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  H.B. No. 3228
 
 
 
 
AN ACT
  relating to certain hearings concerning title insurance rates and
  other matters relating to regulating the business of title
  insurance.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Section 2703.202, Insurance Code, is amended by
  adding Subsections (b-1), (b-2), (d-1), and (d-2) and amending
  Subsections (d), (g), (h), (k), and (l) to read as follows:
         (b-1)  An interested person by a written request to the
  commissioner may request a public hearing to consider changing a
  premium rate, including fixing a new premium rate.  For the purposes
  of this subsection, "interested person" means:
               (1)  a resident of this state;
               (2)  a business entity doing business in this state;
               (3)  a political subdivision located in this state; or
               (4)  a public or private organization, other than a
  state agency, that is located in this state.
         (b-2)  Not later than the 60th day after the date of
  submission of a request under Subsection (b-1), the commissioner
  shall:
               (1)  deny the request in writing, stating the reasons
  for the denial; or
               (2)  initiate a hearing under Subsection (a).
         (d)  Notwithstanding Subsection (c), a person or entity
  described by Subsection (b) or an interested person described by,
  and subject to, Subsection (b-1) may petition the commissioner in
  writing that a public hearing held under Subsection (a) or under
  Section 2703.206 [must] be conducted by the commissioner as a
  contested case hearing under Subchapters C through H and Subchapter
  Z, Chapter 2001, Government Code. The petition must state the
  grounds for the petitioner's request[, at the request of:
               [(1)  a title insurance company;
               [(2)     an association composed of at least 50 percent of
  the number of title insurance agents and title insurance companies
  licensed or authorized by the department;
               [(3)     an association composed of at least 20 percent of
  the number of title insurance agents licensed or authorized by the
  department; or
               [(4)  the office of public insurance counsel].
         (d-1)  Not later than the 30th day after the date the
  commissioner receives a petition under Subsection (d), the
  commissioner shall hold a public hearing on the petition to
  determine whether:
               (1)  the petition is made in good faith; and
               (2)  the grounds stated in the petition otherwise
  justify conducting the proceeding as a contested case hearing.
         (d-2)  Not later than the 60th day after the date a petition
  under Subsection (d) is submitted, the commissioner shall:
               (1)  deny the petition in writing, stating the reasons
  for the denial; or
               (2)  grant the petition to initiate a hearing under
  Subsections (a) and (h) as a contested hearing.
         (g)  If a hearing held under Subsection (a) is not conducted
  as a contested case hearing, the commissioner shall render a
  decision and issue a final order not later than the 120th day after
  the date the commissioner receives a written request under
  Subsection (b) or (b-1).
         (h)  If a hearing held under Subsection (a) is conducted as a
  contested case hearing:
               (1)  not later than the 30th day after the date the
  commissioner rules on a petition [receives a request] for a public
  hearing under Subsection (d-2) [(b)], the commissioner shall issue
  a notice of call for items to be considered at the hearing;
               (2)  the commissioner may not require responses to the
  notice of call before the 60th day after the date the commissioner
  issues the notice of call;
               (3)  the commissioner shall issue a notice of the 
  public hearing [requested under Subsection (d)] not later than the
  30th day after the date responses to the notice of call are required
  under Subdivision (2);
               (4)  the commissioner shall commence the public hearing
  not earlier than the 120th day after the date the commissioner
  issues a notice of hearing under Subdivision (3);
               (5)  the commissioner shall close the public hearing
  not later than the 150th day after the date the commissioner issues
  the notice of hearing under Subdivision (3); and
               (6)  the commissioner shall render a decision and issue
  a final order not later than the 60th day after the record made in
  the public hearing is closed under Subdivision (5).
         (k)  A party described by Subsection (b) or (b-1) may
  petition a district court in Travis County to enter an order
  requiring the commissioner to comply with the deadlines described
  by this section if the commissioner fails to meet a requirement in
  Subsection (g) or (h).
         (l)  Subject to Subsection (m), if the commissioner fails to
  comply with the requirements under Subsection (g) or (h)(6), a
  combination of at least three associations, persons, or entities
  listed in Subsection (b) or (b-1) may jointly petition a district
  court of Travis County to adopt a rate based on the record made in
  the hearing before the commissioner under this section.
         SECTION 2.  Section 2703.203, Insurance Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 2703.203.  PERIODIC HEARING. The commissioner shall
  hold a public hearing not earlier than July 1 after the fifth
  anniversary of the closing of a hearing held under this chapter to
  consider adoption of premium rates and other matters relating to
  regulating the business of title insurance that an interested
  person, association, title insurance company, title insurance
  agent, or entity [member of the public admitted as a party] under
  Section 2703.204 requests to be considered or that the commissioner
  determines necessary to consider.
         SECTION 3.  Section 2703.204, Insurance Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 2703.204.  ADMISSION AS PARTY TO [PERIODIC] HEARING.
  (a) Subject to this section, the following persons, associations,
  and entities shall be admitted as parties to a contested case
  hearing under Section 2703.202, the periodic hearing under Section
  2703.203, or a hearing under Section 2703.206:
               (1)  a trade association whose membership is composed
  of at least 20 percent of the members of an industry or group
  represented by the trade association;
               (2)  [,] an association, [a] person, or entity
  described by Section 2703.202(b);
               (3)  an interested person described by Section
  2703.202(b-1);[,] or
               (4)  department staff [shall be admitted as a party to
  the periodic hearing under Section 2703.203].
         (b)  A party to any portion of the periodic hearing relating
  to ratemaking may request that the commissioner remove any other
  party to that portion of the hearing on the grounds that the other
  party does not have a substantial interest in the subject matter of
  the hearing [title insurance]. A decision of the commission to deny
  or grant the request is final and subject to appeal in accordance
  with Section 36.202.
         SECTION 4.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2019.
 
 
  ______________________________ ______________________________
     President of the Senate Speaker of the House     
 
 
         I certify that H.B. No. 3228 was passed by the House on May 3,
  2019, by the following vote:  Yeas 143, Nays 0, 1 present, not
  voting.
 
  ______________________________
  Chief Clerk of the House   
 
 
         I certify that H.B. No. 3228 was passed by the Senate on May
  21, 2019, by the following vote:  Yeas 31, Nays 0.
 
  ______________________________
  Secretary of the Senate    
  APPROVED:  _____________________
                     Date          
   
            _____________________
                   Governor