Presenter: Carlos Vaca

Commission Agenda Item No. 8
Action
Marine Safety Enforcement Officer Certification
April 1998

I. Discussion: The passage of House Bill 966 by the Seventy-fifth Legislature delegated to the Parks and Wildlife Commission the authority to establish standards for training and certifying marine safety enforcement officers who enforce any provision of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 31 (Texas Water Safety Act), or city ordinance, order of a commissioners court, or a political subdivision of the state made or entered under Chapter 31. In addition, HB966 authorizes the Commission to exempt specified peace officers from training and certification standards and to establish and collect a fee to recover the administrative costs associated with the certification process.

Staff was authorized by the Regulations Committee at its January 1998 meeting to publish proposed regulations to implement training and certification standards for marine safety officers and marine safety enforcement officer instructors, and to establish fees. The proposed new training and certification standards and proposed fee schedule were published in the March 13, 1998, issue of the Texas Register (23 TexReg 2726). Staff has collected, analyzed, and responded to public comments concerning the proposed new rules, and is prepared to summarize public comment at the April meeting.

II. Recommendation: The staff recommends the Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt the following motion:

"The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts new 31 TAC § 53.60, concerning Marine Safety Enforcement - Training and Certification Fees, and new §§ 55.801- 55.807, concerning Marine Safety Enforcement - Training and Certification Standards, with changes to the proposed text as published in the March 13, 1998, issue of the Texas Register (23 TexReg 2726)."

Attachments - 3

1. Exhibit A - Proposed Marine Safety Enforcement Officer Certification Regulations
2. Exhibit B - Proposed Fees
3. Exhibit C - Fiscal Note

(Exhibit C is available upon request.)


Commission Agenda Item No. 8
Exhibit A

Proposed Marine Safety Enforcement Officer Certification Regulations
Proposed Preamble

1. Introduction.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proposes new §§ 55.801-55.807, concerning training and certification of marine safety enforcement officers. The new sections are necessary in order to implement the provisions of House Bill 966, enacted by the 75th Texas Legislature, which established mandatory boater education in this state. The new sections will function by establishing the certification criteria for persons to become marine safety officers and marine safety officer course instructors.

2. Fiscal Note.

Robert Macdonald, Wildlife Division regulations coordinator, has determined that for each of the first five years that the rules as proposed are in effect, there will be fiscal implications to state and local governments as a result of enforcing or administering the new sections. The proposed new sections would require a certification fee of $25 per peace officer and an instruction charge of $3 per student per hour. The department cannot quantify costs to other governmental subdivisions, as such costs are dependent upon the number of peace officers a given governmental subdivision might enroll in the certification process.

3. Public Benefit - Cost Note.

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

(A) The public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing the rules as proposed will be the presence of trained peace officers on the public waters of the state to enforce boating safety laws, thus increasing the safety of water-related recreational activities as well as reducing injuries, deaths, and property losses resulting from unsafe and unlawful boat operation.

(B) There will be no effect on small businesses and no additional economic costs to persons required to comply with the rules as proposed.

(C) The department has not filed a local impact statement with the Texas Workforce Commission as required by Government Code, §2001.022, as this agency has determined that the rules as proposed will not impact local economies.

(D) 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.

4. Request for Public Comments.

Comments on the proposed rules may be submitted to Carlos Vaca, Director of Water Safety Enforcement, Law Enforcement Division, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas 78744; (512) 389-4624 or 1-800-792-1112.

5. Statutory Authority.

The new sections are proposed under Parks and Wildlife Code, §31.121, which gives the commission authority to adopt rules establishing standards for training and certifying marine safety enforcement officers, creating exemptions from training and certification requirements, and establishing fees to recover administrative costs associated with the certification process.

MARINE SAFETY ENFORCEMENT OFFICER CERTIFICATION

§ 55.801. Application. This subchapter shall apply to any peace officer, as defined by Article 2.12, Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, who enforces any provision of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 31, or enforces any provision, regulation, resolution, ordinance, or order adopted pursuant to Parks and Wildlife Code, § 31.092.

§ 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.

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

Commission - The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission

Department - The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

§ 55.803. General Rules.

(a) To be eligible for certification as a marine safety enforcement officer, a person must:

(1) be an active duty peace officer;

(2) hold a Texas boater education certificate; and

(3) successfully complete the marine safety enforcement officer training course and marine safety enforcement officer examination.

(b) To retain certification, a marine safety enforcement officer must comply with all reporting requirements as set forth in § 55.806 of this title (relating to Reporting Requirements).

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

(1) be a certified marine safety enforcement officer;

(2) hold a TCLEOSE Instructor license; and

(3) successfully complete the marine safety enforcement officer instructor course and marine safety enforcement officer instructor examination.

(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 TCLEOSE Instructors License is eligible for certification as a marine safety enforcement officer course instructor.

§ 55.804. Marine Safety Enforcement Officer Course Standards.

(a) The marine safety enforcement officer course shall consist of the following instruction topics:

(1) provisions of the Texas Water Safety Act, Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 31;

(2) navigation rules;

(3) United States Coast Guard rules applicable to state waters;

(4) boater education requirements; and

(5) the reporting requirements of §55.806 of this title (relating to Reporting Requirements).

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

(1) attended a minimum of eight hours of prescribed instruction by a department certified marine safety enforcement officer instructor; and

(2) passed the department approved marine safety enforcement officer examination.

(c) Upon completion of a course, the instructor shall submit to the department 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.

§ 55.805. Marine Safety Enforcement Officer Instructor Course Standards.

(a) The marine safety enforcement officer instructor course shall consist of the following instruction topics:

(1) provisions of the Texas Water Safety Act, Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 31;

(2) navigation rules;

(3) United States Coast Guard rules applicable to state waters;

(4) boater education requirements; and

(5) the reporting requirements of §55.806 of this title (relating to Reporting Requirements).

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

(1) attended a minimum of 16 hours of instruction prescribed by the Game Warden Training Academy; and

(2) successfully completed the marine safety enforcement officer instructor examination prescribed by the Game Warden Training Academy.

(c) Upon completion of an instructor certification course, the course instructor shall submit to the department 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.

§ 55.806. Reporting Requirements.

(a) Marine safety enforcement officers shall report all investigations as required by Parks and Wildlife Code, §31.132, by completing and submitting to the department a Water Safety Incident Report(s).

(b) The department may summarily suspend the certification of a marine safety enforcement officer who fails to submit, fails to complete, or falsifies a report required under subsection (a) of this section.

§ 55.807. Fees. All applications shall be accompanied by the fees specified in Chapter 53 of this title (relating to Finance). All payments shall be in the form of a check, money order, or warrant made payable to the department. All fees 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

William D. Harvey, Ph.D.
Regulatory Coordinator
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
1-800-792-1112, extension 4642 or 512-389-4642


Commission Agenda Item No. 8
Exhibit B

Proposed Fees
Proposed Preamble

1. Introduction.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proposes new § 53.60, concerning fees schedules. New § 53.60 is necessary to implement the fees to recover the administrative cost of training and certifying marine safety enforcement officers and marine safety enforcement officer course instructors. The new section will function to impose fees for peace officers seeking certification as marine safety enforcement officers or marine safety enforcement officer course instructors.

2. Fiscal Note.

Robert Macdonald, Wildlife Division regulations coordinator, has determined that for each of the first five years that the proposed new rule is in effect, there will be fiscal implications to state or local governments as a result of enforcing or administering the proposed new rule. A governmental entity seeking to have a peace officer trained and certified as a marine safety enforcement officer or marine safety enforcement officer course instructor will incur an enrollment cost of $25 per peace officer and a $3 per student per hour instruction charge.

3. Public Benefit - Cost Note.

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

(A) The public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing the rules as proposed will be the ability of the department to deliver a program that enhances the safety of all persons who participate in water-related recreation in this state.

(B) There will be no effect on small businesses. There are additional economic costs to persons required to comply with the rules as proposed; specifically, a $25 fee per peace officer enrolled for training and certification as a marine safety enforcement officer or marine safety enforcement course instructor, and $3 per student per hour instruction charge.

(C) The department has not filed a local impact statement with the Texas Workforce Commission as required by Government Code, § 2001.022, as this agency has determined that the rule as proposed will not impact local economies.

(D) The department has determined that there will not be a taking of private property, as defined by Government Code, Chapter 2007, as a result of the proposed rule.

4. Request for Public Comments.

Comments on the proposed rules may be submitted to Carlos Vaca, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas 78744; (512) 389-4624 or 1-800-792-1112.

5. Statutory Authority.

The new section is proposed under the provisions of House Bill 966, Acts of the 75th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 1997, which amended Parks and Wildlife Code, § 31.121 to authorize the commission to establish and collect a fee to recover the administrative costs associated with the certification of marine safety enforcement officers.

The amendment and new section affect Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 31.

§ 53.60. Law Enforcement Training and Certification Fees. In addition to the enrollment fees below, the department shall impose an instruction charge of $3 per student per hour.

(1) The fee for certification as a marine safety enforcement officers is $25.

(2) The fee for certification as a marine safety enforcement officer instructor is $25.

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

William D. Harvey, Ph.D.
Regulatory Coordinator
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
1-800-792-1112, extension 4642 or 512-389-4642


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