Presenter: Ken Kurzawski

Commission Agenda Item No. 4
Action
Reciprocal Fishing License Agreements
June 2000

I. Discussion: Responsibility for establishing reciprocal hunting and fishing privileges with other states is delegated to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 41. Proposed rule changes would rescind recent changes to reciprocal license agreements with Louisiana (65 years of age or older) and Oklahoma (64 years of age or older). Reciprocal agreements would be re-established that allow seniors from Louisiana and Oklahoma to fish in Texas without a non-resident license if these two states enter into an agreement to provide the same privilege to our seniors who are 65 years of age or older. The decision to eliminate reciprocal fishing license privileges for seniors has its roots in the creation of a reduced cost ($6 vs. $19) fishing license for persons that turn 65 years of age after September 1, 1995. That action prompted numerous comments from constituents and legislators concerning the equity of charging some seniors from Texas while allowing senior non-residents from Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Kansas to fish for free. The decision to eliminate reciprocal license privileges was a response to those comments. Since this action, our Department and the Texas Legislature have received numerous comments from Texas seniors protesting our decision as these seniors now have to pay substantial non-resident fishing license fees in Louisiana and Oklahoma. Staff has discussed this situation with staff from Louisiana and Oklahoma, and we have agreed to reinstate the agreements that were in effect prior to last year's actions.

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

"The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts amendments to the Finance Proclamation, 31 TAC §§53.1 and 53.3, concerning License Issuance Procedures, Fees, Possession and Exemption Rules, and Other Recreational Hunting and Fishing License, Stamps, and Tags as published in the April 28, 2000 issue of the Texas Register (25 TexReg 3693-3695)."

Attachments – 3

1. Exhibit A – Amendment to 31 TAC §57.135
3. Exhibit B – Fiscal Note (Available upon request)


Commission Agenda Item No. 4
Exhibit A

Finance Proclamation
Reciprocal Licenses and Saltwater Stamp Fees
Proposed Preamble

1. Introduction.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proposes amendments to §53.1 and §53.3, concerning fishing license fees and exemptions, and saltwater stamp fees. The amendment would rescind recent changes to reciprocal license agreements with Louisiana and Oklahoma, and increase the fee for the saltwater sportfishing stamp. The amendment is necessary to reestablish reciprocal license agreements with surrounding states, and to accelerate the department's commercial fishing license buy-back programs for shrimp, crab, and finfish. The amendment would function by allowing seniors from Louisiana and Oklahoma to fish in Texas without a non-resident license if these two states enter into an agreement to provide the same privilege to Texas seniors who are 65 years of age or older, and by adding a $3.00 surcharge to the saltwater sportfishing stamp fee.

2. Fiscal Note

Jayna Burgdorf, director of special projects, has determined that for each of the first five years that the amendment as proposed is in effect, there will be minimal fiscal implications to the department. There will be no fiscal implications to other units of state or local governments as a result of enforcing or administering the amendment. The department may lose a minimal amount of revenue derived from current sales of non-resident licenses to seniors from Oklahoma and Louisiana; however, this funding stream has been available in only the current fiscal year. Proposed changes will return the department to the funding situation that existed prior to the current fiscal year when no license revenue was derived from seniors from these two states. With respect to the proposed increase in the saltwater sportfishing stamp fee, the department estimates that sales of the stamp will decline by no more than 6%, if at all, in FY 2001, and should remain constant or increase in FY 2002-2005. Therefore, the department estimates a revenue increase of approximately $1.2 million in FY 2001, which should remain constant or increase in FY2002-FY2005.

3. Cost Benefit Analysis.

(A) The public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing the rule as proposed will be that Texas seniors will not be charged for fishing public waters in Louisiana and Oklahoma, and that the department's commercial license buy-back program, which aims to reduce commercial fishing pressure on shrimp, crab, and finfish in order to manage and conserve those resources, will be better funded, resulting in greater recreational opportunity and healthier natural resources for the citizenry.

(B) There will be no effect on small businesses or micro-businesses. There will be a cost to persons required to comply with the rule as proposed, namely, the $3 increase in the cost of a saltwater sportfishing stamp for persons who fish in the salt water of this state.

(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.

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 Comment.

Comments on the proposed rules may be submitted to Ken Kurzawski (reciprocal licenses; (512) 389-4591) or Paul Hammerschmidt (saltwater sportfishing stamp; (512) 389-4650), or by writing to either gentleman at Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas 78744; or 1-800-792-1112.

5. Statutory Authority.

The amendment is proposed under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 41, which authorizes the commission to negotiate with other states to provide reciprocal hunting and fishing privileges; Chapter 43, Subchapter M, which authorizes the commission to set the fee for the saltwater sportfishing stamp; and Chapter 46, Subchapter A, which provides the Commission with authority to waive or lower fishing license fees.

The proposed amendment affects Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapters 41, 43, and 46.

§53.1. License Issuance Procedures, Fees, Possession and Exemption Rules.

(a)-(c) (No change.)

(d) The following categories of persons are exempt from fishing license requirements and fees for the license years beginning September 1, 2000 [1999], and thereafter:

(1) –(2) (No change.)

(3) residents of Louisiana who are 65 years of age or older [whose birthdate is before September 1, 1930 and whose state of residence enters into a reciprocal agreement with Texas];

(4) residents of Oklahoma who are 64 years of age or older;

(5) [(4)] residents whose birth date is before September 1, 1930;

(6) [(5)] persons who hold valid Louisiana non-resident fishing licenses while fishing on all waters inland from a line across Sabine Pass between Texas Point and Louisiana Point that form a common boundary between Texas and Louisiana if the State of Louisiana allows a reciprocal privilege to persons who hold valid Texas annual or temporary non-resident fishing licenses; and

(7) [(6)] residents of Louisiana who meet the licensing requirements of their state while fishing on all waters inland from a line across Sabine Pass between Texas Point and Louisiana Point that form a common boundary between Texas and Louisiana if the State of Louisiana allows a reciprocal privilege to Texas residents who hold valid Texas fishing licenses.

(e) (No change.)

§ 53.3. Other Recreational Hunting and Fishing Licenses, Stamps, and Tags

(a)-(c) (No change.)

(d) Fishing licenses. The following license fee amounts are effective for the license year beginning September 1, 2000 [1999] and thereafter:

(1)-(2) (No change.)

(3) special resident fishing (type 203)—$6.00[. Nonresidents who are 65 years of age or older and whose state of residence enters into a reciprocal agreement with Texas are designated as residents and may purchase a special resident fishing license];

(4)-(9) (No change.)

(e) Fishing stamps. The following stamp fee amounts are effective for the license year beginning September 1, 2000 [1996], and thereafter:

(1) saltwater sportfishing (type 211)—$7.00; [and]

(2) saltwater sportfishing stamp surcharge, to be effective until September 1, 2005 - $3.00; and

(3) [(2)] freshwater trout (type 212)—$7.00.

(f) –(g) (No change.)

This agency hereby certifies that the proposal has been reviewed by legal counsel and found to be a valid exercise of the agency's authority.

Issued in Austin, Texas on


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