Rule Review Chapter 55: Proposed Amendments to Party Boat Rules

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LEGISLATIVE RULES REVIEW

CHAPTER 55. LAW ENFORCEMENT

SUBCHAPTER H. PARTY BOATS

PROPOSAL PREAMBLE

1. Introduction.

        The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proposes amendments to §55.401 and §55.402, concerning Party Boats. Under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 31, Subchapter G, the department is required to license and regulate party boats, which are defined by statute as boats operated by the owner of the vessel or an employee of the owner and rented or leased by the owner for a group recreational event for more than six passengers. The department has encountered instances in which persons who own and operate party boats have erroneously interpreted the provisions in the rules that exempt livery vessels (a rented vessel for which operation and provisioning are the responsibility of the renter rather than the owner of the vessel) from the applicability of the rules to also exempt party boats from the statutory requirements of Parks and Wildlife Code, §31.040, which prescribes the licensing and titling requirements for livery vessels. To remedy the misunderstanding, the proposed amendment would remove the definition of “livery vessel” from §55.401, concerning Definitions, and amend §55.402, concerning Applicability and Exceptions, by adding a generic description in of the types of rental craft that are exempt from the provisions of the subchapter.

        The proposed 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 rule will be clearer and more user friendly regulations regarding the licensing and titling of party boats.

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

        (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; 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, §31.176, which requires the commission to promulgate rules regarding the requirements and procedures for the issuance and renewal of a party boat operator license to protect the public health and safety and §31.180, which requires the commission to adopt and enforce rules necessary to implement Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 31, Subchapter G.

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

6. Rule Text.

        §55.401. Definitions. The following words and terms, when used in this chapter, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

                 [(1)] Livery vessel — a vessel rented out for profit under a written contract by a vessel livery, as defined by Parks and Wildlife Code, §31.003(8), where all responsibility and liability for operating and provisioning the vessel is assumed by the party renting the vessel.]

                 (1)[(2)] Inland waters — all public waters of this state on the landward side of the coastal waters boundary as defined in §65.3(15) of this title (relating to Definitions).

                 (2)[(3)] Party boat — a vessel meeting the definition of "party boat" established in Parks and Wildlife Code, §31.171(2).

                 (3)[(4)] Passenger — a person carried on board a party boat, but does not include:

                         (A) — (C) (No change.)

        §55.402. Applicability and Exceptions.

                 (a) – (c) (No change.)

                 (d) This subchapter does not apply to:

                         (1) – (2) (No change.)

                         (3) a vessel rented out for profit under a written contract by a vessel livery, as defined by Parks and Wildlife Code, §31.003(8), where all responsibility and liability for operating and provisioning the vessel is assumed by the party renting the vessel[a livery vessel]; or

                         (4) (No change.)

        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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