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You are here: Home . rules . 2004 . 1022A-059
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Subchapter L. Selection of a Testing Services Vendor for Administration of Licensing Examinations

28 TAC §§19.1101 ­ 19.1104

The Texas Department of Insurance proposes new Subchapter L, §§19.1101-19.1104, concerning the selection of a testing services vendor for the administration of licensing examinations. The new sections implement standards for the vendor selection process under Insurance Code Article 21.01-1, §1(a) in a manner consistent with state procurement statutes and regulations. The department has proposed for repeal existing §§19.1101 ­ 19.1110 elsewhere in this issue of the Texas Register .

The proposed sections set forth an appropriate examination testing vendor selection process implementing the authority granted in Article 21.01-1, §1(a). The proposed vendor selection process complies with state procurement laws and regulations and establishes that the department shall determine the bid document requirements, including contract specifications and evaluation criteria at the time the bid document is prepared. The department is basing this proposal to develop bid requirements and evaluation criteria at the time of preparation of the bid document, instead of being bound to requirements developed years in advance, on its many years' experience with testing vendor procurement. The proposed selection process will allow for preparation of a bid document that is more responsive to current license applicant needs, evolving industry practices, and changing technology.

Article 21.01-1, §1(a) requires a Government Code, Chapter 2001 hearing prior to the adoption of rules establishing appropriate standards to implement the authority granted in Article 21.01-1, §1(a). In addition to this requirement, the proposal provides that the department shall continue to select the successful vendor at a public hearing called for that purpose. Accordingly, the department will continue to prepare a public bid document stating its requirements for an examination testing services vendor, invite vendor bids on that document, evaluate the vendor bids in accordance with the terms of the bid document, and then select the successful vendor at a public hearing.

Proposed §19.1101 sets forth the vendor selection process and provides that the department will act in compliance with state procurement statutes, the Insurance Code and the requirements specified in the bid document; that any vendor desiring to be considered must submit a qualifying proposal in response to the bid document; and that the department shall review each proposal to determine its compliance with the bid document's requirements. Proposed §19.1102 directs the department, or its evaluation committee, to evaluate the merits of the qualifying proposals. Proposed §19.1103 states that following the evaluation of vendor bids, the commissioner shall conduct a public hearing and select the successful vendor. Following the hearing the department may negotiate and execute a final written contract with the successful vendor as authorized in Article 21.01-1, §1(a). Proposed §19.1104 clarifies that objections to bid process or vendor selection under this subchapter must comply with the department's vendor procurement protest procedures at §§ 1.1101 - 1.1107 (Procedures for Vendor Protest of Procurement) .

The department will consider the adoption of new Subchapter L, §§19.1101-19.1104, in a public hearing under Docket Number 2603, scheduled for 10:00 a.m., on November 30, 2004, in Room 100 of the William P. Hobby, Jr. State Office Building, 333 Guadalupe Street, Austin, Texas.

Matt Ray, deputy commissioner, licensing division , has determined that for each year of the first five years the proposed sections will be in effect there will be no fiscal impact to state and local governments as a result of the enforcement or administration of the proposed rule. There will be no anticipated effect on local employment or the local economy as a result of the proposal.

Mr. Ray has determined that for each year of the first five years the proposed rule is in effect, the anticipated public benefit will be better public service achieved through a more efficient examination testing vendor selection process based on allowing for the preparation of a bid document that is more responsive to current applicant needs, industry practices, and technology. Any economic costs to comply with the proposed rule currently exist under the existing rule or result from the enactment of Insurance Code Article 21.01-1, §1(a) and state procurement laws and regulations and are not a result of the adoption, enforcement, or administration of the proposed sections. There will be no difference in the cost of compliance between a large and small business as a result of the proposed rule. Based upon the cost of labor per hour, there is no disproportionate economic impact on small or micro businesses. Even if the proposed rule would have an adverse effect on small or micro businesses, it is neither legal nor feasible to waive the provisions of the proposed sections for small or micro businesses because the Insurance Code requires equal application of these provisions to all affected persons.

To be considered, written comments on the proposal must be submitted no later than 5 p.m. on December 6, 2004 to Gene C. Jarmon, General Counsel and Chief Clerk, Mail Code 113-2A, Texas Department of Insurance, P. O. Box 149104 , Austin , Texas 78714-9104 . An additional copy of the comments must be simultaneously submitted to Matt Ray, Deputy Commissioner, Licensing Division, Mail Code 107-1A, Texas Department of Insurance, P.O. Box 149104, Austin, Texas 78714-9104.

These sections are proposed under Insurance Code Article 21.01-1 and §36.001. Article 21.01-1, §1(a) authorizes the commissioner to contract with a licensing examinations testing vendor for testing services and adopt such rules and standards as may be deemed appropriate by the commissioner to implement that authority. Insurance Code §36.001 provides that the Commissioner of Insurance may adopt any rules necessary and appropriate to implement the powers and duties of the Texas Department of Insurance under the Insurance Code and other laws of this state.

The following statutes are affected by the proposal: Insurance Code Article 21.01-1

§19.1101 Vendor Selection Process.

(a) The department shall select a t esting services vendor in accordance with Insurance Code Article 21.01-1, state procurement statutes and regulations, the provisions of this subchapter, and the requirements specified in any bid document issued by the department for selecting a licensing examination testing services vendor.

(b) The department shall issue a bid document setting forth its requirements for a testing services vendor contract. Any testing service vendor that would like to be considered for selection by the department for administration of license examinations must submit a qualifying proposal to the department in response to the bid document the department has issued in the manner and by the deadline required in the bid document.

(c) The department shall review each proposal for compliance with this subchapter and other necessary requirements as contained in related statutes, rules, and the bid document.

§19.1102 Evaluation.

(a) The department shall evaluate each qualifying proposal based on the evaluation criteria set forth in the bid document.

(b) The department may establish an evaluation committee to conduct or assist in the evaluation process. Such committee may consist entirely of department staff with responsibility in areas affected by the various license types or knowledge of the technical areas covered in the bid document. The department may also include technical testing experts in the evaluation committee. Committee members may not have a direct or indirect financial relationship to potential vendors or be related to an employee of a vendor within the second degree of affinity or consanguinity.

(c) An evaluation committee established under this section shall not be considered to be an advisory committee as that term is defined in Government Code, Chapter 2110.

§19.1103 Selection of Vendor.

(a) The commissioner shall conduct a public hearing for the purpose of selecting a licensing examination testing vendor in accordance with the bid document and state procurement statutes and regulations.

(b) After selection of the vendor, the department may engage in contract negotiations and execute a final written contract with the successful vendor.

§19.1104 Objection to Selection Process. Any objection to the examination testing vendor selection or bid process under this subchapter, must comply with §§ 1.1101 - 1.1107 of this title (relating to Procedures For Vendor Protest of Procurement) .



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