Florida Senate - 2019                                     SB 578
       By Senator Broxson
       1-00904-19                                             2019578__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to professional geology; amending s.
    3         492.102, F.S.; revising and providing definitions;
    4         amending s. 492.103, F.S.; revising membership of the
    5         Board of Professional Geologists; amending s. 492.104,
    6         F.S.; revising specified fees for certain purposes;
    7         amending s. 492.105, F.S.; providing that the
    8         examination fee is nonrefundable; amending s.
    9         492.1051, F.S.; revising geologist-in-training
   10         registration requirements; amending s. 492.107, F.S.;
   11         revising the types of documents that require the
   12         signature, date, and seal of a professional geologist;
   13         providing that all preliminary documents must include
   14         certain text in lieu of a seal; amending s. 492.108,
   15         F.S.; revising applicant requirements for licensure by
   16         endorsement; amending s. 492.109, F.S.; providing
   17         requirements for licensure renewal; authorizing the
   18         board to adopt a continuing education program;
   19         amending s. 492.111, F.S.; conforming provisions to
   20         changes made by the act; amending s. 492.112, F.S.;
   21         providing construction; amending s. 492.116, F.S.;
   22         providing that certain persons may only maintain their
   23         specified exemptions if they do not submit documents
   24         for public record; exempting certain persons
   25         practicing professional geology from certain
   26         requirements; providing an effective date.
   28  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   30         Section 1. Section 492.102, Florida Statutes, is amended to
   31  read:
   32         492.102 Definitions.—For the purposes of this chapter,
   33  unless the context clearly requires otherwise:
   34         (1) “Board” means the Board of Professional Geologists.
   35         (2) “Department” means the Department of Business and
   36  Professional Regulation.
   37         (5)(3) “Geology” means the science which includes the study
   38  treatment of the earth and its origin and history. The term
   39  includes, in general; the investigation, research, and
   40  interpretation of the earth’s constituent rocks, minerals,
   41  hydrocarbons, crust and interior and the solids, and fluids,
   42  including all surface and underground waters, and gases, and
   43  other materials, and which compose the earth; the study of the
   44  natural agents, forces, and processes which cause changes in
   45  both the subsurface and surface of the earth, including
   46  anthropogenic features or activities that may affect, or be
   47  affected by these agents, forces, physical and chemical
   48  characteristics; and the utilization of this knowledge of the
   49  earth and its solids, fluids, and gases, and their collective
   50  properties and processes, for the benefit of humankind.
   51         (3)(4) “Geologist” means an individual who, by reason of
   52  her or his knowledge of geology, soils, mathematics, and the
   53  physical and life sciences, acquired by education and practical
   54  experience, is capable of practicing the science of geology.
   55         (4)“Geologist-in-training” means an individual who has the
   56  required academic qualifications established by the board,
   57  passed an examination approved by the board by demonstrating a
   58  knowledge of the fundamentals of geology, and is enrolled as a
   59  geologist-in-training by the board.
   60         (8)(5) “Qualified geologist” means an individual who
   61  possesses all the qualifications for licensure under the
   62  provisions of this chapter, except that such person is not
   63  licensed.
   64         (7)(6) “Professional geologist” means an individual who
   65  holds a valid license issued by the board; holds a bachelor’s
   66  degree or higher in geology or one of its specialties from an
   67  accredited postsecondary institution or from a program
   68  accredited by an organization recognized by the board as meeting
   69  the standards of the board; has passed the competency
   70  examinations; and has practical experience as set forth in this
   71  chapter who is licensed as a geologist under the provisions of
   72  this chapter.
   73         (6)(7) “Practice of professional geology” means the
   74  performance of, or offer to perform, geological services,
   75  including, but not limited to, consultation, investigation,
   76  evaluation, planning, and geologic mapping, but not including
   77  mapping as prescribed in chapter 472, relating to geological
   78  work, except as specifically exempted by this chapter. Any
   79  person who practices any specialty branch of the profession of
   80  geology, or who by verbal claim, sign, advertisement,
   81  letterhead, card, or any other means represents herself or
   82  himself to be a professional geologist, or who through the use
   83  of some title implies that she or he is a professional geologist
   84  or that she or he is licensed under this chapter, or who holds
   85  herself or himself out as able to perform or does perform any
   86  geological services or work recognized as professional geology,
   87  shall be construed to be engaged in the practice of professional
   88  geology.
   89         Section 2. Section 492.103, Florida Statutes, is amended to
   90  read:
   91         492.103 Board of Professional Geologists.—
   92         (1) There is created in the department of Business and
   93  Professional Regulation the Board of Professional Geologists.
   94  The board shall consist of seven members, five of whom shall be
   95  professional geologists, and two of whom shall be laypersons who
   96  are not and have never been geologists or members of any closely
   97  related profession or occupation. The State Geologist, as
   98  provided for in s. 377.075(3), chief of the Bureau of Geology in
   99  the Department of Environmental Protection, or his or her
  100  designee, shall serve as an ex officio member of the board.
  101  Members shall be appointed for 4-year terms.
  102         (2) All provisions of chapter 455 relating to activities of
  103  the board shall apply.
  104         Section 3. Section 492.104, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  105  read:
  106         492.104 Rulemaking authority; fees.—The Board of
  107  Professional Geologists has authority to adopt rules pursuant to
  108  ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to implement this chapter. Every
  109  licensee shall be governed and controlled by this chapter and
  110  the rules adopted by the board. The board is authorized to set,
  111  by rule, fees for application, examination, certificate of
  112  authorization, late renewal, initial licensure, and license
  113  renewal. These fees should cover all board expenses to
  114  administer this section but may not exceed the cost of
  115  implementing the application, examination, initial licensure,
  116  and license renewal or other administrative process. The fees
  117  and shall be established as follows:
  118         (1) The application fee may shall not exceed $150 and is
  119  shall be nonrefundable.
  120         (2) The examination fee shall be paid by the applicant and
  121  may not exceed $250, and the fee may be apportioned to each part
  122  of a multipart examination. The examination fee shall be
  123  refundable in whole or part if the applicant is found to be
  124  ineligible to take any portion of the licensure examination.
  125         (3) The initial license fee may shall not exceed $100.
  126         (4) The biennial renewal fee may shall not exceed $150.
  127         (5) The fee for a certificate of authorization may shall
  128  not exceed $350 and the fee for renewal of the certificate may
  129  shall not exceed $350.
  130         (6) The fee for reactivation of an inactive license may
  131  shall not exceed $50.
  132         (7) The fee for a provisional license may shall not exceed
  133  $400.
  134         (8) The fee for application, examination, and licensure for
  135  a license by endorsement shall be as provided in this section
  136  for licenses in general.
  137         Section 4. Paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of section
  138  492.105, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  139         492.105 Licensure by examination; requirements; fees.—
  140         (1) Any person desiring to be licensed as a professional
  141  geologist shall apply to the department to take the licensure
  142  examination. The written licensure examination shall be designed
  143  to test an applicant’s qualifications to practice professional
  144  geology, and shall include such subjects as will tend to
  145  ascertain the applicant’s knowledge of the fundamentals, theory,
  146  and practice of professional geology and may include such
  147  subjects as are taught in curricula of accredited colleges and
  148  universities. The written licensure examination may be a
  149  multipart examination. The department shall examine each
  150  applicant who the board certifies:
  151         (a) Has completed the application form and remitted a
  152  nonrefundable application fee and an examination fee which is
  153  refundable if the applicant is found to be ineligible to take
  154  the examination.
  155         Section 5. Section 492.1051, Florida Statutes, is amended
  156  to read:
  157         492.1051 Registered geologist-in-training; requirements.—
  158         (1) A person desiring to register as a geologist-in
  159  training shall apply to the department to take the fundamentals
  160  a discrete portion of the examination required for registration
  161  as a geologist-in-training licensure as a professional geologist
  162  in this state. This discrete portion shall cover the
  163  fundamentals of geology. The department shall examine each
  164  applicant who the board certifies:
  165         (a) Has completed the application form and remitted a
  166  nonrefundable application fee and an examination fee that is
  167  refundable if the applicant is found to be ineligible to take
  168  the examination.
  169         (b) Has not committed an act or offense in any jurisdiction
  170  which constitutes grounds for disciplining a professional
  171  geologist licensed under this chapter; and
  172         (c) Has successfully completed at least 30 semester hours
  173  or 45 quarter hours of geological coursework at a college or
  174  university, the geological curricula of which meet the criteria
  175  established by an accrediting agency recognized by the United
  176  States Department of Education and, if still enrolled, has
  177  provided a letter of good academic standing from the college or
  178  university.
  179         (2) The department shall register as a geologist-in
  180  training each applicant who the board certifies has passed the
  181  fundamentals of geology portion of the licensure examination.
  182         (3) A registered geologist-in-training desiring to be
  183  licensed as a professional geologist shall apply to the
  184  department to take the licensure examination as prescribed in s.
  185  492.105(1), but is not required to retake the fundamentals of
  186  geology portion of the licensure examination. A registered
  187  geologist-in-training may only apply after he or she meets the
  188  requirements for work experience under s. 492.105(1)(e).
  189         Section 6. Subsection (1) of section 492.107, Florida
  190  Statutes, is amended, and subsection (3) is added to that
  191  section, to read:
  192         492.107 Seals.—
  193         (1) The board shall prescribe, by rule, a form of seal,
  194  including its electronic form, to be used by persons holding
  195  valid licenses. All final versions of geological papers,
  196  reports, and documents, or geologic portions of a final paper,
  197  report, or document, prepared or issued by the licensee must
  198  shall be signed, dated, and sealed by the licensee who performed
  199  or is responsible for the supervision, direction, or control of
  200  the work contained in the papers, reports, or documents before
  201  such work is released from the control of the licensee.
  202  Specifically, the licensee shall sign, seal, and date the
  203  original title sheet of bound geologic reports, specifications,
  204  details, calculations, estimates, drawings, diagrams, or maps
  205  and each original sheet of plans or drawings regardless of size
  206  or binding if the plans or drawings are intended to be removed
  207  from the report. Such signature, date, and seal are shall be
  208  evidence of the authenticity of that to which they are affixed.
  209  Geological papers, reports, and documents prepared or issued by
  210  the licensee may be transmitted electronically provided they
  211  have been signed by the licensee, dated, and electronically
  212  sealed. It is unlawful for any person to sign or seal any
  213  document as a professional geologist unless such that person
  214  holds a current, active license as a professional geologist
  215  which has not expired or been revoked or suspended, unless
  216  reinstated or reissued.
  217         (3)In lieu of a seal, all preliminary documents that have
  218  been released from the control of the licensee must specify its
  219  purpose, the name of the licensed professional geologist of
  220  record and such geologist’s license number, and the release date
  221  by the professional geologist placing the following text on such
  222  documents:
  224  “This document is released for the purpose of ...(list
  225  purpose)... under the authority of ...(name of licensed
  226  professional geologist)... with license number ...(license
  227  number)... on ...(date).... It shall not be used for any other
  228  purposes.”
  229         Section 7. Paragraph (d) of subsection (1) of section
  230  492.108, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  231         492.108 Licensure by endorsement; requirements; fees.—
  232         (1) The department shall issue a license by endorsement to
  233  any applicant who, upon applying to the department and remitting
  234  an application fee, has been certified by the board that he or
  235  she:
  236         (d)Has taken and successfully passed the laws and rules
  237  portion of the examination required for licensure as a
  238  professional geologist in this state.
  239         Section 8. Section 492.109, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  240  read:
  241         492.109 Renewal of license; fees; continuing education.—
  242         (1) The department shall renew a license upon receipt of
  243  the renewal application and fee.
  244         (2) The department shall adopt rules establishing a
  245  procedure for the biennial renewal of licenses.
  246         (3) The licensee must have on file with the department the
  247  address of her or his primary place of practice within this
  248  state prior to engaging in that practice. Prior to changing the
  249  address of her or his primary place of practice, whether or not
  250  within this state, the licensee must notify the department of
  251  the address of the new primary place of practice.
  252         (4)The board is authorized to adopt a program of
  253  continuing education and must approve all continuing education
  254  requirements and providers before implementation of such
  255  requirements or selection of such providers is effective.
  256         (5)The licensee must provide the department a statement
  257  certifying that the licensee completed the hours of approved
  258  continuing education required during the last biennium.
  259         (6)Continuing education requirements are not applicable to
  260  licensees 65 years or older.
  261         Section 9. Subsection (3) of section 492.111, Florida
  262  Statutes, is amended to read:
  263         492.111 Practice of professional geology by a firm,
  264  corporation, or partnership; certificate of authorization.—The
  265  practice of, or offer to practice, professional geology by
  266  individual professional geologists licensed under the provisions
  267  of this chapter through a firm, corporation, or partnership
  268  offering geological services to the public through individually
  269  licensed professional geologists as agents, employees, officers,
  270  or partners thereof is permitted subject to the provisions of
  271  this chapter, provided that:
  272         (3) All final geological papers or documents involving the
  273  practice of professional the profession of geology which have
  274  been prepared or approved for the use of such firm, corporation,
  275  or partnership, for delivery to any person for public record
  276  with the state, shall be dated and bear the signature and seal
  277  of the professional geologist or professional geologists who
  278  prepared or approved them.
  279         Section 10. Paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of section
  280  492.112, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  281         492.112 Prohibitions; penalties.—
  282         (1) A person may not knowingly:
  283         (a) Practice professional geology unless the person is
  284  licensed under this chapter. Any individual who by sign, card,
  285  letterhead, advertisement, website, verbal claim, or in any
  286  other way holds himself or herself out to be a licensed
  287  professional geologist, or that he or she is registered or
  288  otherwise licensed under this chapter, is construed to be
  289  engaged in the practice of professional geology.
  290         Section 11. Section 492.116, Florida Statutes, is amended
  291  to read:
  292         492.116 Exemptions.—The following persons are specifically
  293  exempted from this chapter, provided, however, that all final
  294  geological papers or documents which have been prepared by a
  295  person exempt under subsection (1), subsection (2), subsection
  296  (3), or subsection (4) for delivery to any person for public
  297  record with the state shall be dated and bear the signature and
  298  seal of the professional geologist or professional geologists
  299  who prepared or approved them:
  300         (1) Persons engaged solely in teaching the science of
  301  geology.
  302         (2) Persons engaged in geological research which does not
  303  affect the health, safety, or well-being of the public and who
  304  do not submit documents for public record.
  305         (3) Officers and employees of the United States Government,
  306  the State of Florida, water management districts, or other local
  307  or regional governmental entities practicing under the
  308  responsible charge of a professional geologist as defined in s.
  309  492.102 solely as such officers or employees.
  310         (4) Regular full-time employees of a corporation not
  311  engaged in the practice of professional geology as such, who are
  312  directly supervised by a person licensed as a professional
  313  geologist under this chapter.
  314         (5) A person employed on a full-time basis as a geologist
  315  by an employer engaged in the business of developing, mining, or
  316  treating ores, other minerals, and petroleum resources if that
  317  person engages in geological practice exclusively for and as an
  318  employee of such employer and does not hold herself or himself
  319  out and is not held out as available to perform any geological
  320  services for persons other than her or his employer and who does
  321  not submit documents for public record.
  322         (6)A person, during the course of providing geologic
  323  guidance or work activities, practicing, offering to practice,
  324  or attempting to practice geology may coordinate and review the
  325  submissions prepared by others, without limitation, provided
  326  that such submissions are within, or are incidental to, the
  327  practice of professional geology and the person is familiar with
  328  the details and progress of these activities.
  329         (7)Notwithstanding the provisions of this chapter or any
  330  other law:
  331         (a)A licensed engineer whose principal practice is
  332  geotechnical or civil engineering, or an employee or subordinate
  333  under the responsible supervision or control of such engineer,
  334  is not precluded from performing geological services which are
  335  purely incidental to his or her engineering practice.
  336         (b)A licensed geologist is not precluded from performing
  337  engineering services which are purely incidental to his or her
  338  practice of geology.
  339         Section 12. This act shall take effect July 1, 2019.