Proposed New Advisory Committees

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Advisory Committee Rules

Proposal Preamble

1. Introduction.

        The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (the department) proposes new §51.613 and §51.614, concerning Advisory Committees.  The new rules would establish the Urban Outreach Advisory Committee and the Accessibility Advisory Committee.

        Parks and Wildlife Code, §11.0162, authorizes the Chairman of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (the Commission) to "appoint committees to advise the commission on issues under its jurisdiction." Government Code, Chapter 2110, requires that rules be adopted regarding each state agency advisory committee. Unless otherwise provided by specific statute, the rules must (1) state the purpose of the committee; (2) describe the manner in which the committee will report to the agency; and (3) establish the date on which the committee will automatically be abolished, unless the advisory committee has a specific duration established by statute. Over the years, the department has established a number of advisory committees to provide the department with informed opinion regarding various aspects and dimensions of the department’s mission. The department believes that these advisory committees perform a valuable service for the department and the people of Texas.

        A majority of Texans now live in urban areas, making it more important than ever that the department be aware of and include urban populations in developing the strategies to execute the department’s mission to protect and conserve our natural and cultural heritage. Therefore, the department has determined that it is prudent to establish an urban outreach advisory committee to provide the department with informed assistance in furtherance of the department’s goals with respect to impacts on and contributions from urban populations in the state.

        The proposed new §51.613 would create the Urban Outreach Advisory Committee, provide for the membership and focus of the committee and establish an expiration date (which is required by statute). The focus of the committee would be the range of department programs and initiatives affecting urban populations, the demographic variety of urban populations in the state, and the conservation and management organizations that serve urban populations.

        Similarly, the department is committed to ensuring that its facilities and programs not only comply with legal requirements affecting persons with disabilities, but to meaningful engagement with that community to gather information and gain understanding of the unique challenges faced by the members of that community in order to make the department’s sites, facilities, services, and programs as accessible as possible.

        Proposed new §51.614 would create the Accessibility Advisory Committee, provide for the membership and focus of the committee and establish an expiration date (which is required by statute). The committee would be composed of a range of persons affected by disabilities and/or special needs who are interested in issues of accessibility to department sites, facilities, or programs, as well as conservation and management organizations with an interest in or focus on advocacy for disabled persons. The focus of the committee would be the interests of persons with disabilities and/or special needs in the context of department operations and initiatives.

2. Fiscal Note.

        Ann Bright, Chief Operating Officer, has determined that for each of the first five years that the new rules as proposed are in effect, there will be no fiscal implications to state or local governments as a result of administering or enforcing the rules.

3. Public Benefit/Cost Note.

        Ms. Bright 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 to ensure proper management and effective use of department advisory committees to assist the department in achieving its mission.

        There will be no adverse economic effect on persons required to comply with the rules as proposed, since the rule affects only the department.

        (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 rules will not affect small businesses, micro-businesses, or rural communities. Therefore, the department has not prepared the economic impact statement or regulatory flexibility analysis described in Government Code, Chapter 2006.

        (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 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 create a new regulation (to create the advisory committees);

                 (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 Ann Bright at (512) 389-8558, e-mail: ann.bright@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 new sections are proposed under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, §11.0162 and Government Code, §2110.005 and §2110.008.

        The proposed new sections affect Parks and Wildlife Code, §11.0162.

6. Rule Text.

        §51.613. Urban Outreach Advisory Committee (UOAC).

                 (a) The UOAC is created to advise the department on issues relevant to the department’s mission and goals with respect to urban populations in Texas. 

                 (b) The UOAC membership shall consist of not more than 24 persons representing a cross-section of the urban areas in the following metropolitan areas:

                         (1) Dallas;

                         (2) Fort Worth;

                         (3) Greater Houston;

                         (4) Austin; 

                         (5) San Antonio; and

                         (6) El Paso.

                 (c) The UOAC shall comply with the requirements of §51.601 of this title (relating to General Requirements).

                 (d) The UOAC shall expire on July 1, 2022.

        §51.614. Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC).

                 (a) The AAC is created to advise the department on matters related to the accessibility of department programs, sites, facilities, and services by persons with disabilities and/or special needs. 

                 (b) The AAC membership shall consist of, at a minimum, nine persons who are affected directly or indirectly by disabilities and/or special needs, including, but not limited to: 

                         (1) members of the following communities:

                                  (A) deaf or hearing-impaired;

                                  (B) blind or visually impaired;

                                  (C) intellectually or developmentally impaired; and

                                  (D) emotionally or behaviorally impaired; and

                         (2) representatives of conservation and management organizations with an interest in or focus on advocacy for disabled persons. 

                 (c) The AAC shall comply with the requirements of §51.601 of this title (relating to General Requirements).

                 (d) The AAC shall expire on July 1, 2022.

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

        Issued in Austin, Texas, on

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