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History of the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation

Texas Bureau of Labor Statistics

Image of House Bill 109 from the 31st Texas Legislature, authorizing the creation of the Texas Bureau of Labor Statistics

The history of the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) starts in the early 20th century. In 1909, the 31st Texas Legislature enacted House Bill 109, creating the Texas Bureau of Labor Statistics. The mission of the Bureau was to collect and report statistical information to the governor regarding labor and industry within the state of Texas.

The Bureau reported on the commercial, social, educational, and sanitary conditions of Texas workers and their families, and was headed by a commissioner appointed to a two-year term by the governor. Gradually, the Legislature increased the Bureau’s responsibilities and added powers of administration and enforcement of laws impacting the health and safety of employees, employers, and the public.

The Bureau's Labor Division administered and enforced labor laws related to wages, hours, payment, health, safety, and the Child Labor Law. Originally passed in 1925 (House Bill 161, 39th Legislature) and amended in 1929 (House Bill 319, 41st Legislature), the law regulated the age at which children were legally able to work, permitted hours, and types of employment. The Bureau inspected each child work permit and worked with local law enforcement to prosecute violations.

The Bureau’s Employment Agency Division enforced the Employment and Labor Agency Law passed in 1929 (Senate Bill 127, 41st Legislature, 2nd Called Session) and amended in 1943 (House Bill 264, 48th Legislature) and 1947 (House Bill 770, 50th Legislature). The law regulated employment agencies, which assisted individuals in finding jobs within their county, and labor agencies, which hired agricultural workers on behalf of an out-of-state employer.

During this time the Bureau had three other divisions:

Department of Labor and Standards

In 1973, the Legislature (House Bill 901, 63rd Legislature) changed the name of the agency from the Texas Bureau of Labor Statistics to the Texas Department of Labor and Standards. During this time, six advisory bodies served the commissioner of the Department:

Department of Licensing and Regulation

In 1989, the Legislature (House Bill 863, 71st Legislature) changed the agency's name to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR), and created a six-member (later seven) Commission of Licensing and Regulation to act as the agency’s governing body. Members of the commission are appointed by the governor to six-year overlapping terms and confirmed by the senate.

Throughout the years, TDLR has evolved to become the state's primary occupational licensing agency, responsible today for the management of 38 licensing programs.


A Timeline of TDLR History

Scan of House Bill 109 (31R)
House Bill 109, signed by Governor Thomas Mitchell Campbell on February 26, 1909.

1909

1915

1923

1923

1929

1933

1935

1937

1945

1949

1957

1961

1965

1967

1969

1971

1973

1975

1977

1979

1981

1983

1985

1987

1988

1989

1991

1993

1995

1997

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2005

2007

2009

2010

2011

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

Governor Abbott signing HB100
Governor Greg Abbott holds up House Bill 100 after signing it into law on May 29, 2017. (Photo from Office of the Governor)

2018

2019

2020

2021

2022

2023

2024

 


 

(Sources include: Texas State Library and Archives Commission; Guide to Texas State Agencies, various editions; biennial reports of the agency, various years; agency records; Texas Sunset Advisory Commission staff reports, 1978 & 1988.)