Section 34-41-5

Powers of board.

(a) The board shall elect from its membership a chair, a vice chair, and a secretary-treasurer. The board shall adopt rules to govern its proceedings. A majority of the appointed membership of the board shall constitute a quorum for all meetings.

(b) The board shall, by regulation, adopt an administrative code and a code of professional conduct, which shall be published by the board and distributed to every applicant for licensing and to every licensee under this chapter. The publication shall constitute due notice to all applicants and licensees. The board shall solicit comments from the profession at large concerning these codes and may revise and amend the codes.

(c) The board shall have the authority to prepare, administer, and grade oral or written examinations, or both, as required or permitted by this chapter to test an applicant's academic preparation and ability to apply such training to the public practice of geology. The board may take any actions necessary to prepare, administer, and grade the examinations, to determine whether the qualifications of an applicant for licensing meet the minimum standards set forth in this chapter, and to issue a license to each successful applicant. The board shall have the authority to adopt or recognize, in part or in whole, examinations prepared, administered, or graded by other organizations, on a regional or national basis, which the board determines are appropriate to measure the qualifications of an applicant for licensing as a professional geologist or in any specialty of geology. The examination questions, correct answers, and any individual applicant's completed examination shall be available to the board. The board shall retain the authority to determine a passing grade for purposes of registration as a professional geologist in this state.

(d) The board shall consider all applications for licensing as a professional geologist or certification in any specialty thereof recognized by the board pursuant to this chapter and issue licenses as provided in this chapter. The board shall adopt a seal which shall be affixed to all licenses issued by the board.

(e) The board may authorize necessary expenditures to implement this chapter from the fees which it collects. The expenditures shall not exceed the revenues of the board during any fiscal year.

(f) The board shall meet within 30 days after a quorum of its first members is appointed, and thereafter shall hold at least three regular meetings each year. The board may provide for additional special meetings including hearings, extra working days for applications review, and examination proctoring. Minutes of each meeting of the board, recording the members present and the business taken, shall be signed and kept by the secretary-treasurer or an assistant secretary appointed by the board.

(g) The board shall establish and receive reasonable and necessary fees to be charged the applicants and registrants to support the administration and enforcement of this chapter. The secretary-treasurer shall prepare, certify, and file an annual report of all the receipts, expenditures, and fund balances with the state Comptroller.

(h) The board shall approve licensing through comity for any individual already licensed as a professional geologist or the equivalent in any other state, territory, or possession of the United States, or the District of Columbia, if the license is current and, in the opinion of the board, the license was issued in compliance with licensing requirements that are substantially the same as, or more stringent than, those established pursuant to this chapter. The board may require additional proof of experience, if desired.

(i) The board shall renew and reissue certificates as provided in this chapter. As a condition of reissuance or renewal, the board shall have the authority to require, in general or in individual cases, evidence of continued competence in the practice of geology through means such as, but not limited to, the review of qualifications, experiences, and requirements for continuing professional education.

(j) Each present and former member of the board, its agents, employees, and members of committees appointed by the board to assist the board in carrying out its duties and responsibilities, shall be exempt from civil liability for any act or omission occurring while acting in an official capacity. The Attorney General or his or her appointed designee shall, without assessing charges to the board for legal services, defend the board and each present and former member of the board, its agents, employees, and members of committees appointed by the board in any action arising from any act or omission. The Attorney General or his or her appointed designee shall act as legal advisor to the board.

(k) The board may investigate all reasonably documented complaints of violations of this chapter and of unprofessional conduct by licensed and nonlicensed geologists. The board shall have the authority to refuse issuance or renewal of a license or to suspend or revoke a license. The board may impose sanctions including restrictions on the practice of any registrant or of a person, firm, or corporation practicing under the limitations of this chapter, for violations of this chapter or the rules and regulations promulgated hereunder.

(l) The board shall have the power to administer oaths and affirmations and to issue subpoenas to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of evidence, and shall have the authority to issue cease and desist orders and to seek injunctions against violations of this chapter or the rules and regulations promulgated hereunder, as provided herein.

(m) The board shall, within one year of its appointment, establish between it and the Alabama State Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors, a memorandum of understanding, containing guidelines for resolving jurisdictional concerns that may arise between registered engineers and registered geologists.

(n) The board shall have all other powers and authority consistent with this section, not enumerated herein, as are necessary for the administration and enforcement of this chapter.

(Acts 1995, No. 95-399, p. 820, §5.)