Office of House Bill AnalysisS.B. 1622
By: Barrientos
Licensing & Administrative Procedures


Currently all amusement rides in Texas are regulated by the Amusement Ride
Safety Inspection and Insurance Act which requires operators to annually
obtain a certificate from an insurer stating that each ride has been
inspected and meets the standards for insurance coverage.  Texas is one of
only seven states that does not require independent state inspections for
mobile amusement rides.  Because of problems particular to the mobile
amusement ride and carnival industry, providing for a licensing and
inspection system under the Texas Department of Licensing and Registration
may more effectively prevent serious injury or death resulting from the
operation of a mobile amusement ride.  Senate Bill 1622 creates such a
licensing and inspection system.   


It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking
authority is expressly delegated to the commissioner of licensing and
regulation in SECTION 1 (Section 761.004, 761.005, and 761.007, Health and
Safety Code) and to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation in
SECTION 1 (Section 761.016, Health and Safety Code) of this bill. 


Senate Bill 1622 amends the Health and Safety Code to require the
commissioner of licensing and regulation (commissioner) to appoint the
mobile amusement ride advisory board (board).  The bill sets forth
provisions regarding the composition and duties of the board (Secs. 761.002
and 761.003).  The commissioner is required to adopt rules and is
authorized to employ staff to administer and enforce provisions regarding
mobile amusement rides (rides) (Sec. 761.004).  The commissioner is
required to adopt rules that meet or exceed American Society of Testing and
Materials (ASTM) standards to serve as minimum standards and sets forth
provisions regarding the content of the rules adopted (Sec. 761.005).    
The commissioner is required to establish annual registration and
inspection fees for rides operated in Texas (Sec. 761.006).  A person is
prohibited from operating a ride unless the ride is covered by an insurance
policy insuring the operator against liability for bodily injury and
property damage.  The commissioner is authorized, by rule, to establish
more stringent insurance requirements (Sec. 761.007).   

The Texas Department of Licensing and Registration (department) is required
to register inspectors of rides who meet ASTM standards for certification
as an inspector.  The bill authorizes the commissioner to set a
registration fee and an annual renewal fee in an amount not less than $25.
The commissioner may not prohibit a registered inspector from inspecting a
ride or related equipment.  The commissioner is required to compile a list
of registered inspectors and is authorized to deny, suspend, or revoke the
registration of any certified inspector for certain actions (Sec. 761.008).
A municipal, county, or state law enforcement officer (officer) at any time
without notice is authorized to inspect a ride and request proof of
compliance with the requirements to ensure public safety.  An officer is
required to prohibit the operation of a ride if the ride does not display a
current inspection sticker and does not possess a current insurance
certificate or the circumstances cause the officer to reasonably believe
that the ride is unsafe, the operation is in violation of requirements, or
the safety of any passenger on the ride is threatened.  The bill sets forth
provisions regarding the resumption of ride operation.  Unless an officer's
act or omission involves intentional conduct, gross negligence, or malice,
the officer is not liable for terminating or failing to terminate the
operation of a ride (Sec. 761.009).   

All restrictions for passengers must be displayed prominently on the ride
and must be visible from all boarding areas (Sec. 761.011). The bill sets
forth the ride inspection schedule, reporting requirements, and filling
fees (Sec. 761.013).   

A ride is prohibited from being operated until an operator has inspected it
both after the ride has been assembled and before operating the ride each
day that rides are offered (Sec. 761.014).  The bill prohibits a ride from
being operated in Texas unless the ride is registered with the department
and sets an annual ride registration fee of $50 unless the commissioner by
rule sets a higher fee (Sec. 761.015).  If an injury or death occurs during
the installation, maintenance, operation, or inspection of a ride, the
operator is required to file with the department a report on a form
prescribed by the commissioner.  The provision applies to an injury or
death that occurs outside Texas if the operator is authorized to operate
rides in Texas.  If an incident that is required to be reported results in
the death of any person, operation of the ride is required to be terminated
immediately and is prohibited from being resumed until the commissioner
determines that operation of the ride does not pose a signification risk of
serious injury.  The commissioner is authorized to impose reasonable
conditions as necessary for the safe operation of a ride before the
resumption of the operation of a ride.  In the event of a death involving a
ride, the commissioner is authorized to suspend or terminate the operation
of similar rides operating in Texas that the commissioner determines may
cause injury or death.  The department is authorized to adopt rules for
making information available to the public by posting the information on
the department's Internet site or through another easily accessible medium
(Sec. 761.016). 

If the commissioner has good cause, the commissioner or the commissioner's
designated representative is authorized to enter the property during
regular business hours without prior notice to inspect the ride or related
equipment or to generally investigate any incident that resulted in serious
injury or death.  The commissioner is authorized to bring suit and is
entitled to appropriate injunctive relief to prevent a violation or
threatened violation (Sec. 761.017).  The bill sets forth criminal
penalties for violations of this chapter (Secs. 761.010 and 761.018).    

On January 1, 2002, the regulation of mobile amusement rides formerly
administered by the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) is transferred to
the commissioner.  The bill requires all money, records, property, and
equipment in the custody of TDI on December 31, 2001, for the regulation of
mobile amusement rides, to be transferred to the custody of the
commissioner on January 1, 2002 (SECTION 12).   


January 1, 2002.  Sections 761.002, 761.003, 761.004, 761.005, and 761.008
take effect September 1, 2001.