Texas Forensic Science Commission
During the 84th Legislative Session, the Texas Legislature passed SB-1287, which required all forensic analysts to be licensed beginning January 1, 2019. See Tex. S.B. 1287, 84th Leg., R.S. (2015). The term "forensic analyst" means any person who on behalf of a crime laboratory accredited under this article technically reviews or performs a forensic analysis or draws conclusions from or interprets a forensic analysis for a court or crime laboratory. The term does not include medical examiners or other forensic pathologists who are licensed physicians.
Pursuant to its legislative mandate, the Commission established qualifications and adopted administrative rules with regard to forensic analyst licensing that are published in Tex. Admin. Code Chapter 651, Subchapter C. Requirements for forensic analyst and/or technicians to become licensed include:
1) Minimum Education Requirements;
2) Application Fee;
3) Successful completion of a General Forensic Analyst or Technician Licensing Exam;
4) Specific coursework requirements; and
5) Proficiency testing requirements.
Requirements by forensic discipline are listed in § 651.207 of the Texas Administrative Code.
In addition to mandatory licensing for forensic analysts in accredited disciplines, the Commission may also establish voluntary licensing programs for forensic disciplines not currently subject to accreditation under Texas law.
SB-1287 also required the Commission to establish an advisory committee to advise the Commission and make recommendations on matters related to the licensing program. The advisory committee consists of nine members from a diverse group of laboratories, including seven forensic scientists recommended by the Texas Association of Crime Lab Directors (TACLD), as well as one defense attorney recommended by the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association and one prosecutor recommended by the Texas District and County Attorneys Association. The TACLD submitted a list of twenty scientist’s names to the Commission. From that list, Commissioners selected nine scientists to serve on the licensing panel. For more information on the TACLD nomination process, see TACLD’s Nominee Selection Process.