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:

  • The Boxing and Wrestling Division regulated and enforced boxing and wrestling contests and their promotion within the state of Texas.
  • The Oil and Gas Enforcement Division administered laws protecting the health and safety of industrial workers.
  • The Boiler Inspection Division regulated the use of boilers through the registration and inspection of boilers that operated at a pressure of greater than fifteen pounds per square inch.

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:

  • Private Employment Agency Regulatory Board;
  • Performance Certification Board for Mobile Homes;
  • Board of Boiler Rules;
  • Industrialized Building Code Council;
  • Manufactured Homeowners' Recovery Fund Board of Trustees; and
  • Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors Advisory Board.

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 39 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

  • On February 26, 1909, Governor Thomas Mitchell Campbell signs House Bill 109 (31st Legislature, Regular Session) creating the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Office of the Commissioner to consolidate labor statistics in Texas, including those involving women and children workers and workplace health conditions. The agency is also given responsibility for enforcing existing labor laws, inspecting factories, and marketing the use of the state’s natural resources.

1915

  • The Commissioner of Labor Statistics is delegated administrative authority to oversee private employment agencies.

1923

  • Statute is amended to require licensing of private employment agents in addition to agencies.

 

1929

  • Licensing and regulation of Barbers begins in Texas with the enactment of House Bill 104 (41st Legislature, 1st Called Session) effective September 1, 1929. (9/1/1929)

1933

  • At the height of the Depression, the Bureau of Labor Statistics becomes the local administrator for the National Industrial Recovery Act, and assumes enforcement of the state’s oil and gas laws (which are later transferred to the Railroad Commission).
  • On June 13, 1933, House Bill 832 (43rd Legislature) is approved, legalizing boxing and wrestling in Texas, and giving the Commissioner of Labor Statistics regulatory supervision authority. The law took effect August 29, 1933, 90 days after the adjournment of the 43rd (8/29/1933)

1935

  • Licensing and regulation of Cosmetologists is established with the enactment of House Bill 189 (44th Legislature). The law took effect August 9, 1935, 90 days after adjournment of the 44th Legislature, Regular Session. (8/9/1935)

1937

  • The Texas Boiler Act (House Bill 352, 45th Legislature) is enacted, in response to the New London School explosion that killed approximately 300 students and teachers, making it the deadliest school disaster in American history. The bill was approved and took immediate effect on June 3, 1937. (6/3/1937)

1939

  • Regulation of Podiatry begins in Texas with the enactment of House Bill 195 (46th Legislature) establishing the State Board of Chiropody Examiners. HB 195 took effect July 11, 1939. (7/11/1939)

1949

  • The Private Employment Agency Act, House Bill 387(51st Legislature), is enacted. The Act establishes new licensing requirements for private employment agencies and clarifies existing laws. (5/21/1949)

1961

  • Water Well Driller regulation begins with the enactment of House Bill 409 (57th Legislature) under authority of the State Board of Water Engineers (later the Texas Water Commission). The bill took effect August 27, 1961, 90 days after adjournment of the 57th (8/27/1961)

1965

  • Regulation of Sanitarians begins at the State Board of Health (later Department of State Health Services) with the enactment of Senate Bill 333 (59th Legislature) and the creation of the Sanitarian Advisory Committee. Because this regulation was considered by the Legislature necessary to preserve public health and safety, SB 333 was passed as emergency legislation and took effect immediately upon enactment. (6/1/1965)

1967

  • Requirements for Texas driver education and traffic safety enacted by House Bill 568 (60th Legislature) under the authority of the Department of Public Safety. The bill took effect August 28, 1967, 90 days after adjournment of the 60th (8/28/1967)
  • Weather Modification program regulation enacted by Senate Bill 458 (60th Legislature) and placed under authority of the Texas Water Development Board. The bill took effect August 28, 1967, 90 days after adjournment of the 60th (8/28/1967)

1969

  • Senate Bill 111 (61st Legislature) requires buildings and facilities constructed in Texas with federal, state, county, or municipal funds to be built according to standards that “eliminate…unnecessary barriers encountered by the aged, handicapped or disabled persons, whose ability to engage in gainful occupations or to achieve maximum personal independence is needlessly restricted when such persons cannot readily use public buildings.” Administration and enforcement responsibility resided primarily with the State Building Commission, with the assistance of state rehabilitation agencies. (1/1/1970)
  • Licensing and regulation established for Hearing Instrument Fitters and Dispensers with the enactment of Senate Bill 287 (61st Legislature) and creation of the Texas Board of Examiners in the Fitting and Dispensing of Hearing Aids. (1/1/1970)
  • Licensing and inspection authority for mobile home dealers and manufacturers established at Bureau of Labor Statistics with the enactment of Senate Bill 153 (61st Legislature). (9/1/1969)
  • Polygraph Examiners licensing established with the enactment of Senate Bill 740 (61st Legislature) and creation of a six-member Polygraph Examiners Board appointed by the governor. SB 740 was considered emergency legislation and took immediate effect upon the signature of Governor Preston Smith on June 18, 1969. (6/18/1969)
  • House Bill 169 (61st Legislature) creates the Texas Private Employment Agency Regulation Board, which functions under the umbrella of the Bureau of Labor Statistics and enacts licensing for private employment agencies. (9/1/1969)

1971

  • Athletic Trainers licensing begins in Texas with the enactment of House Bill 602 (62nd Legislature) and the creation of the Texas Board of Athletic Trainers. (9/1/1971)

 

1973

  • With the enactment of House Bill 901, the 63rd Texas Legislature changes the name of the Bureau of Labor Statistics to the Texas Department of Labor and Standards. (9/1/1973)

1975

  • Auctioneer industry regulation begins in Texas with the enactment of House Bill 1925 (64th Legislature). HB 1925 is considered emergency legislation, taking effect 90 days after being signed by Governor Dolph Briscoe on May 27, 1975. (8/25/1975)

1977

  • Regulation of Property Tax Professionals begins with enactment of Senate Bill 67 (65th Legislature) and the creation of the Board of Tax Assessor Examiners. SB 67 was signed by Governor Dolph Briscoe on June 15, 1977 with an effective date 90 days later. (9/13/1977)

1979

  • Comprehensive regulations relating to the Elimination of Architectural Barriers in Texas are established by the enactment of House Bill 1673 (66th Legislature). (9/1/1979)
  • The Texas Mobile Homes Standards Act is amended to include regulations for modular homes and changed to the Texas Manufactured Housing Standards Act with the enactment of Senate Bill 636 (66th Legislature).

1981

  • DWI/Drug Offender programs established by Senate Bill 368 (67th Legislature) creating mandatory educational programs for persons convicted of DWI/DUI. (1/1/1982)

1983

  • Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractor regulation is enacted with the passage of Senate Bill 642 (68th Legislature). (9/1/1983)
  • Licensing and regulation of Dietitians is established with the enactment of Senate Bill 671 (68th Legislature). The Texas State Board of Examiners of Dietitians is established with administrative services provided through the Texas Department of Health (later Department of State Health Services). (9/1/1983)
  • Regulation of Midwives is established at the Texas Department of Health (later Department of State Health Services) with the enactment of Senate Bill 238 (68th Legislature). The bill established a nine-member midwifery board appointed by the Texas Board of Health. (9/1/1983)
  • Licensing and regulation of Speech-Language Pathologists & Audiologists is established with the enactment of Senate Bill 813 (68th Legislature). The bill created the State Committee of Examiners for Speech Pathology and Audiology within the Texas Department of Health (later Department of State Health Services). (9/1/1983)

1985

  • Industrialized Housing and Buildings program is established with the enactment of House Bill 1218 (69th Legislature). (9/1/1985)
  • Massage Therapists program and Advisory Council on Massage Therapy are established at Texas Department of Health (later Department of State Health Services) through the enactment of House Bill 2012 (69th Legislature). (9/1/1985)

1987

  • Career Counseling Services program established with the enactment of Senate Bill 1142 (70th Legislature). The legislation set standards for career counselors to ensure job seekers received legitimate services and unscrupulous operators were shut down. (9/1/1987)

1988

  • Review of the agency is undertaken for the 71st Legislature by the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission. Read the 1988 Sunset report. (8/1988)

1989

  • Through enactment of House Bill 863 (71st Legislature) the agency becomes the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR). The new agency is overseen by a six-member Commission of Licensing and Regulation (later increased to seven) appointed by the Governor with the approval of the Texas Senate. HB 863 also broadened TDLR’s licensing and enforcement authority for the programs it administers, including appointing advisory board members, setting license and other fees, and imposing penalties and sanctions. (9/1/1989)
  • Regulation of Talent Agencies is established with the enactment of Senate Bill 759 (71st Legislature). (9/1/1989)

1991

  • Court-ordered alcohol education for minors established with the enactment of House Bill 2183 (72nd Legislature).
  • Code Enforcement Officers program regulation begins with the enactment of House Bill 1257 (72nd Legislature) and placed under the authority of the Texas Department of Health (later Department of State Health Services). (9/1/1991)
  • Elimination of Architectural Barriers program transferred to TDLR from General Services Commission through enactment of House Bill 39 (72nd Legislature, 2nd Called Session). HB 39 added provisions for fees, inspections, penalties, and contracting for services, and created the Architectural Barriers Advisory Committee. (9/1/1991; some provisions 1/1/1992)
  • Property Tax Consultants program regulation is established at TDLR with the enactment of Senate Bill 773 (72nd Legislature) and the creation of the Property Tax Consultants Advisory Council. (9/1/1991)
  • Temporary Common Worker Employers program regulation is established at TDLR with the enactment of Senate Bill 1520 (72nd Legislature). (9/1/1991)
  • Licensing of Water Well Pump Installers begins with the enactment of House Bill 1648 (72nd Legislature) and placed under the authority of Texas Water Commission (later Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission).

1993

  • Elevators, Escalators and Related Equipment program regulation is established at TDLR through the enactment of House Bill 154 (73rd Legislature). (9/1/1993)
  • Staff Leasing Services business licensing is established at TDLR through the enactment of House Bill 456, 73rd The program name is later changed to Professional Employer Organizations. (9/1/1993)

 1995

  • Regulation of manufactured housing is transferred to the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs with the enactment of House Bill 785 (74th Legislature). (9/1/1995)

1997

  • Licensing and regulation of Orthotists and Prosthetists begins at the Texas Department of Health (later Department of State Health Services) with the enactment of Senate Bill 291 (75th Legislature). The bill creates the Texas Board of Orthotics and Prosthetics, a six-member board appointed by the governor. (9/1/1997)
  • Regulation of Transportation Service Providers established at TDLR with the enactment of House Bill 1487. (9/1/1997)
  • Water Well Drillers and Pump Installers programs transferred to TDLR from the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission with the enactment of Senate Bill 1955 (75th Legislature). (9/1/1997)

1999

  • The enabling statute for the Department is re-codified in Chapter 51, Texas Occupations Code, and the prior enabling law in Article 9100, Texas Civil Statutes, is repealed.
  • Service Contract Providers program created at TDLR through the enactment of Senate Bill 1775 (76th Legislature). (9/1/1999)
  • William H. Kuntz is hired as Executive Director of TDLR; Brian Francis is hired as Deputy Executive Director.

2000

  • TDLR begins reorganizing along functional lines, transferring the architectural barriers project registration and elevator certification functions from the Code Review and Inspection Division to the Licensing Division.
  • TDLR is one of six agencies involved in the pilot project for Texas Online, the main web portal site for state services. As part of this project, TDLR develops online Air Conditioning and Refrigeration contractor license renewal.

2001

  • Licensed Court Interpreters program regulation is established with the enactment of House Bill 2735. (9/1/2001)
  • Weather Modification program transferred to TDLR from the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission by the 77th Texas Legislature through the enactment of Senate Bill 1175. (9/1/2001)
  • The Legislature gives TDLR authority to register and regulate plan reviewers and inspectors in the Elimination of Architectural Barriers program.

2002

  • Vehicle Protection Products Warrantors program created at TDLR through the enactment of Senate Bill 714 (77th Legislature). (1/1/2002)

2003

  • Electricians program created at TDLR through the enactment of House Bill 1487 (78th Legislature). (9/1/2003)
  • For-Profit Legal Service Contracts program transferred to TDLR from the Texas Department of Insurance by the enactment of Senate Bill 597 (78th Legislature). (9/1/2003)
  • Loss Damage Waivers licensing is created at TDLR through the enactment of Senate Bill 279, Section 24:003 of Sunset bill (78th Legislature). (9/1/2003)
  • Mold Assessors and Remediators licensing program created at Texas Department of Health (later Department of State Health Services) with the enactment of House Bill 329 (78th Legislature). (9/1/2003)
  • Transportation Service Providers program transferred to Department of Public Safety from TDLR by the 78th Legislature through enactment of Senate Bill 279, Article 17 of Sunset bill. (9/1/2003)

2005

  • Barbering program transferred to TDLR from the Texas State Board of Barber Examiners by the 79th Legislature through the enactment of Senate Bill 411. (9/1/2005)
  • Cosmetology program transferred to TDLR from the Texas Cosmetology Commission by the 79th Legislature through the enactment of Senate Bill 411. (9/1/2005)
  • Career Counseling Services program abolished by the 79th Legislature through enactment of House Bill 2856. (6/18/2005)

2007

  • Discount Health Care Cards program created at TDLR by the 80th Legislature through the enactment of House Bill 3064. (9/1/2007)
  • Towing and Vehicle Storage Facilities programs transferred to TDLR from the Texas Department of Transportation by the 80th Legislature through the enactment of House Bill 2094. (9/1/2007)

2009

  • Dyslexia Therapists and Practitioners program established by House Bill 461 (81st Legislature) under the authority of DSHS (9/1/2009).
  • Licensing and regulation of Identity Recovery Service Contract Providers established with the enactment of Senate Bill 778 (81st Legislature). (9/1/2009)
  • Laser Hair Removal regulation established at DSHS with the enactment of House Bill 449 (81st Legislature). (9/1/2009)
  • Property Tax Professionals program transferred to TDLR from the Texas Board of Tax Professional Examiners by the enactment of House Bill 2447 (81st Legislature). (6/19/2009)
  • Polygraph Examiners program transferred to TDLR from the Texas Polygraph Examiners Board by the 81st Texas Legislature through the enactment of Senate Bill 1005. (5/27/2009)
  • Used Automotive Parts Recycling program established at TDLR with the enactment of Senate Bill 1095 (81st Legislature). (9/1/2009)
  • Licensing and regulation of Vehicle Booting companies and boot operators established with the passage of Senate Bill 2153 (81st Legislature). (9/1/2009)

2010

  • Discount Health Care Card program transferred from TDLR to Texas Department of Insurance by the 81st Texas Legislature through enactment of House Bill 4341. (4/1/2010)

2011

  • Licensed Breeders program created at TDLR through enactment of House Bill 1451 (82nd Legislature). (6/17/2011)
  • Personnel Employment Services program abolished through enactment of House Bill 3167 (82nd Legislature). (9/1/2011)
  • Talent Agencies program abolished through enactment of House Bill 3167 (82nd Legislature). (9/1/2011)

2013

  • Identity Recovery Service Providers consolidated into TDLR’s Service Contract Providers program by the 83rd Texas Legislature through the enactment of Senate Bill 1388. (9/1/2013)
  • Rental Purchase Agreements Loss Damage Waivers licensing abolished by the 83rd Texas Legislature through enactment of Senate Bill 289. (9/1/2013)
  • Staff Leasing Services renamed Professional Employer Organizations by the 83rd Texas Legislature through the enactment of Senate Bill 1286. (9/1/2013)

2014

  • Licensed Court Interpreters program transferred to the Judicial Branch Certification Commission by the 83rd Texas Legislature through enactment of Senate Bill 966. (9/1/2014)

2015

  • Thirteen health-related professional licensing programs are transferred to TDLR from the Department of State Health Services by the 84th Texas Legislature through enactment of Senate Bill 202. (9/1/2015)
  • House Bill 1786 (84th Legislature) transfers to TDLR the Parent Taught Driver program from Department of Public Safety and the Driver and Traffic Safety Education program from Texas Education Agency. The two programs are consolidated at TDLR as the Driver Education and Safety (9/1/2015)

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)
  • Through enactment of Senate Bill 202 (84th Legislature), six additional DSHS programs transfer to TDLR effective November 1, 2017: Code Enforcement Officers, Laser Hair Removal, Massage Therapy, Mold Assessors and Remediators, Offender Education Providers, and Sanitarians.
  • Through enactment of Senate Bill 589 (85th Legislature) the Behavior Analysts program is established, with licensing and regulation beginning no later than September 1, 2018. (9/1/2017)
  • After undergoing review by the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission, the Podiatry program is transferred to TDLR from the Texas State Board of Podiatric Medical Examiners through enactment of House Bill 3078. (9/1/2017)
  • House Bill 162 (85th Legislature) directs TDLR to establish the Responsible Pet Owners (9/1/2017)
  • Senate Bill 2065 (85th Legislature), a deregulation “omnibus” bill, is enacted. This bill deregulates the following programs: Vehicle Protection Product Warrantors, Temporary Common Worker Employers, For-Profit Legal Service Contracts, and Booting. The bill also clarified the Barber and Cosmetology statutes to formally deregulate threading and shampooing. (VPP, TCW, BAR/COS 9/1/2017; Booting 9/1/2018; LSC 9/1/2019)
  • Transportation Network Companies are regulated statewide for the first time through enactment of House Bill 100 (85th Legislature). The bill, which created a consistent regulatory framework in Texas for ride-hailing companies, was signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott on May 29, 2017 and took effect immediately. (5/29/2017)

2018

  • In April, TDLR conducts an online survey and holds five Strategic Planning Sessions in Arlington, Austin, El Paso, Houston and McAllen to receive input from the public and help chart the agency’s future. (4/9-4/23/2018)
  • TDLR releases the agency’s Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2019-2023, updating TDLR’s mission, vision, and philosophy, and outlining strategic initiatives for the upcoming 86th Session of the Texas Legislature. (6/8/2018)
  • On June 15, TDLR begins issuing Behavior Analyst licenses ahead of the September 1, 2018 deadline for licensure in Texas. (6/15/2018)

 


 

(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.)