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Texas Racing Commission

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Texas Racing Act

Article 2. Texas Racing Commission

Sec. 2.01. Creation.
The Texas Racing Commission is created.

Sec. 2.02. Membership.
  (a) The commission consists of seven members appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the senate and two ex officio members who shall have the right to vote. The ex officio members are:
      (1) the chairman of the Public Safety Commission or a member of the Public Safety Commission designated by the chairman of the Public Safety Commission; and
      (2) the comptroller of public accounts or the comptroller's designee.  
  (b) Appointments to the commission shall be made without regard to the race, color, disability, sex, religion, age, or national origin of the appointees.  
  (c) In making appointments to the commission, the governor shall attempt to reflect the minority groups found in the state's general populace.

Sec. 2.03. Term of Office.
  (a) Appointed members hold office for staggered terms of six years with two or three members' terms expiring February 1 of each odd-numbered year. A member holds office until that member's successor is appointed and qualifies.
  (b) The ex officio members hold office on the commission for the time for which they hold their other offices.

Sec. 2.04. Residence Requirement.
An appointed member is not eligible to be a member of the commission unless that appointee has been a resident of this state for at least 10 consecutive years immediately before appointment.

Sec. 2.05. Eligibility.
 (a) Five of the appointed members of the commission must be representatives of the general public and have general knowledge of business or agribusiness. At least one of those appointed members may be a veterinarian, and being licensed as a veterinarian satisfies the requirement that the person have general knowledge of business or agribusiness. One additional appointed member must have special knowledge or experience related to greyhound racing and one additional appointed member must have special knowledge or experience related to horse racing. A person is not eligible for appointment as a member of the commission if the person or the person's spouse:
      (1) is licensed by the commission, except as a commissioner;
      (2) is employed by the commission or participates in the management of a business entity or other organization regulated by the commission or receiving funds from or through the commission;
      (3) owns or controls, directly or indirectly, more than a 10 percent interest in a business entity or other organization regulated by the commission or receiving funds from or through the commission; or
      (4) uses or receives a substantial amount of tangible goods, services, or funds from or through the commission, other than compensation or reimbursement authorized by law for commission membership, attendance, or expenses.
  (b) In addition to the eligibility requirements of Subsection (a), a person is not eligible to be an appointed member of the commission if that person owns any financial interest in a racetrack or its operation or if that person is related within the second degree by affinity or the third degree by consanguinity, as determined under Subchapter B, Chapter 573, Government Code, to a person who owns any financial interest in a racetrack or its operation.
  (c) Each person appointed to or employed by the commission is subject to all background checks and qualification criteria required to hold a racetrack license or other license under this Act.
  (d) A person who has been convicted of a felony or of any crime involving moral turpitude is not eligible for appointment to the commission.

Sec. 2.06. Financial Statement.
Each appointed member of the commission and the executive secretary of the commission is an "appointed officer of a major state agency" within the meaning of Chapter 421, Acts of the 63rd Legislature, Regular Session, 1973 (Article 6252-9b, Vernon's Texas Civil Statutes). An appointee shall also file a detailed financial statement with the secretary of state of the type required by The Banking Department of Texas in the application for charter for state banks. The financial statement is a public record under Chapter 424, Acts of the 63rd Legislature, Regular Session, 1973 (Article 6252-17a, Vernon's Texas Civil Statutes).

Sec. 2.07.
Repealed by Acts 1997, 75th Legislature, Ch. 1275, §54, eff. September 1, 1997.

Sec. 2.071. Conflict of Interest.
  (a) A person may not be a member of the commission and may not be a commission employee employed in a "bona fide executive, administrative, or professional capacity," as that phrase is used for purposes of establishing an exemption to the overtime provisions of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. Section 201 et seq.), if:
      (1) the person is an officer, employee, or paid consultant of a Texas trade association in the field of horse or greyhound racing or breeding; or
      (2) the person's spouse is an officer, manager, or paid consultant of a Texas trade association in the field of horse or greyhound racing or breeding.
  (b) A person may not be a member of the commission or act as the general counsel to the commission if the person is required to register as a lobbyist under Chapter 305, Government Code, because of the person's activities for compensation on behalf of a profession related to the operation of the commission.
  (c) In this section, "Texas trade association" means a cooperative and volunarily joined statewide association of business or professional competitors in this state designed to assist its members and its industry or profession in dealing with mutual business or professional problems and in promoting their common interest.

Sec. 2.072.
Repealed by Acts 2011, 82nd Legislature, HB 2271, Section 26, eff. Sept. 1, 2011.

Sec. 2.073. Grounds for Removal.
  (a) It is a ground for removal from the commission if a member:
      (1) does not have at the time of appointment the qualifications required by Section 2.02, 2.04, or 2.05 of this Act;
      (2) does not maintain during service on the commission the qualifications required by Section 2.02 or 2.05 of this Act;
      (3) violates a prohibition established by Section 2.05, 2.071, or 2.072 of this Act;
      (4) cannot because of illness or disability discharge the member's duties for a substantial part of the term for which the member is appointed; or
      (5) is absent from more than half of the regularly scheduled commission meetings that the member is eligible to attend during a calendar year.
  (b) The validity of an action of the commission is not affected by the fact that it is taken when a ground for removal of a commission member exists.
  (c) If the executive secretary has knowledge that a potential ground for removal exists, the executive secretary shall notify the presiding officer of the commission of the potential ground. The presiding officer shall then notify the governor and the attorney general that a potential ground for removal exists. If the potential ground for removal involves the presiding officer, the executive secretary shall notify the next highest officer of the commission, who shall notify the governor and the attorney general that a potential ground for removal exists.

Sec. 2.074. Member Training.
  (a) To be eligible to take office as a member of the commission, a person appointed to the commission must complete at least one course of a training program that complies with this section.
  (b) The training program must provide information to the person regarding:
      (1) the enabling legislation that created the commission;
      (2) the programs operated by the commission;
      (3) the role and functions of the commission;
      (4) the rules of the commission with an emphasis on the rules that relate to disciplinary and investigatory authority;
      (5) the current budget for the commission;
      (6) the results of the most recent formal audit of the commission;
      (7) the requirements of the:
            (A) open meetings law, Chapter 551, Government Code;
            (B) open records law, Chapter 552, Government Code; and
            (C) administrative procedure law, Chapter 2001, Government Code;
      (8) the requirements of the conflict of interests laws and other laws relating to public officials; and
      (9) any applicable ethics policies adopted by the commission or the Texas Ethics Commission.
  (c) A person appointed to the commission is entitled to reimbursement for travel expenses incurred in attending the training program, as provided by the General Appropriations Act and as if the person were a member of the commission.

Sec. 2.08. Expenses.
Each appointed member of the commission is entitled to a per diem in an amount prescribed by legislative appropriation for each day spent in performing the duties of the office and is entitled to reimbursement for actual and necessary expenses incurred in performing those duties. Reimbursement for expenses under this section is subject to any applicable limitation in the General Appropriations Act. The ex officio members are entitled to reimbursement for expenses from their respective agencies as provided by law for expenses incurred in the performance of their other official duties.

Sec. 2.09. Offices.
The commission shall maintain its general office in the City of Austin. The commission may also establish branch offices.

Sec. 2.10. Presiding Officer.
The governor shall designate a public member of the commission as the presiding officer of the commission to serve in that capacity at the pleasure of the governor.

Sec. 2.11. Meetings of Commission.
  (a) The commission shall hold at least six regular meetings each year on dates fixed by the commission. The commission shall adopt rules providing for the holding of special meetings.
  (b) A majority of the commission constitutes a quorum. A majority of a section of the commission constitutes a quorum for purposes of conducting business related to matters under the exclusive jurisdiction of that section.
  (c) The commission shall keep at its general office a public record of every vote.
  (d) The commission shall, by rule, develop and implement policies that provide the public with a reasonable opportunity to appear before the commission and to speak on any issue under the jurisdiction of the commission.

Sec. 2.12. Executive Secretary; Employees.
  (a) The commission shall employ an executive secretary and other employees as necessary to administer this Act.
  (a-1) The commission and the executive secretary may use the title "executive director" for any purpose in referring to the office of executive secretary.
  (b) The commission may not employ or continue to employ a person:
      (1) who owns or controls a financial interest in a licensee of the commission;
      (2) who is employed by or serves as a paid consultant to a licensee of the commission, an official breed registry, or a Texas trade association, as defined by Section 2.071(c) of this Act, in the field of horse or greyhound racing or breeding;
      (3) who owns or leases a race animal that participates in parimutuel racing in this state; or
      (4) who accepts or is entitled to any part of the purse or Texasbred incentive award to be paid on a greyhound or a horse in a race conducted in this state.
  (c) The commission may not employ or continue to employ a person who is residentially domiciled with or related within the first degree by affinity or consanguinity to a person who is subject to a disqualification prescribed by Subsection (b) of this section.
  (d) The commission shall employ the executive secretary and other employees to reflect the diversity of the population of the state as regards race, color, handicap, sex, religion, age, and national origin.

Sec. 2.13. Executive Secretary; Duties.
The executive secretary shall keep the records of the commission and shall perform other duties as required by the commission. The executive secretary serves at the pleasure of the commission on a full-time basis and may not hold other employment.

Sec. 2.14. Legal Representation.
The attorney general shall designate at least one member of the attorney general's staff to counsel and advise the commission and to represent the commission in legal proceedings. The attorney general shall make available to the appropriate prosecuting attorneys any information obtained regarding violations of this Act.

Sec. 2.15. Records.
  (a) All records of the commission that are not made confidential by other law are open to inspection by the public during regular office hours. All applications for a license under this Act shall be maintained by the commission and shall be available for public inspection during regular office hours.
  (b) The contents of the investigatory files of the commission are not public records and are confidential except in a criminal proceeding, in a hearing conducted by the commission, on court order, or with the consent of the party being investigated.
  (c) The commission may share with another regulatory agency of this state any investigatory file information that creates a reasonable suspicion of a person's violation of a law or rule under that agency's jurisdiction. The agency may use the information as if it was obtained through the agency's investigatory process.

Sec. 2.16. Department of Public Safety Records.
  (a) Except as otherwise provided by this Act, the files, records, information, compilations, documents, photographs, reports, summaries, and reviews of information and related matters that are collected, retained, or compiled by the Department of Public Safety in the discharge of its duties under this Act are confidential and are not subject to public disclosure, but are subject to discovery by a person that is the subject of the files, records, information, compilations, documents, photographs, reports, summaries, and reviews of information and related matters that are collected, retained, or compiled by the Department of Public Safety in the discharge of its duties under this Act.
  (b) An investigation report or other document submitted by the Department of Public Safety to the commission becomes part of the investigative files of the commission and is subject to discovery by a person that is the subject of the investigation report or other document submitted by the Department of Public Safety to the commission that is part of the investigative files of the commission.
  (c) Information that is in a form available to the public is not privileged or confidential under this section and is subject to public disclosure.

Sec. 2.17. Annual Accounting.
The commission shall prepare annually a complete and detailed written report accounting for all funds received and disbursed by the commission during the preceding fiscal year. The annual report must meet the reporting requirements applicable to financial reporting provided in the General Appropriations Act.

Sec. 2.18. Funds Paid to Commission.
All money paid to the commission under this Act is subject to Subchapter F, Chapter 404, Government Code.

Sec. 2.19. Employment Practices.
  (a) The executive secretary or the executive secretary's designee shall develop an intraagency career ladder program that addresses opportunities for mobility and advancement for employees within the commission. The program shall require intraagency posting of all positions concurrently with any public posting.
  (b) The executive secretary or the executive secretary's designee shall develop a system of annual performance evaluations that are based on documented employee performance. All merit pay for commission employees must be based on the system established under this subsection.
  (c) The executive secretary or the executive secretary's designee shall prepare and maintain a written policy statement to assure implementation of a program of equal employment opportunity under which all personnel transactions are made without regard to race, color, disability, sex, religion, age, or national origin. The policy statement must include:
      (1) personnel policies, including policies relating to recruitment, evaluation, selection, appointment, training, and promotion of personnel that are in compliance with the requirements of Chapter 21, Labor Code;
      (2) a comprehensive analysis of the commission workforce that meets federal and state laws, rules, regulations, and instructions directly promulgated from those laws, rules, and regulations;
      (3) procedures by which a determination can be made about the extent of underuse in the commission workforce of all persons for whom federal or state laws, rules, regulations, and instructions directly promulgated from those laws, rules, and regulations encourage a more equitable balance; and
      (4) reasonable methods to appropriately address those areas of underuse.
  (d) A policy statement prepared under Subsection (c) of this section must cover an annual period, be updated annually and reviewed by the Texas Commission on Human Rights for compliance with Subsection (c)(1) of this section, and be filed with the governor's office.
  (e) The governor's office shall deliver a biennial report to the legislature based on the information received under Subsection (d) of this section. The report may be made separately or as a part of other biennial reports made to the legislature.

Sec. 2.20. Standards of Conduct.
The executive secretary or the executive secretary's designee shall provide to members of the commission and to agency employees, as often as necessary, information regarding their qualification for office or employment under this Act and their responsibilities under applicable laws relating to standards of conduct for state officers or employees.

Sec. 2.21. Division of Responsibility.
The commission shall, by rule, develop and implement policies that clearly separate the policymaking responsibilities of the commission and the management responsibilities of the executive secretary and the staff of the commission.

Sec. 2.22. Program and Facility Accessibility.
The commission shall comply with federal and state laws related to program and facility accessibility. The executive secretary shall also prepare and maintain a written plan that describes how a person who does not speak English can be provided reasonable access to the commission's programs and services.

Sec. 2.23. Information to Public.
  (a) The commission shall prepare information of public interest describing the functions of the commission and the procedures by which complaints are filed with and resolved by the commission. The commission shall make the information available to the public and appropriate state agencies.
  (b) The commission by rule shall establish methods by which racetrack patrons are notified of the name, mailing address, and telephone number of the commission for the purpose of directing complaints to the commission. The commission may provide for that notification:
       (1) on every race performance program provided by each racetrack association; or
       (2) on signs prominently displayed in the common public areas on the premises of each racetrack association.

Sec. 2.24. Complaint Handling.
  (a) The commission shall keep information about each complaint filed with the commission. The information shall include:
       (1) the date the complaint is received;
       (2) the name of the complainant;
       (3) the subject matter of the complaint;
       (4) a record of all persons contacted in relation to the complaint;
       (5) a summary of the results of the review or investigation of the complaint; and
       (6) for complaints for which the agency took no action, an explanation of the reason the complaint was closed without action.
  (b) The commission shall keep a file about each written complaint filed with the commission that the agency has authority to resolve. The commission shall provide to the person filing the complaint and the persons or entities complained about the commission's policies and procedures pertaining to complaint investigation and resolution. The commission, at least quarterly and until final disposition of the complaint, shall notify the person filing the complaint and the persons or entities complained about of the status of the complaint unless the notice would jeopardize an undercover investigation.

Sec. 2.25. Negotiated Rulemaking And Alternative Dispute Resolution Procedures.
  (a) The commission shall develop and implement a policy to encourage the use of:
       (1) negotiated rulemaking procedures under Chapter 2008, Government Code, for the adoption of commission rules; and
       (2) appropriate alternative dispute resolution procedures under Chapter 2009, Government Code, to assist in the resolution of internal and external disputes under the commission's jurisdiction.
   (b) The commission's procedures relating to alternative dispute resolution shall conform, to the extent possible, to any model guidelines issued by the State Office of Administrative Hearings for the use of alternative dispute resolution by state agencies.
   (c) The commission shall:
       (1) coordinate the implementation of the policy adopted under Subsection (a) of this section;
       (2) provide training as needed to implement the procedures for negotiated rulemaking or alternative dispute resolution; and
       (3) collect data concerning the effectiveness of those procedures.


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Page updated: 8/28/15

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