Legislative Rules Review - Chapter 65. Wildlife

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1. Introduction.

        The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proposes amendments to 31 TAC §65.191 and §65.202, concerning the Public Lands Proclamation. The proposed amendment would alter the title of the subchapter, changing it to “Public Hunting Proclamation” to more accurately reflect the subject material addressed by the subchapter. The proposed amendment to §65.191, concerning Definitions, would alter the definition of “loaded firearm” to accommodate the use of modern muzzleloading weapons that utilize a propellant cartridge rather than traditional systems employing priming charges. The proposed amendment to §65.202, concerning Youth Hunting on Public Hunting Lands, would eliminate a provision regarding the minimum age for participation in youth-only waterfowl hunting during the federal youth waterfowl season. Current rules define a youth as any person less than 17 years of age; however, federal youth-only waterfowl season rules limited participation in the federal youth-only season to persons 15 years of age and younger. Recent federal action allows individual states to establish any minimum age for participation, provided it is less than 18. Removing the current provision will allow the department to have a uniform standard for participation in public hunting opportunities for youth.

2. Fiscal Note.

        Justin Dreibelbis, Director of the Private Lands and Public Hunting Program, 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 governments as a result of administering or enforcing the proposed amendments.

3. Public Benefit/Cost Note.

        Mr. Dreibelbis 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 clear regulations governing public hunting activities.

        (B) There will be no adverse economic effect on persons required to comply with the rules as proposed.

        (C) 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 such entities. 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. 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 directly 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.

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

        (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) will not create a new regulation;

                 (6) will 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 proposed rule may be submitted to Justin Dreibelbis, e-mail: justin.dreibelbis@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, §81.006, which prohibits the take, attempted take, or possession of any wildlife or fish from a wildlife management area except in the manner and during the times permitted by the department under Chapter 81, Subchapter E, and under Chapter 81, Subchapter E, which provides the Parks and Wildlife Commission with authority to establish an open season on wildlife management areas and public hunting lands, authorizes the executive director to regulate numbers, means, methods, and conditions for taking wildlife resources on wildlife management areas and public hunting lands, and authorizes the commission to adopt rules governing recreational activities in wildlife management areas.

        The proposed amendments affect Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 81.

6. Text.

        §65.191 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 §65.3 of this title (relating to Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation).

                         (1) – (24) (No change.)

                         (25) Loaded firearm — A firearm containing a live round of ammunition within the chamber and/or the magazine, or if muzzleloading, one which has a cap on the nipple, [or] a priming charge in the pan, or a propellant charge or propellant cartridge in the breech.

                         (26) – (49) (No change.)

       §65.202. Youth Hunting on Public Hunting Lands.

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

                 [(c) Youth participating in a youth waterfowl hunt during the federal youth waterfowl hunting season must be 15 years of age or younger.]

        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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