Rule Review Chapter 55: Proposed Amendment to Marine Safety Enforcement Officer Rules

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LEGISLATIVE RULES REVIEW

CHAPTER 55. LAW ENFORCEMENT

MARINE SAFETY ENFORCEMENT – TRAINING AND CERTIFICATION STANDARDS

PROPOSAL PREAMBLE

1. Introduction.

        The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proposes the repeal of §55.805 and amendments to §§55.802, 55.804, and 55.807, concerning Marine Safety Enforcement – Training and Certification Standards. The proposed amendments would eliminate requirements for the training of instructors from outside agencies, provide for online instruction for certification as a marine safety enforcement officer (MSEO), and modernize terminology. The department has steadily increased the availability, where possible, of online options for learning applications (for instance, boater education and hunter education requirements can now be satisfied online). Law Enforcement Division staff have determined that the Marine Safety Enforcement Officer Course can be offered online to better serve the department’s sister agencies as well as allow for more efficient resource allocation by the department. It is not uncommon for agency marine units to host MSEO course complements of only one or two officers, which consumes department resources and diverts personnel availability for other duties. Offering an online option could mitigate these situations. In another proposed rulemaking published elsewhere in this issue, the department proposes to establish a fee of $10 for online marine safety enforcement officer instruction.

        Additionally, demand for the department’s MSEO instructor course is non-existent, primarily because MSEO training is conducted almost exclusively by department law enforcement personnel. Additionally, the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) has implemented administrative processes that make recordkeeping and reporting functions problematic with respect to outside instructors. Therefore, the department proposes to cease offering the MSEO instructor training course, which necessitates the proposed repeal of §55.805, concerning Marine Safety Enforcement Officer Instructor Course Standards.

        The proposed amendments would also update references to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards, which is the former name of TCOLE.

        The proposed repeal and amendments are a result of the department’s review of its regulations under the provisions of Government Code, §2001.039, which requires each state agency to review each of its regulations no less frequently than every four years and to re-adopt, adopt with changes, or repeal each rule as a result of the review.

2. Fiscal Note.

        Cody Jones, Assistant Commander and Boating Law Administrator, 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 or local government as a result of administering or enforcing the rules.

3. Public Benefit/Cost Note.

        Assistant Commander Jones 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 proposed rules will be more efficient and less burdensome delivery of MSEO training and certification.

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

        (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.

        (C) The department has determined that proposed rules would result in no direct economic effect on any small businesses, micro-businesses, or rural community. Therefore, neither the economic impact statement nor the regulatory flexibility analysis described in Government Code, Chapter 2006, is required.

        (D) 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.

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

        (F) 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.

        (G) 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 neither create nor eliminate a government program; not result in an increase or decrease in the number of full-time equivalent employee needs; not result in a need for additional General Revenue funding; not affect the amount of an existing fee; not create or expand an existing regulation but will repeal an existing regulation; not increase or decrease the number of individuals subject to regulation; and not positively or adversely affect the state’s economy.

4. Request for Public Comment.

        Comments on the proposal may be submitted to Assistant Commander Cody Jones, (512) 389-4624, e-mail: cody.jones@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 amendments are proposed under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, §31.121, which requires the commission by rule to establish standards for training and certifying marine safety enforcement officers and instructors.

        The proposed amendments affect Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 31.

6. Rule Text.

        §55.802. Definitions. The following words and terms, when used in this subchapter, shall have the following meanings, except where the context clearly indicates otherwise.

                 (1) Active duty peace officer — A peace officer holding a valid peace officer license from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE)[Officer Standards and Education (TCLEOSE)] and a valid peace officer commission issued by an authorized governmental entity of the State of Texas.

                 (2) – (3) (No change.)

        §55.803. General Rules.

                 (a) – (b) (No change.)

                 (c) To instruct the marine safety enforcement officer training course, a person must:

                         (1) (No change.)

                         (2) hold a TCOLE[TCLEOSE] Instructor license; and

                         (3) (No change.)

                 (d) A person who is a graduate of the TPWD Game Warden Academy and who is also an active commissioned game warden is eligible for certification as a marine safety enforcement officer. A person who is a graduate of the TPWD Game Warden Academy, who is also an active commissioned game warden, and who holds a TCOLE[TCLEOSE] Instructors License is eligible for certification as a marine safety enforcement officer course instructor.

        §55.804. Marine Safety Enforcement Officer Course Standards.

                 (a) (No change.)

                 (b) The marine safety enforcement officer course is successfully completed when a peace officer has:

                         (1) attended the[a minimum of eight hours of] prescribed instruction by a department-certified marine safety enforcement officer instructor or department-approved online instruction provider[department certified marine safety enforcement officer instructor]; and

                         (2) (No change.)

                 (c) Upon completion of a course, the instructor or online provider shall submit appropriate course completion documentation to the department and TCOLE[a signed affidavit specifying for each student:]

                         [(1) the date(s) of instruction;]

                         [(2) the topics of instruction;]

                         [(3) the hours of instruction in each topic; and]

                         [(4) test score.]

        §55.807. Fees. All applications shall be accompanied by the fees specified in Chapter 53 of this title (relating to Finance). For all courses other than online courses,[All] payments shall be in the form of a check, money order, or warrant made payable to the department. For courses provided by an online provider payment shall be in a form prescribed by the provider. All fees remitted to the department are nonrefundable; however, an entity may substitute a qualified peace officer in place of a person named on an application.

        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

        The repeal is proposed under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, §31.121, which requires the commission by rule to establish standards for training and certifying marine safety enforcement officers and instructors.

        The proposed repeal affects Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 31.

        §55.805. Marine Safety Enforcement Officer Instructor Course Standards.

        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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