As the next Commission meeting on Monday February 12th rapidly approaches, there are several issues that loom large and we need to emphasize. First, this is our year for both strategic planning and rule review, so we will be discussing opportunities to remove any identified barriers or red tape that hinders or slows the licensing process without providing clear and commensurate consumer protections.
From the Desk
Happy New Year! It’s January and 2018 promises to be filled with important activity. Even numbered years are always a time when the agency must update our 5-Year Strategic Plan and so that means we will have some significant opportunities for additional targeted input from our license holders and the public on general topics and specific areas of current interest. Look for a list of topics and a schedule of Listening Tour events to be published in February.
The Commission met on November 13th for its regular quarterly meeting and it was one of the most productive – and lengthy – that we have had for many years. Despite its length, we recognized recent accomplishments and achieved some major milestones that we have been working on for over two years. We began by ratifying a very generous set of accommodations implemented in response to the unprecedented impact of Hurricane Harvey. Up to six full months of deadline extensions are available to those who really need them in the 60 counties declared as a Disaster Area by Governor Abbo
The Inspector Committee met in Austin on October 9th and for the first time, the meeting was available to be viewed online in real time. This allowed license holders and members of the public to view the meeting live. This was an initial test run to see if streaming the meeting will be practical. No decision has yet been made about future streaming as TREC staff is continuing to explore options.
The new fiscal year started on September 1 and it has already been an eventful year. Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coast at the end of August and caused unprecedented damage and disruption to those persons living and doing business in that part of the state. In recognition of the hardship caused by Hurricane Harvey, the Commission extended licensing and renewal deadlines statewide for all license holders and applicants with August and September deadlines until October 31, 2017.
October has just concluded and November is here. This is always an exciting time with the World Series (How about those Astros!?), Halloween and Dia de Los Muertos, and the beginning of deer hunting season in Texas. October 31 also closes our State Employee Charitable Campaign month, with new highs reached each year for generosity by our team members.
The full Inspector Committee met on Monday, July 17. On the agenda was a discussion of the pros and cons of continuing to exempt certain education providers from TREC licensure requirements (22 TAC 353.71 and 22 TAC 535.218).
The Commission met on August 7th for its regular quarterly meeting. Because of the number of bills that passed during the 2017 legislative session affecting the agency’s license holders and the agency’s operations, a large number of draft rules were proposed.
Education is often the focus of the articles written by the Chair or me. This is because improving inspector education has been the focus of the Committee over the last couple of years.
As the Commission and its staff get prepared for its next meeting on Monday, August 7th, I am pleased to tell you that the summer has been very productive. All of the agency teams are handling very high volumes of matters, even with daily staff numbers reduced due to summer vacations. Despite this, the teams are keeping up with demand, but not as many or as quickly as we want.