is an employee. A Geoscience Firm shall provide evidence of employment status upon request of the Board staff or an Appointed Board Member.

(e) Firm Registration Application Process.

  (1) The Authorized Official of a Firm shall complete and submit, along with the required application fee, the form furnished by the TBPG which includes, but is not limited to, the following information listed in subparagraphs (A) - (E) of this paragraph:

    (A) The name, address, and phone number of the firm offering to engage or engaging in the practice of professional geoscience for the public in Texas;

    (B) The name, position, address, and phone numbers of each officer or director;

    (C) The name, address and current active Texas Professional Geoscientist license number of each employee performing geoscience services for the public in Texas on behalf of the firm;

    (D) The name, location, and phone numbers of each subsidiary or branch office offering to engage or engaging in the practice of professional geoscience for the public in Texas, if any; and

    (E) A signed statement attesting to the correctness and completeness of the application.

  (2) Upon receipt of all required materials and fees and having satisfied requirements in this section, the firm shall be registered and a unique Geoscience Firm registration number shall be assigned to the firm registration. The new firm registration shall expire at the end of the calendar month occurring one year after the firm registration is issued.

  (3) An application is active for one year including the date that it is filed with the TBPG. After one year an application expires.

  (4) Obtaining or attempting to obtain a firm registration by fraud or false misrepresentation is grounds for an administrative sanction and/or penalty.

  (5) Applications are not reviewed until the application and fee have been received in the TBPG office. Applicants are initially notified of any deficiencies in the application.

  (6) Applicants should respond to a deficiency notice within forty-five (45) days from the date of notification for applicants to correct deficiencies. If an applicant does not respond to a deficiency notice or does not ensure that necessary documents are provided to the TBPG office, the application will expire as scheduled one year after the date it became active.

(f) The initial certificate of registration shall be valid for a period of one year from the date it is issued, plus any days remaining through the end of that month. A renewed firm registration is valid for a period of one year from the expiration date of the firm registration being renewed.

(g) A Geoscience Firm's completed and approved registration is the legal authority granted the holder to actively offer or practice professional geoscience upon meeting the requirements as set out in the Act and TBPG Rules. When a firm registration is issued, a firm registration wall certificate, the first firm registration certificate expiration card, and the first portable firm registration expiration card is provided to the new Geoscience Firm. The firm registration wall certificate shall bear the name of the firm, the firm's unique Geoscience Firm registration number, and the date the firm registration was originally issued. The firm registration wall certificate is not valid proof of current registration as a firm, unless it is accompanied by the firm registration certificate expiration card and the date on the firm registration certificate card is not expired. The firm registration certificate expiration card shall bear the name of the firm, the firm's unique firm registration license number, and the date the firm registration will expire, unless it is renewed. The portable firm registration expiration card shall bear the name of the firm, the firm's unique Geoscience Firm registration number, and the date the registration will expire, unless it is renewed.

(h) At least sixty (60) days in advance of the date of the expiration, the Board staff shall notify each registered firm of the date of the expiration and the amount of the fee that shall be required for its annual renewal. The registration may be renewed by completing the renewal application and paying the annual registration renewal fee set by the Appointed Board. It is the sole responsibility of the firm to pay the required renewal fee prior to the expiration date, regardless of whether the renewal notice is received.

(i) A certificate of registration which has been expired for less than one (1) year may be renewed by completing a Firm Registration Renewal Application (Form D), along with an affirmation signed by the Authorized Official of a Firm indicating whether professional geoscience services were offered, pending, or performed for the public in Texas when the firm's registration was expired, and payment of a $50 late renewal penalty. If a firm under application for late firm registration renewal has met the requirements for renewal and has indicated that the geoscience services were offered, pending, or performed for the public in Texas while the firm's registration was expired, the firm's registration shall be renewed. Information regarding unregistered geoscience practice received under this section shall be referred to the enforcement division for appropriate action that could include the initiation of a complaint by the Board staff. A firm registration that has been expired for more than one year is permanently expired and may not be renewed; a new application is required.


Source Note: The provisions of this §851.30 adopted to be effective December 15, 2010, 35 TexReg 10695; amended to be effective February 15, 2013, 38 TexReg 644; amended to be effective June 1, 2013, 38 TexReg 3352; amended to be effective December 11, 2014, 39 TexReg 9539; amended to be effective March 18, 2015, 40 TexReg 1384; amended to be effective March 15, 2016, 41 TexReg 1843; amended to be effective September 25, 2017, 42 TexReg 5143; amended to be effective October 31, 2018, 43 TexReg 7140

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