HBA-SEP S.B. 1622 77(R)BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisS.B. 1622 By: Barrientos Licensing & Administrative Procedures 5/8/2001 Committee Report (Amended) BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE 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 Regulation 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. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY 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. ANALYSIS 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 Regulation (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). EFFECTIVE DATE January 1, 2002. Sections 761.002, 761.003, 761.004, 761.005, and 761.008 take effect September 1, 2001. EXPLANATION OF AMENDMENTS Committee Amendment No. 1 creates a distinction between an operator and a proprietor by removing the owner, lessor, lessee, or sponsor of a mobile amusement ride from the definition of "operator" and providing that such a person is defined as a "proprietor." The amendment makes conforming changes with regard to the issuance of an insurance certificate and a completed inspection report to the proprietor rather than the operator. The amendment specifies that for the commissioner of licensing and registration to be prohibited from prohibiting an inspector from inspecting a mobile amusement ride or equipment, the inspector must be in good standing. The bill also specifies that the proprietor is required to file a report with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation if an injury or death occurs during the installation, maintenance, operation, or inspection of a mobile amusement ride, even if the injury or death occurs outside the state if the operator is authorized to operate mobile amusement rides in this state, the proprietor is licensed in this state, or the mobile amusement ride is registered in this state.