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Commission Agenda Item No. 7
Presenter: Jonathan Warner

Action
Alligator Rules
Proposed Amendments to the Alligator Proclamation and the Statewide Hunting Proclamation
Recommended Adoption of Proposed Changes
May 21, 2020

I.      Executive Summary: With this itemthe staff seeks the adoption of amendments to regulations governing the hunting, farming, sale, import, and export of alligators. The proposed changes would:

II.     Discussion: Under Texas Parks and Wildlife Code chapter 65, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (Commission) may regulate the taking, possession, propagation, transportation, exportation, importation, sale, and offering for sale of alligators, alligator eggs, or any part of an alligator the Commission considers necessary to manage the species, including appropriate management for public safety. In reviewing existing alligator regulations for the purposes of modernizing certain notification requirements and other matters, the staff assessed that current regulations were generally in need of reorganization and clarification. The proposed amendments to the Alligator Proclamation effect those changes.

The proposed rules appeared in the April 17, 2020, issue of the Texas Register (45 TexReg 2498, 2511). A summary of public comment on the proposed rules will be presented at the time of the hearing.

III.   Recommendation:  The staff recommends that the Commission adopt the proposed motion:

“The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts amendments to §65.49, concerning the Statewide Hunting Proclamation, and amendments to §§65.352, 65.353, 65.357-65.362, and 65.365, concerning the Alligator Proclamation, with changes as necessary to the proposed text as published in the April 17, 2020 issue of the Texas Register (45 TexReg 2498, 2511.”

Attachments – 2

  1. Exhibit A – Proposed Alligator Proclamation
  2. Exhibit B – Proposed Alligator Hunting Rules

Commission Agenda Item No. 7
Exhibit A

ALLIGATOR PROCLAMATION

PROPOSAL PREAMBLE

1.      Introduction

        The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proposes amendments to §§65.352, 65.353, 65.357-65.362, and 65.365, concerning the Alligator Proclamation.

        The proposed amendments make generally applicable changes to language governing references to reports and notifications required by rule. In such cases, the proposed amendment would stipulate that the report be made on a form supplied or approved by the department.

        The proposed amendment to §57.352, concerning, Definitions, would add definitions for “clutch,” “egg,” “export,” “import,” “nest disturbance,” “incubation-only facility,” and “partially processed alligator,” alter the definitions of “egg collection,” “farmer,”  “processed product,” “retail dealer,” and “wholesale dealer,” and eliminate definitions for “gig,” “propagation,” and “subpermittee.”

        The current rules governing the collection and incubation of alligator eggs employ the term “clutch” when referring to groups of eggs; however, the rules do not define that term. The proposed amendment would define “clutch” as “the number of alligator eggs, both fertile and infertile, in a single alligator nest.”  The definition is necessary not only to provide an unambiguous meaning of the term for purposes of compliance and enforcement, but to make clear that all alligator eggs, including infertile eggs, are considered by the department to be part of a wild nest.

        The proposed amendment would define “egg” as “an alligator egg” to clarify that when the term “egg” is used in any context in the rules, it means alligator eggs.

        The proposed amendment would provide definitions for “export” and “import.” Although the current rules govern export and import of alligators (which by statute include alligator eggs, parts and products), the department believes it is prudent to provide unmistakable meanings for those terms. Therefore, the proposed definition for “export” would be “the physical transportation of an alligator to any point outside the state of Texas.” Similarly, the proposed definition for “import” would be “the physical transportation of an alligator from outside of Texas across the state line into Texas.”

        The proposed amendment would define “nest disturbance” as “the act of physically manipulating, handling, or tampering with an alligator nest in any way.” The definition is necessary because the department has identified a deficiency in the current rules governing egg collection. Current rules unintentionally apply only to the removal of eggs and not to associated activities prior to or during removal. Alligator nests and eggs are extremely sensitive to disturbance. Because the department, based on a biological assessment, issues a specific number of nest authorizations for any given property, it is theoretically possible under current rule to disturb a nest without removing eggs, which results in unnecessary mortalities if the eggs succumb to environmental exposure or the mother abandons the nest. The proposed amendment would clarify that egg collection includes the intrusion that must occur in order to physically remove eggs.

        The proposed amendment would add a definition for “incubation-only facility.” Under current rule, an alligator farmer may operate a facility solely for the purpose of incubating and hatching alligator eggs for purposes of sale to another farmer. In the proposed amendment to §65.360, concerning Reporting Requirements, the department would eliminate the quarterly alligator farm report requirement for farmers operating incubation-only facilities and replace it with a single report. There is no reason to require quarterly reports for incubation-only facilities, because incubation activities occur seasonally, based on the life history of the resource. Therefore, a definition for incubation-only facility is necessary to distinguish such operations from other alligator farming operations.

        The proposed amendment would define “partially processed alligator” as “a whole alligator that has been skinned except for the head, or a whole alligator that has been skinned except for the head and feet.” Current rules address “processed” and “unprocessed” alligators. The department has become aware of an emerging market for whole alligators that have been prepared for culinary use by consumers, such as tailgate activities at sporting events. Such products are in a regulatory nether region under current rule. In order to eliminate misunderstandings, the proposed amendment, in conjunction with the proposed amendment to §65.357, concerning Purchase and Sale of Alligators, would define such products as “partially processed alligators,” which would allow wholesale dealers to sell directly to consumers and eliminate any reporting and recordkeeping requirements for the consumer.

        The proposed amendment would alter the term "egg collection" to "egg collection activities" and alter the definition to include nest disturbance in addition to removal of eggs, or possession of eggs removed from wild nests.  The amendment is necessary clarify that "nest disturbance" is an egg collection activity.

        The proposed amendment would alter the current definition of “farmer” to clarify that the term applies only to a person possessing a valid permit issued for that purpose by the department.

        The proposed amendment would alter the current definition of “processed product” to stipulate that alligator meat that has been removed from the skeleton is a processed product, which is necessary to clarify, in conjunction with the proposed amendment to §65.357, that only wholesale dealers and farmers are permitted to sell alligator meat, except as otherwise provided.

        The proposed amendment would alter the definitions of “retail dealer” and “wholesale dealer” to simplify the definitions and relocate regulatory provisions to the rules where they more properly belong.  A retail dealer would be defined as “a person possessing a valid retail dealer permit issued under this subchapter” and a whole dealer would be defined as “a person possessing a valid wholesale dealer permit issued under this subchapter.”

         The proposed amendment would eliminate the definitions for “gig,” “propagation,” and “subpermittee.” The definition for gig is an artifact from a time when recreational alligator hunting was regulated under the subchapter and is thus unnecessary. The definition of “propagation” is superfluous, since the alligator farmer permit by rule authorizes permit holders to engage in the practice. The definition of “subpermittee” is unnecessary because it is unique to and defined within another rule regulating nuisance alligator control.

        The proposed amendment to §57.353, concerning General Provisions, would alter subsection (b) to eliminate confusion by removing verbiage related to common carriers that is addressed by another provision of the rules. The proposed amendment would also clarify that no person other than a wholesale dealer or farmer may process alligator meat for sale. Although alligator meat may be possessed for resale by retail dealers and re-sold to consumers (grocery stores, restaurants, etc.), only wholesale dealers and farmers are allowed to process alligators for purposes of meat production. The proposed amendment also would incorporate an existing provision prohibiting alligator eggs collected under the subchapter from being exported. The provision is currently located in §65.358 and is being relocated for reasons of topical suitability. The proposed amendment also includes a provision to make clear the rules do not relieve any person of an obligation imposed by another legal authority regarding food safety. The department wishes to make clear that rules or statutes governing food preparation, handling, distribution, and so forth are in addition to any requirements of the subchapter.

        The proposed amendment to §57.357, concerning Purchase and Sale of Alligators, consists of several changes. The proposed amendment would clarify that a retail dealer permit is not required for the purchase of packaged alligator meat for re-sale to consumers, which is necessary to definitively address the circumstances under which chain of custody and permit requirements do not apply. The proposed amendment would remove language regarding the applicability of food safety regulations, which is being relocated to another part of the rules and has been addressed earlier in this preamble. The proposed amendment would allow wholesale dealers to sell partially processed alligators, for reasons discussed in the proposed amendment to §65.352, concerning Definitions. The proposed amendment would make changes to subsection (d) to clarify the classes of persons from whom a farmer may purchase live or dead alligators. The current rules are confusing because they are predicated on the term “live or dead,” which seems to imply that wholesale dealers and recreational hunters are able to sell live or dead alligators to farmers, which isn’t the case. Farmers are allowed to purchase live alligators only from another farmer or a control hunter. Farmers are allowed to purchase dead alligators from another farmer, a wholesale dealer, a recreational hunter, or a control hunter. The proposed amendment would clearly delineate these distinctions and provide the additional clarification that alligator eggs may be purchased by a farmer only from a person legally authorized to sell eggs. Additionally, the proposed amendment would replace the current provision regarding department notification of impending transport or receipt of live alligators with a provision requiring notification to be effected via fax or email to the department’s Law Enforcement Communications Center not less than 24 hours nor more than 48 hours in advance of transport or receipt. The department has determined that the current notification requirements, which require a game warden at the point of origin and at the destination to be notified “at least 24 hours prior to transport,” are problematic because they create an open-ended situation in which transportation could occur at any time following notification, indefinitely. The department believes it is prudent to establish a specific timeframe or window within which transport must occur or be cancelled, in order to prevent situations in which department personnel do not know with reasonable certainty when a regulated activity will occur, which interferes with efficiency and the performance of other duties which could be performed. Additionally, the department believes it is more efficacious to require the notifications to be made to a central location, which allows the department greater flexibility in personnel allocation as well as providing the benefit of creating a single recordkeeping function.  Therefore, the proposed would require alligator farmer to complete and submit to the department’s Law Enforcement Communication Center by FAX or email a transfer notification on a form supplied or approved by the department, require the notification to be submitted not less than 24 hours nor more than 48 hours prior to the transport or receipt, and require cancellation via notification of the Law Enforcement Communications Center by FAX or email prior to the transport in the event that the transport cannot take place. Finally, the proposed amendment would alter subsection (e)(2) to replace the current reference to alligators taken on “wildlife management areas” with a reference to alligators taken under “annual public hunting permit,” which is more accurate.

        The proposed amendment to §57.358, concerning Alligator Egg Collectors, consists of several actions. In addition to the references to department forms addressed earlier in this preamble, the proposed amendment would require applicants for nest stamp issuance to supply GPS coordinates indicating the locations of alligator nests on a specific tract of land and would restate the department’s authority to verify the accuracy of application materials. The department authorizes the collection of eggs from nests on the basis of a biological and ecological determination of the portion of reproductive potential can be removed from the ecosystem as harvestable surplus. The department believes that utilization of widely available and extremely accurate GPS technologies to identify exact nest locations will reduce confusion and misunderstandings caused by more rudimentary methods, as well as provide the department with accurate datasets that provide greater resolution for purposes of better resource management. Under Parks and Wildlife Code, §12.103, an authorized employee of the department may, for purposes of enforcing game and fish laws of the state, enter on any land or water where wild game or fish are known to range or stray. Therefore, the proposed amendment would restate that authority in terms of nest location verification. The proposed amendment also would replace references to egg collection and collecting with references to egg collection activities, for the reasons explained in the discussion of the amendments to §65.352 earlier in this preamble, concerning Definitions. The proposed amendment would also clarify that egg collection activities shall only be conducted on designated tracts of water in addition to designated tracts of land which is more accurate as alligator nests are often located in wetland environments. The proposed amendment also would establish lawful hours for the collection of alligator eggs. For purposes of enhancing the department’s ability to monitor egg collection activities, if necessary, and to promote the safety of persons engaged in egg collection activities, the department believes it is prudent to restrict egg collection activities to daylight hours. Therefore, the proposed amendment would prohibit egg collection between sunset and one half-hour before sunrise. Finally, similar to the proposed amendment to §65.357 regarding notification requirements for farmers, and for the same reason addressed in the discussion of that proposed amendment previously in this preamble, the proposed amendment would replace existing notification requirements for egg collection activities with the requirement  that egg collectors to complete and submit to the department’s Law Enforcement Communication Center by FAX or email an egg collection activity notification on a form supplied or approved by the department, require the notification to be submitted not less than 24 hours nor more than 48 hours prior to the transport or receipt, and require cancellation via notification of the Law Enforcement Communications Center by FAX or email prior to the transport in the event that the activity cannot take place.

        The proposed amendment to §57.359, concerning Possession, would stipulate that eggs possessed under a farmer’s permit must be kept at the permitted farm facility. A farming permit allows the possession, incubation, hatching, and growing of alligators, but it does not authorize egg collection (although farmers may obtain nest authorizations and nest stamps and engage in collection activities); therefore, the proposed amendment makes clear that once an alligator egg is possessed under a farmer’s permit, it must remain in the farming facility of the permittee, which is necessary to monitor the movement of alligator eggs from the wild into commercial activities. The proposed amendment would also provide that all meat products processed and packaged, rather that meat products finally processed and packaged, by a farmer or wholesale dealer must be accompanied by an invoice which is necessary because the amendments to §57.357, concerning Purchase and Sale of Alligators, would allow wholesale dealers to sell partially processed alligators, for reasons discussed in the proposed amendment to §65.352, concerning Definitions.Finally, the proposed amendment would alter the citation to the definition of skull length which in necessary because the citation has changed as the result of the proposed amendments to §65.352, concerning Definitions.

        The proposed amendment to §57.360, concerning Report Requirements, would retitle the section Reporting and Recordkeeping, implement the standardized language regarding department forms (discussed previously in this preamble), and replace the quarterly reporting requirement of farmers operating incubation-only facilities with a one-time reporting requirement (also discussed earlier in this preamble). Finally, the proposed amendment would clarify that a wholesale dealer is required to produce a copy of an Alligator Transaction Report only to a department employee acting in the discharge of official duties.

        The proposed amendment to §57.361, concerning Alligator Farm Facility Requirements, would implement the standardized language regarding department forms (discussed previously in this preamble), require applications to be accompanies by the GPS coordinates and a map of the prospective facility, require alligators in a farm to be kept within the facility, require set minimum criteria for egg incubators, require hatchlings to be transferred to a farming facility from an incubator-only facility by October 1 of each year, clarify that a hide tag issued to a farming facility may not be used on an alligator killed under and hunting license, and clarify that alligators within an alligator farm may not be hunted for sport. The department believes that utilization of widely available and extremely accurate GPS technologies to identify exact boundaries of alligator farm facilities will reduce confusion and misunderstandings as to the exact geographical area under regulation as an alligator farm; therefore, the amendment would require applicants for an alligator farming permit to supply a map and the GPS coordinates of the facility area. The proposed amendment also would require alligators kept under a farming permit to be retained in the facility. Although it is intuitively obvious that alligator stock should be kept within a facility, it is necessary to stipulate that requirement by rule in order to establish a regulatory duty on the part of permittees to prevent escape. The proposed amendment also would establish environmental control standards for egg incubation facilities. Alligator eggs are a public resource and their collection for commercial purposes is a permit privilege. The department believes that basic environmental control standards should exist in order to prevent possible waste of a public resource; therefore, the proposed amendment would require incubators to be capable of maintaining water and air temperatures of 85 to 91 degrees Fahrenheit on a continuous basis when eggs and hatchlings are present. The proposed amendment also would establish that incubator-only facilities are farming facilities for which a farming permit is required and require hatchlings at such facilities to be transferred to a grow-out farm by October 1 of each year. Although most incubation facilities are located within a grow-out facility, there are incubator-only facilities. The proposed amendment clarifies that such facilities are alligator farms for which a farming permit is necessary. Because such facilities do not meet the facility requirements established by the subchapter for growing alligators to adult size, the proposed amendment would stipulate that all hatchlings be moved once they have achieved hatchling status and are capable of surviving in a grow-out facility. The proposed amendment also would prohibit recreational hunting within alligator farms. The department believes that alligator farms, as commercial entities, should not be engaged in the offering of recreational hunting opportunity, since the alligators in farms are confined and their hunting within a farm would therefore not be fair chase. There are abundant opportunities in Texas for alligator hunting in the wild. Therefore, the proposed amendment would prohibit the use of a hide tag issued to a farming facility to be used on an alligator killed under a recreational hunting license and create an offense for allowing the sale, offering for sale, or the acceptance of such an offer for the killing of alligator within a farming facility. Finally, the proposed amendment also makes various nonsubstantive grammatical and organizational changes.

        The proposed amendment to §57.362, concerning Importation and Exportation, would: implement the language regarding department forms (discussed earlier in this preamble); clarify that an alligator import permit is not required for activities authorized under a permit issued under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 43, Subchapter C; restrict import tag eligibility to wholesale dealers, retail dealers, and farmers;  establish a period of validity for an import permit; establish a notification requirement similar to those proposed for live alligator transport and egg collection activities, for the same reasons addressed in those discussions earlier in this preamble; update a reference to a fee amount; and reiterate the prohibition on the export of alligator eggs. Current rules do not specifically identify the classes of permittees authorized to obtain import tags from the department, although for all practical purposes the rules governing possession of alligators restricts such activities to persons holding wholesale, retail, or farming permits. Similarly, current rules do not state the period of validity for an import permit, although again, for all practical purposes it is connected to the period of validity of the permits that must be possessed in order to engage in the activity, all of which are one year. Therefore, for purposes of clarity, the proposed amendment would restrict the issuance of import permits to persons holding a wholesale, retail, or farming permit and establish a period of validity from the date of purchase until the immediately following August 31. The proposed amendment would also clarify provisions governing possession of alligators taken by sport or recreational license in another state. The intent of the current provision is to exempt recreational hunters from provisions that apply to commercial activity; however, the department has encountered situations in which alligators lawfully taken in another state have been sold to a third party and then introduced to Texas for commercial purposes. The proposed amendment would clarify that an alligator lawfully taken in another state may be brought into Texas without an import permit, but it must be accompanied by evidence of lawful possession or take and cannot have been sold or exchanged for anything of value in return, including for transport or delivery of the alligator.

        The proposed amendment to §57.365, concerning Management Tag, would quantify the size of alligators for which a management tag could be used to harvest and update a reference to fee amounts.

2.      Fiscal Note.

        Robert Macdonald, Regulations Coordinator, has determined that for each of the first five years that the rules as proposed are in effect, there will be no fiscal implications to state and local governments as a result of enforcing or administering the rules as proposed, as department personnel currently allocated to the administration and enforcement of alligator management rules will administer and enforce the rules as part of their current job duties and resources.

3. Public Benefit/Cost Note.

        Mr. Macdonald also has determined that for each of the first five years that the rules as proposed are in effect:

        (A) The public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing or administering the rules as proposed will be the protection and efficient management of alligator resources in Texas.

        There will be minimal, if any, adverse economic effect on persons required to comply with the rules as proposed.

        (B) Under the provisions of Government Code, Chapter 2006, a state agency must prepare an economic impact statement and a regulatory flexibility analysis for a rule that may have an adverse economic effect on small businesses, micro-businesses, or rural communities. As required by Government Code, §2006.002(g), the Office of the Attorney General has prepared guidelines to assist state agencies in determining a proposed rule’s potential adverse economic impact on small and microbusinesses and rural communities. Those guidelines state that an agency need only consider a proposed rule’s direct adverse economic impacts” to determine if any further analysis is required. The department considers “direct economic impact “to mean a requirement that would directly impose recordkeeping or reporting requirements; impose taxes or fees; result in lost sales or profits; adversely affect market competition; or require the purchase or modification of equipment or services.

        For purposes of ensuring that this analysis captures the totality of possible affected parties, the department assumes that most, if not all, holders of alligator farming and dealer permits meet the statutory definition of a small or microbusiness (Government Code, Chapter 2006). Based on license sales data for the last three years, the proposed rules would affect an annual average of 13 persons holding an alligator farming permit, 15 persons holding a retail alligator dealer permit, and three persons holding a wholesale alligator dealer permit. The rules as proposed alter methods for reporting and notifications by persons transporting alligators and collecting alligator eggs, stipulates temperature requirements for alligator egg incubators, and requires certain permit applicants to furnish GPS and map data as part of the application process, but otherwise imposes no direct costs on any class of permittee. The department has determined that the changes to notification procedures (email or fax notification to the department’s Law Enforcement Communications Center, rather than phone notification of individual game wardens) will not result in a net increase in cost of compliance. Similarly, the requirement that incubators be capable of maintaining specific temperatures will not result in additional costs, as farm permit holders who incubate eggs already have incubators. With respect to requirements for GPS and map data to be included with applications for alligator farm permits and nest authorizations, the department believes that the wide availability and low cost of GPS technology (which is now available on most cell phones) will impose minimal, if any, costs to permittees. There will be no direct adverse economic impacts on rural communities as a result of the proposed rules.

        Therefore, the department has determined that neither the economic impact statement nor the regulatory flexibility analysis described in Government Code, Chapter 2006, is required.

        (C) The department has not drafted a local employment impact statement under the Administrative Procedures Act, §2001.022, as the agency has determined that the rules as proposed will not impact local economies.

        (D) The department has determined that Government Code, §2001.0225 (Regulatory Analysis of Major Environmental Rules), does not apply to the proposed rules.

        (E) The department has determined that there will not be a taking of private real property, as defined by Government Code, Chapter 2007, as a result of the proposed rules.

        (F) In compliance with the requirements of Government Code, §2001.0221, the department has prepared the following Government Growth Impact Statement (GGIS).  The rule as proposed, if adopted, will:

                 (1) neither create nor eliminate a government program;

                 (2) not result in an increase or decrease in the number of full-time equivalent employee needs;

                 (3) not result in a need for additional General Revenue funding;

                 (4) not affect the amount of any fee;

                 (5) create a new regulation (notification requirements for alligator egg collectors and persons transporting live alligators; application requirement for alligator farm permittees and egg collectors; restriction of alligator egg collection to daylight hours; temperature requirements for alligator egg incubators; prohibition of recreational alligator hunting in alligator farm facilities);

                 (6) not expand or repeal an existing regulation;

                 (7) limit an existing regulation (reducing reporting requirements for incubator-only farm facilities);

                 (8) increase the number of individuals subject to regulation (by imposing mandatory check station and carcass movement restrictions in an area where such restrictions are not currently effect, thereby affecting hunters); and

                 (8) not positively or adversely affect the state’s economy.

Reduce the reporting requirements for farmers operating incubator-only facilities;

4. Request for Public Comment.

        Comments on the proposed rules may be submitted to Mitch Lockwood, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas 78744; 512-389-; email: mitch.lockwood@tpwd.texas.gov, or via the department web site at www.tpwd.texas.gov.

5. Statutory Authority.

        The amendments are proposed under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, §65.003,  which authorizes the commission to regulate taking, possession, propagation, transportation, exportation, importation, sale, and offering for sale of alligators, alligator eggs, or any part of an alligator that the commission considers necessary to manage this species, including regulations to provide for the periods of time when it is lawful to take, possess, sell, or purchase alligators, alligator hides, alligator eggs, or any part of an alligator; and limits, size, means, methods, and places in which it is lawful to take or possess alligators, alligator hides, alligator eggs, or any part of an alligator; and control of nuisance alligators.

        The proposed amendments affect Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 65.

6. Rule Text.

        §65.352. Definitions. The following words and terms, when used in this subchapter, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise. All other words and terms shall have the meanings assigned in Subchapter A of this chapter (relating to the Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation) and in the Parks and Wildlife Code.

                 (1) Alligator — For the purposes of this subchapter, alligator means any American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis), living or dead, or any part of an alligator, including eggs.

                 (2) Clutch—The number of alligator eggs, both fertile and infertile, in a single alligator nest.

                 (3)[(2)] Control hunter — A person authorized by the department to take nuisance alligators.

                 (4)[(3)] Consumer — A person who purchases alligators, alligator parts, or products made from alligators for personal use or consumption and who does not sell, resell, trade, or barter the alligators, alligator parts, or products made from alligators in exchange for anything of value.

                 (5) Egg—An alligator egg.

                 (6)[(4)] Egg collection activitiesNest disturbance, removal of eggs, or possession of eggs removed[To remove, or possess alligator eggs] from wild nests.

                 (7)[(5)] Egg collector — A person authorized by the department to collect, possess, or transport alligator eggs.

                 (8) Export—The physical transportation of an alligator to any point outside the state of Texas.

                 (9)[(6)] Farm — A premises where alligators are bred or raised under department-sanctioned conditions.

                 (10)[(7)] Farmer — A person who possesses a valid [holding an] alligator farming permit issued under this subchapter.

                 [(8) Gig — A pole or staff equipped with at least one of the following:]

                         [(A) immovable prongs;]

                         [(B) two or more spring-loaded grasping arms; or]

                         [(C) a detachable head.]

                 (11)[(9)] Hatchling alligator — Any alligator less than 12 inches in length.

                 (12) Import—The physical transportation of an alligator from outside of Texas across the state line into Texas. 

                 (13) Nest disturbance—The act of physically manipulating, handling, or tampering with an alligator nest in any way.

                 (14) Incubation-only facility—An alligator farm where operations are restricted to the incubation and hatching of alligators 

                 (15)[(10)] Nuisance alligator — An alligator that is depredating or a threat to human health or safety.

                 (16) Partially processed alligator—A whole alligator that has been skinned except for the head, or a whole alligator that has been skinned except for the head and feet.

                 (17)[(11)] Processed product — Any alligator part (and its resulting products, including meat that has been removed from the skeleton) that has been treated to prevent decomposition and/or packaged for sale. [Alligator meat is a processed product only if it has been processed and packaged in compliance with all applicable local, state, and federal rules regarding food processing.]

                 [(12) Propagation — The holding of live alligators for production of offspring.]

                  (18) [(13)] Retail dealer — A person possessing a valid retail dealer permit issued under this subchapter [who operates a place of business (mobile or permanent) for resale of alligators to the consumer only, except as provided in §65.357 of this title (relating to Purchase and Sale of Alligators)].

                 [(14) Subpermittee — A person who is registered with the department to assist a permittee in performing nuisance alligator control activities.]

                 (19)[(15)] Wholesale dealer — A person possessing a valid wholesale dealer permit issued under this subchapter[who operates a place of business (mobile or permanent) for the purpose of buying nonliving alligators for resale, canning, preserving, processing, or handling for shipment or sale].

                 (20)[(16)] Skull length — the distance from the anterior edge of the premaxilla to the posterior edge of the parietal, measured along the mid-line of the skull.

        §65.353. General Provisions.

                 (a) Except as provided in this subchapter or Subchapter A of this chapter, no person may possess an untagged alligator hide or undocumented alligator part.

                 (b) Except as provided in this subchapter or Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 43, Subchapter C, no[No] person may possess a live alligator [without possessing a valid alligator farming permit, except:]

                         [(1) as provided in this subchapter or by the Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 43, Subchapter C; or]

                         [(2) a common carrier or person transporting legally documented live alligators for purposes of shipping the alligators to a final destination that is outside this state].

                 (c) Any person transporting live alligators shall take reasonable precautions to maximize the humane treatment of and minimize stress to the alligators being transported.

                 (d) No person other than a wholesale dealer or farmer may process alligator meat for purpose of sale.

                 (e) No alligator egg collected or obtained under authority of this subchapter may be shipped out of state.

                 (f) Nothing in this subchapter shall be construed to relieve any person from the applicability of any local, state, or federal requirement regarding food safety.

        §65.357. Purchase and Sale of Alligators.

                 (a) Sale by control hunter.

                         (1) A control hunter may possess a dead alligator indefinitely, but may sell the alligator only to a farmer or wholesale dealer. While in possession of a dead alligator taken under a control contract, a control hunter shall maintain possession of the contract under which the alligator was taken and a copy of the Nuisance Alligator Hide Tag Report on a form supplied or approved by the department [(PWD 305)]. The control hunter shall present the contract upon request of a department employee acting within the scope of official duties.

                         (2) A control hunter may temporarily possess a live nuisance alligator, but must sell the alligator to a licensed alligator farmer within 14 days from the time the alligator is first captured.

                 (b) Purchase and sale by retail dealer.

                         (1) A retail dealer may purchase an alligator only from a valid wholesale dealer or lawful out-of-state source.

                         (2) Except as provided in this subchapter, no person may purchase an alligator from a wholesale dealer for the purpose of resale without possessing either a valid retail dealer’s permit or a valid wholesale dealer’s permit.

                         (3) Except as provided in this subchapter, no person may sell processed alligator parts such as skulls, feet, or teeth unless that person possesses a valid retail dealer permit.

                         (4) A person possessing a valid retail dealer permit may sell legally obtained and documented processed alligators only to consumers.

                         (5) A retail dealer permit is not required of a:

                                  (A) person selling processed products so long as alligator hide is the only alligator part used (e.g., footwear, belts, wallets, luggage, etc.); [or]

                                  (B) person that sells alligator ready for immediate consumption in individual portion servings; or

                                  (C) person who purchases packaged [selling] alligator meat from a wholesale dealer, retail dealer, or farmer for re-sale to consumers[processed and packaged in accordance with applicable local, state and federal laws governing the processing of food for sale to the public].

                         (6) A retail dealer permit is required for each place of business, mobile or permanent, where activities that require a retail dealer permit are conducted.

                 (c) Purchase and sale by wholesale dealer.

                         (1) A person possessing a wholesale dealer permit may sell[:]

                                  (A) legally obtained and documented processed and partially processed alligators to anyone[; and]

                                  (B) legally obtained and documented unprocessed alligators only to another wholesale dealer or to an alligator farmer.

                         (2) A wholesale dealer may purchase legally taken alligators from any hunter, dealer, farmer, import permit holder, or control hunter.

                 (d) Purchase and sale by farmer.

                         (1) A farmer may purchase:

                                  (A) live [or dead] alligators from a farmer[, wholesale dealer, hunter,] or control hunter; and;

                                  (B) dead alligators from a farmer, wholesale dealer, recreational hunter, or control hunter; and

                                  (C)[(B)] alligator eggs only from a person authorized under this subchapter to sell alligator eggs[an egg collector].

                         (2) A farmer may sell:

                                  (A) live alligators to another farmer or to the holder of a permit issued under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 43, Subchapter C; and

                                  (B) lawfully documented, unprocessed, dead alligators only to a wholesale dealer or another farmer.

                         (3) It is an offense for any alligator farmer to:

                                  (A) transport or receive a live alligator unless the alligator farmer has completed and submitted to the department’s Law Enforcement Communication Center by FAX or email a transfer notification on a form supplied or approved by the department. 

                                          (i) The notification required by this subparagraph shall be submitted not less than 24 hours nor more than 48 hours prior to the transport or receipt.  

                                          (ii) If for any reason the transport or receipt cannot take place after the department has been notified under clause (i) of this subparagraph, the alligator farmer shall contact the department’s Law Enforcement Communications Center by FAX or email to cancel the notification. The cancellation notice must be received by the department prior to the initiation time indicated on the transport notification under clause (i) of this subparagraph[a game warden at the point of origin (if in Texas) and the destination (if in Texas) are notified at least 24 hours prior to transport]; or

                                  (B) transport live alligators for exhibition purposes unless authorized by a permit issued under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 43, Subchapter C.

                 (e) Sale by recreational hunter.

                          (1) A person who lawfully kills an alligator under a hunting license may sell only to a farmer or wholesale dealer or lawful out-of-state purchaser.

                         (2) An alligator taken by annual public hunting permit[on a wildlife management area] may not be sold or bartered for anything of value at any time unless a commercial alligator hide tag has been purchased from the department and attached to the alligator.

        §65.358. Alligator Egg Collectors.

                 (a) Landowners may apply for alligator nest stamps by submitting a completed application for nest stamp issuance[Nest Stamp Application (PWD-459)] to the department on a form supplied or approved by the departmentThe application must contain the GPS coordinates of each known alligator nest and a map showing the location and dimensions of the property where the nests are located.

                 (b) The department may, at its discretion, verify reported nest locations to confirm the accuracy of application materials.

                 (c)[(b)] It is unlawful for a landowner to utilize a nest stamp for a tract of land or water other than the tract for which the stamp was originally issued.

                 (d)[(c)] An alligator egg collector shall conduct egg collection activities[collect] only on the tracts of land or waterdesignated for the stamps in their possession.

                 (e)[(d)] (d) Alligator eggs shall be collected from the wild only by hand.

                 (f)[(e)] No person may possess alligator eggs without possessing an egg collection permit or a valid alligator farmer permit. 

                 (g) No person may engage in egg collection activities between sunset and one half-hour before sunrise.

                 (h)[(f)] When engaged in egg collection activities[collecting], an alligator egg collector must possess on his or her person one or more current nest stamps and an Alligator Nest Stamp Authorization on a form supplied or approved by the department [(PWD-453)].

                 (i)[(g)] No person may collect alligator eggs without possessing a valid hunting license.

                 (j)[(h)] Immediately upon collection and throughout transportation and incubation each clutch of eggs must be accompanied by a completed nest stamp.

                 (k)[(i)No person may engage in egg collection without having completed and submitted to the department’s Law Enforcement Communication Center by FAX or email an egg collection activity notification on a form supplied or approved by the department. The notification required by this subsection shall be submitted not less than 24 hours nor more than 48 hours prior to beginning egg collection activities. If for any reason egg collection activities cannot take place after the department has been notified under this subsection, the department’s Law Enforcement Communications Center shall be contacted by FAX or email to cancel the notification. The cancellation notice must be received by the department prior to the initiation time indicated on the egg collection activity notification. [No less than 24 hours prior to each collection trip, an egg collector shall notify a game warden in the collection area of the date, time, and location of the collection].

                 (l)[(j)] An alligator egg collector may sell alligator eggs only to a farmer(s) designated by permit.

                 [(k) No alligator eggs collected or obtained under authority of this subchapter may be shipped out of state.]

        §65.359. Possession.

                 (a) A consumer may possess processed alligators and processed alligator meat products without permit or documentation requirements.

                 (b) Alligator eggs possessed under a farming permit must be at a farm facility.

                 (c)[(b)] Except as provided in subsection (a) of this section, all alligators or alligator parts possessed, sold, purchased, exported, or imported shall be accompanied by evidence of lawful take and/or possession. Depending on the applicability of paragraphs (1)-(3) of this subsection, evidence of lawful take shall consist of:

                         (1) an applicable license or permit number and hide tag issued by the state or country of origin, which shall be firmly attached to an alligator hide. If the alligator hide is boxed or otherwise packaged for transport, the hide must be tagged, but the license or permit may be retained by the person in possession of the alligator, provided it is kept available for inspection by an authorized employee of the department;

                         (2) a document, tag, or label for each alligator part, except for the hide, that specifies the:

                                  (A) place of origin;

                                  (B) name and address of the seller;

                                  (C) applicable license or permit number that is required by the state or country of origin;

                                  (D) hide tag number of the alligator from which the part originated;

                                  (E) Import Permit number, if imported into Texas; and

                                  (F) date of shipment, if imported into Texas; or

                         (3) a document, tag, or label affixed to the outside of any package or container of alligators. The label must specify the:

                                  (A) contents;

                                  (B) hide tag number of the alligator from which the parts originated; and

                                  (C) any applicable license or permit numbers.

                 (d)[(c)] Meat products [finally] processed and packaged by a farmer or wholesale dealer must be accompanied by an invoice or bill of sale that:

                         (1) specifies the amount of packaged alligator meat by weight; and

                         (2) identifies the farmer or wholesale dealer from which the packaged meat originated.

                 (e)[(d)] The documents required in this subsection must accompany individual alligator parts after sale.

                 (f)[(e)] An individual skull not accompanied by the hide and/or parts of the alligator from which it originated shall be legibly marked with the hide tag number of the alligator from which it originated. The marking shall be in indelible ink on the lower jaw. The provisions of this subsection apply only to skulls of nine inches or greater in length when measured as described in §65.352(20)[§65.352(16)] of this title (relating to Definitions). This subsection does not apply to skulls possessed before the effective date of the subsection.

        §65.360. Reporting and Recordkeeping[Report] Requirements.

                 (a) A Nuisance Alligator Hide Tag Report [(PWD-305)] shall be completed by a control hunter on a form supplied or approved by the department immediately upon take and shall be submitted to the department within seven days. A dealer or person possessing the alligator hide shall retain a copy of the report[PWD-305] until the hide is shipped or sold out of state, at which time the copy shall be forwarded to the department.

                 (b) A person receiving hide tags from the department shall complete and submit an Annual Hide Target Report on a forms supplied or approved by the department [file an annual report (PWD 370)] accounting for all tags by October 10 following the end of the open season for which tags were issued. Unused tags shall be returned with this report.

                 (c) A wholesale dealer shall complete and submit an Alligator Transaction Report on a form supplied or approved by the department[file reports (PWD 306)] by October 31 and by the last day of every third month thereafter detailing purchase and sale transactions during the license year. A wholesale dealer shall retain a copy of each report required by this subsection[PWD-306 so filed] for a minimum of two years and shall produce such records upon the request of a department employee acting in the discharge of official duties[demand by the department].

                 (d) A retail dealer shall retain records of all purchases from wholesale dealers for a minimum of two years.

                 (e) An alligator import permit holder shall complete and submit an Alligator Import Report on a form supplied or provided by the department [report all import activities during a reporting period] within 30 days following permit period termination.

                 (f) Except for farmers operating an incubation-only facility under §65.361(e) of this title (relating to Alligator Farm Facility Requirements), all farmers [A farmer] shall submit quarterly reports on a form supplied or approved by the department [(PWD-371)] within 15 days of the end of each quarterly period (February, May, August, and November).

                 (g) A farmer operating an incubation-only facility under the provisions of §65.361(e) of this title shall file an Incubation Summary on a form supplied or approved by the department no later than October 1 of each year.

                 (h)[(g)] An alligator egg collector shall complete and submit an Annual Egg Collection Report provided or approved by the department[annual report] and return all unused nest stamps by October 1[August 31] of each year.

                 (i)[(h)] All persons to whom hide tags or nest stamps have been issued shall notify the department in writing within 15 days in the event that any tags or stamps are lost, stolen, mutilated, or destroyed. The department will not replace tags or stamps so reported.

        §65.361. Alligator Farm Facility Requirements.

                 (a) An applicant for an Alligator Farming Permit must complete and submit an application on a form supplied or approved by the department. The application must contain the GPS coordinates of the perimeter of the facility and be accompanied by a map showing the location and dimensions of the facility.

                 (b)[(a)Except for an alligator farming permit issued under subsection (e) of this section, a[A] first-time applicant for an alligator farming[farmer’s] permit must, prior to permit issuance, show evidence of the following during a facility inspection by the department:

                         (1) adequate barriers to prevent escape or entry by alligators;

                         (2) a reliable source of clean, fresh water;

                         (3) provision for protection from the cold, either available denning space or an enclosed, controlled-temperature environment;

                         (4) pooled water sufficient to allow complete submersion of alligators.

                 (c) Except as provided under §65.353 of this title (relating to General Provisions) or for live alligators being lawfully transported, a live alligator held under an Alligator Farming Permit must be kept within the facility identified in the application required by subsection (a) of this section at all times.

                 (d) No farmer may incubate alligator eggs at a farm or incubation-only facility unless the department has approved the incubation apparatus at the farm or incubation-only facility. An incubation apparatus must be capable of maintaining water and air temperatures of 85 to 91 degrees Fahrenheit on a continuous basis when eggs and hatchlings are present.

                 (e) A person who operates a facility solely for the purpose of incubating and hatching alligator eggs must obtain an alligator farming permit. Alligators hatched in a facility permitted under this subsection must be transferred to an alligator farm meeting the requirements of subsection (a) of this section or an out-of-state facility lawfully able to receive the hatchlings by October 1 of each year. 

                (f)[(b)A person possessing alligator eggs under an alligator farming permit[Alligator farmers possessing alligator eggs outside an alligator nest] shall hold[house] such eggs in identifiable original clutch groups in an incubation apparatus[facility] approved by the department.

                 (g)[(c)] Complete written records of all alligator stock shall be kept, including nest stamps for all alligator eggs, shipping tickets, invoices, and bills of lading.

                 (h)[(d)] Farmers may collect eggs from nests of captive alligators inside alligator farms at any time, provided each clutch is accompanied by a captive nest stamp provided by the department. Nesting activity of captive alligators shall be recorded on a daily basis. An Alligator Farm Egg Collection Report on a form supplied or approved by the department[annual summary of nesting activity (PWD-371A)] shall be submitted to the department by September 15 of each year.

                 (i)[(e)An alligator farmer who collects or receives alligator eggs taken from wild nests[Farmers possessing alligator eggs collected from the wild] shall complete and submit an Annual Egg Report on a form supplied or approved by the department[annual report (PWD-371A)] to the department by October 1[September 30] of each year.

                 (j)[(f)] The department may[reserves the right to] deny permit issuance[permits] to:

                         (1) any incubation facility with less than a 70% hatching success over any period of two consecutive years; or

                         (2) any farm facility with less than a 70% hatchling survival (hatch-to-harvest) over any period of two consecutive years.

                 (k)[(g)] All facilities, alligator stock, and records are subject to examination by department personnel prior to permitting and thereafter during farm operation.

                 (l)[(i)] Applications for hide tags [(PWD 372)] shall be submitted to the department 15 days prior to harvest of alligators, except for non-harvest mortalities, in which case the permittee shall notify a game warden before skinning operations begin.

                 (m) A hide tag issued to a farming facility may not be used on an alligator killed under a hunting license.

                 (n) It is an offense for a farmer to sell, offer for sale, or accept or offer to accept anything of value from another person for the killing of an alligator within an alligator farming facility. 

        §65.362. Importation and Exportation.

                 (a) Except as may be provided under a permit issued under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 43. Subchapter C, no [No] alligator may be imported into this state unless the importer possesses a valid alligator import permit.

                         (1) An alligator import permit may be obtained by completing and submitting an Alligator Import Permit application on a form supplied or approved by the department and the nonrefundable fee specified in §53.8 of this title (relating to ‘Alligator Licenses, Permits, Stamps, and Tags). 

                         (2) Only the holder of a valid wholesale dealer, retail dealer, or alligator farm permit may obtain an alligator import permit.

                          (3) An alligator import permit is valid from the date of purchase until the immediately following August 31.

                         (4) This subsection does not apply to alligators not taken or originating in Texas that are:

                                  (A) shipped by common carrier through this state or to a destination in this state[or accompanied by documentation of lawful possession from outside of this state to a destination within this state] for immediate shipment outside the state; or

                                  (B) transported by means other than a common carrier through this state from outside of this state to a destination within this state for immediate shipment outside this state, provided the alligators are accompanied by evidence of lawful take and/or possession.

                 (b) [An alligator import permit is required for shipment of live alligators into this state.] No person shall import a live alligator under a permit authorized by this subchapter unless that person has notified the department not less than 24 hours or more than 48 hours prior to each instance of importation. Notification shall be by fax or email[telephone contact] with the department’s Law Enforcement Communications Center [in Austin].

                 (c) An alligator import permit is not required for an alligator lawfully taken or possessed in another state by sport or recreational hunting license, provided the person who possesses the alligator has not, prior to entering the state of Texas in possession of the alligator, sold the alligator or accepted anything of value in exchange for the alligator or for the transport or delivery of the alligator. A person in possession of an alligator under this section must also possess evidence of valid take and, if the person in possession of the alligator is not the person who took the alligator, valid documentation for the legal transfer of possession to that person.[In the case of alligators taken in another state under a sport hunting license, no import permit is required].

        §65.365. Management Tag. 

                 (a) The department may issue management tags to landowners with a department-approved alligator management plan specifying a harvest quota of [sub-adult] alligators six feet in total length or less. Tags are issued upon:

                         (1) department approval of an alligator management plan; and

                         (2) payment of the fee established in §53.8 of this title (relating to Alligator Licenses, Permits, Stamps and Tags.  [The fee for management tags is [$5.00 per tag.]

                 (b) All provisions of this subchapter pertaining to tags and tagging also apply to management tags.


Commission Agenda Item No. 7
Exhibit B

STATEWIDE HUNTING PROCLAMATION

PROPOSAL PREAMBLE

 

1. Introduction.

        The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (the department) proposes an amendment to §65.49, concerning Alligators. The proposed amendment would clarify language regarding the payment of the fee for a CITES hide tag and eliminate obsolete references to department forms. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) is an international agreement to protect endangered plants and animals. The American alligator, although not endangered, is subject to CITES documentation requirements because of similarity of appearance to other endangered crocodilian species. Under current rule it is not clear that the fee for a hide tag must be submitted with the application for the tag. The proposed amendment would make it clear that the application must be accompanied by the fee. The proposed amendment would also replace a reference to a specific form number and stipulate that the report be made on a form supplied for approved by the department.

2. Fiscal Note.

        Robert Macdonald, Regulations Coordinator, has determined that for each of the first five years that the amendment as proposed is in effect, there will be no fiscal implications to state or local governments as a result of administering or enforcing the rule.

3. Public Benefit/Cost Note.

        Mr. Macdonald also has determined that for each of the first five years that the rule as proposed is in effect:

        (A) The public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing or administering the rules as proposed will be clarity of regulations.

        There will be no adverse economic effect on persons required to comply with the rule as proposed.

        (B) Under the provisions of Government Code, Chapter 2006, a state agency must prepare an economic impact statement and a regulatory flexibility analysis for a rule that may have an adverse economic effect on small businesses, micro-businesses, and rural communities. As required by Government Code, §2006.002(g), the Office of the Attorney General has prepared guidelines to assist state agencies in determining a proposed rule’s potential adverse economic impact on small businesses. Those guidelines state that an agency need only consider a proposed rule’s “direct adverse economic impacts” to small businesses and micro-businesses to determine if any further analysis is required. For that purpose, the department considers “direct economic impact “to mean a requirement that would directly impose recordkeeping or reporting requirements; impose taxes or fees; result in lost sales or profits; adversely affect market competition; or require the purchase or modification of equipment or services.

        The department has determined that the proposed rules do not directly affect small businesses, micro-businesses, or rural communities. Therefore, neither the economic impact statement nor the regulatory flexibility analysis described in Government Code, Chapter 2006, is required.

        (C) The department has not drafted a local employment impact statement under the Administrative Procedures Act, §2001.022, as the agency has determined that the rule as proposed will not impact local economies.

        (D) The department has determined that Government Code, §2001.0225 (Regulatory Analysis of Major Environmental Rules), does not apply to the proposed rule.

        (E) The department has determined that there will not be a taking of private real property, as defined by Government Code, Chapter 2007, as a result of the proposed rule.

        (F) In compliance with the requirements of Government Code, §2001.0221, the department has prepared the following Government Growth Impact Statement (GGIS).  The rules as proposed, if adopted, will:

                 (1) neither create nor eliminate a government program;

                 (2) not result in an increase or decrease in the number of full-time equivalent employee needs;

                 (3) not result in a need for additional General Revenue funding;

                 (4) not affect the amount of any fee;

                 (5) will not create a new regulation;

                 (6) not expand, limit, or repeal an existing regulation;

                 (7) neither increase nor decrease the number of individuals subject to regulation; and

                 (8) not positively or adversely affect the state’s economy.

4. Request for Public Comment.

        Comments on the proposal may be submitted to Mitch Lockwood at (512) 389-4363, e-mail: mitch.lockwood@tpwd.texas.gov. Comments also may be submitted via the department’s website at http://www.tpwd.texas.gov/business/feedback/public_comment/.

5. Statutory Authority.

        The amendment is proposed under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, §65.003,  which authorizes the commission to regulate taking, possession, propagation, transportation, exportation, importation, sale, and offering for sale of alligators, alligator eggs, or any part of an alligator that the commission considers necessary to manage this species, including regulations to provide for the periods of time when it is lawful to take, possess, sell, or purchase alligators, alligator hides, alligator eggs, or any part of an alligator; and limits, size, means, methods, and places in which it is lawful to take or possess alligators, alligator hides, alligator eggs, or any part of an alligator; and control of nuisance alligators.

        The proposed amendment affects Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 65.

6. Rule Text.

        §65.49. Alligators.

                 (a) – (d) (No change.)

                 (e) Reports; return of unused tags.

                         (1) Except as provided in subsections (b)(6) and (c)(5) of this section, a person who takes an alligator shall complete an alligator hide tag report [(PWD-304)] immediately upon harvest. The report shall be submitted to the department within seven days of harvest.

                         (2) A person who takes an alligator under subsection (b)(5) of this section shall complete and submit to the department an alligator hide tag report, accompanied by the fee specified in §53.8 of this title (relating to Alligator Licenses, Permits, Stamps, and Tags,[(PWD-304A)] within 72 hours of harvest.

                         (3) A person to whom the department has issued more than one hide tag shall file an annual report on a form supplied or approved by the department [(PWD 370)] accounting for all tags within 10 working days following the close of the open season in the county for which the tags were issued. All unused tags shall be returned with this report.

                         (4) The department may refuse to issue additional hide tags to any person who:

                                  (A) does not file the reports as required by this section[; or]

                                  (B) does not return unused hide tags as required by this section; or

                                  (C) fails to pay the fee for a hide tag.

                 (f) – (h) (No change.)

        This agency hereby certifies that the proposal has been reviewed by legal counsel and found to be within the agency’sauthority to adopt.

        Issued in Austin, Texas, on