Rules Required by Legislative Action – Proposed New Rules for Non-Profit Partners Providing Hunting and Fishing by Military Veterans

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PROMOTION BY NONPROFIT PARTNERS OF

HUNTING AND FISHING BY MILITARY VETERANS

PROPOSAL PREAMBLE

1. Introduction.

        The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proposes new 31 TAC §51.168, concerning Promotion of Hunting and Fishing by Military Veterans. The proposed new rule would provide a process to select one or more non-profit partners (NPP) that exclusively serve veterans to promote hunting and fishing by those veterans and guidelines under which a representative of or a veteran served by an approved nonprofit partner may engage in hunting or fishing activities under this section.

        House Bill 1728 , enacted during the most recent regular session of the Texas Legislature, authorizes the department to select and cooperate with one or more nonprofit partners that exclusively serve veterans to promote hunting and fishing by those veterans. The bill authorizes a veteran who is a Texas resident and who is served by a selected nonprofit to hunt or fish on one day without holding the required license for that activity if accompanied by a representative of the nonprofit partner (NPP) who holds the appropriate license. The bill requires the department to adopt rules governing “guidelines under which a representative of or a veteran served by a nonprofit partner may engage in hunting or fishing activities.”

        The proposed new rule would provide that the selection of one or more nonprofit partners would be according to existing department rules regarding nonprofit partners, as applicable, and would set forth the guidelines for participation in hunting and fishing activities by representatives of the NPP and veterans selected for hunting and fishing activities.

2. Fiscal Note.

        Shaun Oldenburger, Small Game Program Director, has determined that for each of the first five years the proposed new rule is in effect, there will be no fiscal implications to state or local government as a result of enforcing or administering the rule.

3. Public Benefit/Cost Note.

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

        (A) The public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing or administering the rule as proposed will be compliant with the directives of the legislature.

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

        (C) The department has determined that small or micro-businesses and rural communities will not be affected by the proposed rule. Accordingly, the department has not prepared a regulatory flexibility analysis under Government Code, Chapter 2006.

        (D) The department has not filed a local impact statement with the Texas Workforce Commission as required by the Administrative Procedures Act, §2001.022, as the agency has determined that the rule 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 rule.

        (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 rule.

        (G) In compliance with the requirements of Government Code, §2001.0241, 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;

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

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

                 (8) neither positively nor negatively affect the state’s economy.

4. Request for Public Comment.

        Comments on the proposed rule may be submitted to Shaun Oldenburger at 512-389-8012; by email at shaun.oldenburger@tpwd.texas.gov; or via the department website at www.tpwd.texas.gov.

5. Statutory Authority.

        The new rule is proposed under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, §11.208, which allows the commission to establish by rule the criteria under which the department may select the nonprofit partner and the guidelines under which a representative of or a veteran served by a nonprofit partner may engage in hunting or fishing activities provided by the nonprofit partner; Parks and Wildlife Code, §42.0177, which authorizes the commission to modify or eliminate the tagging, carcass, final destination, or final processing requirements or other similar requirements or provisions in Chapter 42; Parks and Wildlife Code, §43.402, which authorizes the commission to exempt by rule a person from requirements regarding purchase and possession of saltwater fishing stamps;  §43.652, which authorizes the commission to exempt a person or class of persons by rule from the upland or migratory game bird stamp requirements; §43.802, which authorizes the commission to exempt a person by rule from the freshwater fishing stamp requirement; and §46.0086, which authorizes the commission by regulation to exempt a person from the finfish tag requirement of that chapter.

        The proposed new rule affects Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapters 11, 42, 43, and 46.

6. Rule Text.

        §51.168. Nonprofit Partnerships to Promote Hunting and Fishing by Resident Veterans.

                 (a) The department shall select one or more nonprofit partners (NPP) to promote hunting and fishing by residents of this state who are veterans of the United States Armed Forces. A prospective NPP under this section must exist exclusively to serve veterans of the United States Armed Forces. The selection process shall be conducted according to the applicable provisions of this subchapter, and shall occur at three-year intervals by means of a request for proposals published by the department.

                 (b) The following guidelines shall govern hunting and fishing activities under this section.

                         (1) An NPP must provide angling and hunting opportunities on private lands and/or public waters in Texas.

                         (2) Except as specifically provided in this section, hunting and fishing activities under this section shall be conducted in accordance with all regulations that prescribe seasons, bag limits, gear restrictions, lawful means and methods, and special provisions governing the take of wildlife resources. All federal requirements regarding hunting and fishing (duck stamp, CITES tag requirements, permits, certifications, gear, means and methods, etc.) continue to apply.

                         (3) Hunting and fishing opportunity provided by an NPP under this section:

                                  (A) must be made available by means of a fair method of allocation or distribution to all veterans of the United States Armed Forces who are residents of this state; and

                                  (B) must be advertised by the NPP by providing public notice.

                         (4) Hunting and fishing opportunity provided by an NPP shall be at no cost to participants, not to include travel, lodging, meals, and other expenses ancillary to hunting and fishing activities unless those costs are provided by the NPP at the discretion of the NPP.

                         (5) Not less than 30 days before any hunting or fishing activity may be provided or engaged in, an NPP shall complete and provide to the department on a form provided or approved by the department, the specific hunting and/or angling opportunities to be provided, to include the following, at a minimum:

                                  (A) the specific location (address or name of ranch, property, or water body) where the activities are to occur;

                                  (B) the dates that each activity will occur;

                                  (C) the name and address of each participant, accompanied by proof of veteran status for each; and

                                  (D) the name and address of each representative of the NPP who will be participating in the activity.

                         (6) The stamp endorsement requirements of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapters 43, and 46 do not apply to wildlife resources taken under this subchapter.

                         (7) The representative of an NPP who accompanies a participant who engages in hunting activities shall immediately tag any animal or bird killed by a participant for which a tag is required under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 42 with a tag issued by the department to the NPP for the hunting opportunity.

                         (8) The representative of an NPP who accompanies a participant who engages in fishing activities shall immediately tag any fish caught by a participant for which a tag is required under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 46 with a tag issued by the department to the NPP for the fishing opportunity.

                         (9) A wildlife resource document provided by the department to the NPP and completed by the representative of an NPP who accompanies a participant who engages in hunting or fishing activities shall accompany any harvested wildlife resource or portion thereof not accompanied by a tag until the wildlife resource reaches:

                                  (A) the possessor’s permanent residence and is finally processed;

                                  (B) a final destination for deer; or

                                  (C) a taxidermist.

                         (10) An NPP shall maintain a daily harvest log of hunting or fishing activity conducted.

                                  (A) The daily harvest log shall be on a form provided or approved by the department.

                                  (B) The representative of an NPP who accompanies a participant who engages in hunting or fishing activities shall, on the same day that a wildlife resource is killed or caught, legibly enter the following information in the daily harvest log:

                                          (i) the name of the NPP representative;

                                          (ii) the name of the person who killed or caught the resource;

                                          (iii) the date that the wildlife resource was killed or caught;

                                          (iv) the location the wildlife resource was killed or caught; and

                                          (v) the species, sex (if deer, pronghorn, desert bighorn sheep, or turkey), and quantity of wildlife resource killed or caught.

                                  (C) The daily harvest log shall be made available to any department employee acting in the performance of official duties upon request.

                                  (D) The daily harvest log shall be retained by an NPP for a period of two years following the latest entry of hunting or fishing activity required to be recorded in the log. 

                         (11) An NPP shall complete and submit an annual report to the department on a form prescribed or approved by the department.

                 (c) A person acting as a representative of an NPP under this section is not exempt from any licensing, stamp, documentation, or other rule of the department while engaging in hunting or fishing activities under this section.

        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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