Proposed Changes to Administrative Rules

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (Department) proposes amendments to existing rules at 16 Texas Administrative Code (TAC), Chapter 61, §§61.10, 61.20, 61.23, 61.40, 61.41, 61.43, 61.47, and 61.80, regarding the Combative Sports Program. These proposed changes are referred to as the “proposed rules.”

EXPLANATION OF AND JUSTIFICATION FOR THE RULES

The rules under 16 TAC Chapter 61 implement Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 2052, Combative Sports.

The proposed rules implement the provisions of House Bill (HB) 1560, 87 th Regular Session (2021) that removed licensure requirements for persons acting as combative sports seconds, matchmakers, and event coordinators. The proposed rules remove the licensure requirement for seconds, matchmakers, and event coordinators; repeal provisions that are no longer necessary in light of the removal of the licensing requirement; add a provision stating that a combative sports contestant is responsible for the conduct of his or her seconds; and make non-substantive changes to correct style and gender-specific language. The proposed rules are necessary to implement HB 1560.

The proposed rules were presented to and discussed by the Combative Sports Advisory Board at its meeting on September 21, 2021. The Advisory Board did not make any changes to the proposed rules. The Advisory Board voted and recommended that the proposed rules be published in the Texas Register for public comment.

SECTION-BY-SECTION SUMMARY

The proposed rules amend §61.10 (Definitions) to remove subsection (11) (the definition of “matchmaker”) and correct gender-specific language in subsection (8) (the definition of “knock-down”).

The proposed rules amend §61.20 (General Licensing Requirements) to remove the requirement in subsection (a) that combative sports seconds, matchmakers, and event coordinators hold a license in order to participate in a combative sports event. The proposed rules also correct gender-specific language in subsection (c).

The proposed rules amend §61.23 (General Prohibitions) to repeal subsection (d), which prohibited licensed matchmakers from also being licensed as a contestant, ring official, or second. The proposed rules also amend existing subsection (e) to make it clear that a licensed promoter may continue to act as a combative sports second. Additionally, the proposed rules remove a reference to matchmakers in subsection (a) and correct gender-specific language in subsection (f).

The proposed rules amend §61.40 (Responsibilities of the Promoter) to remove references to matchmakers and event coordinators in sections (b)(10), (b)(15)(F), and (b)(17). The proposed rules also modify subsection (a) to make it clear that promoter staff, not only the promoter, are allowed in contestant dressing rooms.

The proposed rules amend §61.41 (Responsibilities of the Referee) to remove the provision in subsection (i) requiring a referee to hold the chief second responsible for the conduct of a licensed contestant. This change is required by HB 1560. The proposed rules also reword subsection (b) without substantive change.

The proposed rules amend §61.43 (Responsibilities of Seconds) to remove language stating that a second is responsible for a contestant’s corner supplies.

The proposed rules amend §61.47 (Responsibilities of Contestants) to add new subsection (z), which states, “A contestant is responsible for the conduct of his or her seconds. Violation of these rules by a second may subject the contestant to disqualification, forfeiture, administrative penalty, and/or sanction.” This change was required in due to HB 1560’s removal of the licensure requirement for combative sports seconds. A licensed contestant is the most appropriate party to bear responsibility for a violation of the program statutes or rules by one of their seconds.

The proposed rules amend §61.80 (Fees) to remove fees related to the licensing of seconds, matchmakers, and event coordinators.

FISCAL IMPACT ON STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Tony Couvillon, Policy Research and Budget Analyst, has determined that for each year of the first five years the proposed rules are in effect, the department will experience an estimated $11,900 annual reduction in costs. The expected cost reductions are related to a reduced need for time and resources spent processing license applications, responding to customer service inquiries, conducting background checks, investigating complaints, and taking enforcement action against licensees. Mr. Couvillon has also determined that for each year of the first five years the proposed rules are in effect, the department will lose approximately $11,000 per year in licensing revenues.

Mr. Couvillon has also determined that for each year of the first five years the proposed rules are in effect, enforcing or administering the proposed rules does not have foreseeable implications relating to costs or revenues of local governments.

LOCAL EMPLOYMENT IMPACT STATEMENT

Mr. Couvillon has determined that the proposed rules will not affect the local economy; thus, the agency is not required to prepare a local employment impact statement under Government Code §2001.022.

PUBLIC BENEFITS

Mr. Couvillon also has determined that for each year of the first five-year period the proposed rules are in effect, the public benefit will be the elimination of unnecessary licensing requirements. Former license holders will also save money each year, as they will not have to submit license applications.

PROBABLE ECONOMIC COSTS TO PERSONS REQUIRED TO COMPLY WITH PROPOSAL

Mr. Couvillon has determined that for each year of the first five-year period the proposed rules are in effect, there are no anticipated economic costs to persons who are required to comply with the proposed rules.

FISCAL IMPACT ON SMALL BUSINESSES, MICRO-BUSINESSES, AND RURAL COMMUNITIES

There will be no adverse economic effect on small businesses, micro-businesses, or rural communities as a result of the proposed rules. Since the agency has determined that the proposed rule will have no adverse economic effect on small businesses, micro-businesses, or rural communities, preparation of an Economic Impact Statement and a Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, as detailed under Texas Government Code §2006.002, are not required.

ONE-FOR-ONE REQUIREMENT FOR RULES WITH A FISCAL IMPACT

The proposed rules do not have a fiscal note that imposes a cost on regulated persons, including another state agency, a special district, or a local government. Therefore, the agency is not required to take any further action under Government Code §2001.0045.

GOVERNMENT GROWTH IMPACT STATEMENT

Pursuant to Government Code §2001.0221, the agency provides the following Government Growth Impact Statement for the proposed rules. For each year of the first five years the proposed rules will be in effect, the agency has determined the following:

1. The proposed rules do not create or eliminate a government program.

2. Implementation of the proposed rules does not require the creation of new employee positions or the elimination of existing employee positions.

3. Implementation of the proposed rules does not require an increase or decrease in future legislative appropriations to the agency.

4. The proposed rules do require a decrease in fees paid to the agency. The proposed rules implement the repeal of three license types and therefore will result in a decrease in fees paid to the department.

5. The proposed rules do not create a new regulation.

6. The proposed rules do expand, limit, or repeal an existing regulation. The proposed rules make it clear that a licensed contestant will bear the responsibility for his or her seconds’ compliance with program statutes and rules.

7. The proposed rules do not increase or decrease the number of individuals subject to the rules’ applicability.

8. The proposed rules do not positively or adversely affect this state's economy.

TAKINGS IMPACT ASSESSMENT

The Department has determined that no private real property interests are affected by the proposed rules and the proposed rules do not restrict, limit, or impose a burden on an owner’s rights to his or her private real property that would otherwise exist in the absence of government action. As a result, the proposed rules do not constitute a taking or require a takings impact assessment under Government Code §2007.043.

PUBLIC COMMENTS

Comments on the proposed rules may be submitted electronically on the Department’s website at https://ga.tdlr.texas.gov:1443/form/gcerules ; by facsimile to (512) 475-3032; or by mail to Vanessa Vasquez, Legal Assistant, Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, P.O. Box 12157, Austin, Texas 78711. The deadline for comments is 30 days after publication in the Texas Register.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY

The proposed rules are proposed under Texas Occupations Code, Chapters 51 and 2052, which authorize the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation, the Department’s governing body, to adopt rules as necessary to implement these chapters and any other law establishing a program regulated by the Department.

The statutory provisions affected by the proposed rules are those set forth in Texas Occupations Code, Chapters 51 and 2052. No other statutes, articles, or codes are affected by the proposed rules.

§61.10. Definitions.

The following words and terms have the following meanings:

(1) - (7) (No change.)

(8) Knock-down--A knock-down occurs when any part of a contestant's body, other than the [ his ] feet, contacts the floor of the ring or fighting area as a result of a blow struck to the contestant by an opponent.

(9) - (10) (No change.)

[ (11) Matchmaker--One who arranges matches for professional combative sports contestants. ]

(11)[ (12) ] Person--Any natural person, corporation, partnership, association or other similar entity.

(12)[ (13) ] Purse--The financial guarantee or any other remuneration promised to contestants for participating in an event and includes guarantees for cable pay per view, radio, television or motion picture rights.

(13)[ (14) ] Ring Officials--Referees, judges, ringside physicians and timekeepers.

(14)[ (15) ] Ringside Physician--An individual who has an unrestricted and unlimited license to practice medicine in this state and who by agreement, is assigned as the physician for a combative sports event.

(15)[ (16) ] Second--A person who provides assistance or advice to a contestant during a contest.

(16)[ (17) ] Technical Zone--An alcohol free area located between the ring and a department-approved barrier with access restricted to designated medical personnel and equipment; working officials including, managers, ring officials, contestants, seconds, the promoter, promoter representatives and assignees, round card staff, department staff, assigned contract inspectors, authorized members of the media, authorized members of the event's sanctioning bodies, and security personnel; and regulatory oversight authorities.

(17)[ (18) ] Timekeeper--A person who is the official timer of the length of rounds/heats and the intervals between rounds/heats and counts when a contestant is down.

§61.20. General Licensing Requirements.

(a) Professional combative sports contestants, promoters, referees, judges, and [ seconds, matchmakers, ] managers[ , and event coordinators ] who officiate or participate in a regulated professional event authorized by the Code must be licensed or registered by the executive director. Referees who officiate at regulated amateur events must also be licensed or registered by the executive director.

(b) (No change.)

(c) If a licensee or registrant[ , ] other than a contestant [ or a second, ] changes his or her address of record, the licensee or registrant shall inform the executive director in writing of the change within 30 days[ of the change ].

(d) - (e) (No change.)

§61.23. General Prohibitions.

(a) Judges, Timekeepers[ , Matchmakers ], Referees, and Ringside Physicians may not have a direct or indirect financial interest in any contestant.

(b) - (c) (No change.)

[ (d) A matchmaker may not act as, and may not be licensed as; a contestant, ring official or second. ]

(d) [ (e) ] A promoter may not act as, and may not be a timekeeper or licensed as a referee or judge. A promoter may be licensed as a manager and may act as a second. A promoter may be licensed as a contestant unless prohibited by Federal law.

(e) [ (f) ] A promoter shall not permit a [ his ] promoter's license to be used by another person.

(f) [ (g) ] Licensed promoters may engage in promotions with other licensed promoters so long as each promoter holds a valid unexpired license.

(g) [ (h) ] No person shall be allowed to participate in an event performing a function for which a license is required, unless the person has proof of identification and a current license. Acceptable proof of identification includes driver's licenses, passport, state issued identification cards, federal identification cards, or any other identification required by the executive director.

(h)[ (i) ] A contestant may not act as, and may not be licensed as a judge.

(i)[ (j) ] A person who is an officer or director of a Ranking Organization may not act as, and may not be licensed as a judge.

§61.40. Responsibilities of the Promoter.

(a) (No change.)

(b) A promoter shall:

(1) - (9) (No change.)

(10) Provide no less than two private dressing rooms of adequate size for the contestants, [ and ] their licensed managers, and seconds, and separate dressing rooms for male and female contestants. Only working department employees, contract inspectors, media, physicians, working ring officials, promoter, promoter staff, [ matchmaker, ] manager, and seconds will be allowed in the dressing rooms.

(11) – (14) (No change.)

(15) Ensure that the rules in §61.106 regarding equipment and gloves that apply to a particular type of event are followed and that each event is conducted in compliance with the following:

(A) – (E) (No change.)

(F) There shall be at least one, but no more than three, authorized promoter representative(s) at ringside at all times. Only the promoter's representative(s), department officials, the press, physicians, representatives of sanctioning bodies, and judges shall sit at the ringside tables. For purposes of this subparagraph, [ an event coordinator is a representative of the promoter; however, ] assignees are not representatives of the promoter.

(16) Pay by check or money order the licensing fee of any contestant[ , second, ] or manager[ , ] who intends to participate in a scheduled combative sports event and who is not licensed at the time of the event weigh-in.

(17) Supervise the activities of employees [ and event coordinators ] to ensure [ assure ] that promoted events are conducted in compliance with this chapter and applicable statutes.

(18) (No change.)

(c) – (f) (No change.)

§61.41. Responsibilities of the Referee.

(a) (No change.)

(b) The referee may eject from an event any person who violates the Code or department rules. If a second violates this chapter or the Code, the referee may disqualify the [ seconds' ] contestant to whom the second is assigned.

(c) – (h) (No change.)

(i) Before each bout, the referee shall call the contestants and their chief seconds together for final instructions. [ The referee shall hold the chief second responsible for his contestant's conduct during the bout. ]

(j) – (p) (No change.)

§61.43. Responsibilities of Seconds.

(a) – (h) (No change.)

(i) The following rules apply to [ A second shall be responsible for a contestant's ] corner supplies:[ . ]

(1) – (5) (No change.)

(j) – (k) (No change.)

§61.47. Responsibilities of Contestants.

(a) – (y) (No change.)

(z) A contestant is responsible for the conduct of his or her seconds. Violation of these rules by a second may subject the contestant to disqualification, forfeiture, administrative penalty, and/or sanction.

§61.80. Fees.

(a) The annual fee shall accompany each license or registration application or renewal as follows:[ . ]

(1) Promoter--$900

(2) Contestant--$20

(3) Manager--$100

[ (4) Second--$20 ]

[ (5) Matchmaker--$100 ]

(4)[ (6) ] Referee--$125

(5)[ (7) ] Judge--$100

(6)[ (8) ] Amateur Combative Sports Association--$50

[ (9) Event Coordinator--$200 ]

(b) – (d) (No change.)

REVIEW BY AGENCY COUNSEL

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the proposal and found it to be within the state agency’s legal authority to adopt.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on September 27, 2021.


Brad Bowman
General Counsel
Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation