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  H.B. No. 2591
 
 
 
 
AN ACT
  relating to the regulation of property tax consultants.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Section 1152.156(a), Occupations Code, is
  amended to read as follows:
         (a)  In addition to satisfying the requirements of Section
  1152.155, an applicant for registration as a property tax
  consultant must:
               (1)  complete at least 40 [15] classroom hours of
  educational courses approved by the executive director, including
  at least four hours of instruction on laws and legal issues in this
  state related to property tax consulting services and pass a
  competency examination under Section 1152.160; or
               (2)  if the person is eligible for registration under
  Section 1152.155(b), submit to the commission evidence that the
  applicant has completed at least four classroom hours of
  educational programs or courses on the laws and legal issues in this
  state related to property tax consulting services.
         SECTION 2.  Section 1152.160, Occupations Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         Sec. 1152.160.  [SENIOR PROPERTY TAX CONSULTANT]
  REGISTRATION EXAMINATIONS [EXAMINATION].  (a)  The executive
  director shall:
               (1)  adopt an examination for registration as a senior
  property tax consultant; [and]
               (2)  adopt an examination for registration as a
  property tax consultant; and
               (3)  establish the standards for passing the
  examinations [examination].
         (b)  The department shall offer the examinations
  [examination] at times and places designated by the executive
  director.
         (c)  To be eligible to take an [the] examination, an
  applicant must pay to the department an examination fee.
         (d)  The examination must[:
               [(1)]  test the applicant's knowledge of:
               (1) [(A)]  property taxation;
               (2) [(B)]  the property tax system;
               (3) [(C)]  property tax administration;
               (4) [(D)]  ethical standards; and
               (5) [(E)]  general principles of appraisal,
  accounting, and law as they relate to property tax consulting
  services[; and
               [(2)     be graded according to rules adopted by the
  commission].
         (e)  An attorney who is licensed to practice law in this
  state may take the senior property tax consultant registration
  examination under this section without completing any other
  eligibility requirements for registration as a senior property tax
  consultant under this chapter.
         (f)  The department shall accept, develop, or contract for
  the examinations required by this section, including the
  administration of the examination.
         SECTION 3.  Chapter 1152, Occupations Code, is amended by
  adding Subchapter E-1 to read as follows:
  SUBCHAPTER E-1. PROHIBITED ACTS
         Sec. 1152.231.  GENERAL PROHIBITED ACTS.  (a)  A person
  required to register under this chapter may not serve as a
  registered senior property tax consultant for more than 10
  registered property tax consultants unless each additional tax
  consultant sponsored or supervised by the registered senior
  property tax consultant has for the previous six months:
               (1)  been employed and engaged as a tax consultant on a
  full-time basis;
               (2)  performed tax consultant related services as an
  employee of a property owner; or
               (3)  performed licensed appraisal services.
         (b)  Except for protests filed with the approval of a lessee
  under Section 41.413, Tax Code, a person required to register under
  this chapter may not file a protest under Chapter 41, Tax Code,
  without the approval of the property owner.
         (c)  A person required to register under this chapter may not
  falsify an agent appointment, exemption application, protest, or
  other legal document that is filed with or presented to an appraisal
  district, an appraisal review board, or a taxing unit.
         (d)  A person required to register under this chapter may not
  file a motion or protest concerning residential property on behalf
  of a person whom the registrant does not represent unless the
  registrant has authorization from:
               (1)  that person; or
               (2)  another person, other than the agent or the firm
  that employs the agent, who is authorized by the person to designate
  agents under Section 1.111, Tax Code.
         Sec. 1152.232.  PROHIBITED ACTS: SOLICITATION OF BUSINESS.
  A person required to register under this chapter may not solicit a
  property tax consulting assignment by assuring a specific outcome.
         Sec. 1152.233.  PROHIBITED ACTS: USE OF INTERNET WEBSITE.  
  (a)  A person required to register under this chapter may not
  maintain an Internet website for any purpose associated with the
  provision of tax consulting services by the registrant that has a
  domain name or other Internet address that implies that the website
  is a government website.
         (b)  A person required to register under this chapter may not
  use or maintain an Internet website for the purpose of soliciting
  clients if the website does not identify the company prominently on
  the home page of the website.
         Sec. 1152.234.  PROHIBITED ACTS: CERTAIN LEGAL ACTIONS.  A
  person required to register under this chapter may not engage the
  services of an attorney for purposes of filing an appeal under
  Chapter 42, Tax Code, without the prior consent of the client.
         SECTION 4.  Not later than December 31, 2009, the executive
  director of the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation shall
  accept, develop, or contract for the property tax consultant
  examination required by Section 1152.160, Occupations Code, as
  amended by this Act.
         SECTION 5.  The change in law made by this Act to Section
  1152.156(a), Occupations Code, applies only to an application for
  registration as a property tax consultant that is submitted to the
  Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation on or after March 1,
  2010. An application for registration submitted before that date
  is governed by the law in effect at the time the application was
  submitted, and the former law is continued in effect for that
  purpose.
         SECTION 6.  (a)  Except as provided by Subsection (b) of this
  section, this Act takes effect September 1, 2009.
         (b)  Subchapter E-1, Chapter 1152, Occupations Code, as
  added by this Act, takes effect January 1, 2010.
 
 
  ______________________________ ______________________________
     President of the Senate Speaker of the House     
 
 
         I certify that H.B. No. 2591 was passed by the House on April
  22, 2009, by the following vote:  Yeas 149, Nays 0, 1 present, not
  voting; that the House refused to concur in Senate amendments to
  H.B. No. 2591 on May 23, 2009, and requested the appointment of a
  conference committee to consider the differences between the two
  houses; and that the House adopted the conference committee report
  on H.B. No. 2591 on May 31, 2009, by the following vote:  Yeas 147,
  Nays 0, 1 present, not voting.
 
  ______________________________
  Chief Clerk of the House   
 
         I certify that H.B. No. 2591 was passed by the Senate, with
  amendments, on May 18, 2009, by the following vote:  Yeas 30, Nays
  0, 1 present, not voting; at the request of the House, the Senate
  appointed a conference committee to consider the differences
  between the two houses; and that the Senate adopted the conference
  committee report on H.B. No. 2591 on May 31, 2009, by the following
  vote:  Yeas 30, Nays 0.
 
  ______________________________
  Secretary of the Senate   
  APPROVED: __________________
                  Date       
   
           __________________
                Governor