Presenter: Steve Hall

Commission Agenda Item No. 12
Action
Hunter Education Plan
Hunter Education Student Fee Increase
January 2006

I. Executive Summary: The current hunter education student fee is $10.00 that was established in 1995. The proposed fee is $15.00 to offset costs of enhancing hunter education delivery methods and to defray increases in volunteer out-of-pocket expenses such as travel (fuel) and training aids.

II. Discussion: To follow-up on the success of Hunter Education Deferral Program (adult recruitment method), staff plans to develop a tool to increase convenience of coursework – namely the time it takes to complete the hands-on training and the frequency of courses offered, especially in urban areas. As part of developing and maintaining a more convenient hunter education course option in Texas, staff proposes to raise the hunter education student fee from $10.00, to $15.00 – the cap allowed by statute (Section 62.014 Parks and Wildlife Code). The new fee structure will enhance the current delivery systems offered by volunteers and teachers, allowing them to recover more of their out-of-pocket expenses such as rising fuel costs, equipment and training aids. (See Exhibit A, Hunter Education Fees - Proposed Preamble.)

The proposal was published in the December 23, 2005 issue of the Texas Register for public comment (30 TexReg 8628).

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

"The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission approves the new hunter education student fee of $15.00, effective June 1, 2006."

Attachments - 1

  1. Exhibit A - Hunter Education Fees - Proposed Preamble

Commission Agenda Item No. 12
Exhibit A

Hunter Education - Fees
Proposal Preamble

1. Introduction.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) proposes an amendment to §53.50, concerning Training and Certification Fees. The amendment would increase the fee for attending a hunter education class from $10 to $15. The amendment is necessary to maximize instructor recruitment efforts by increasing the monetary incentive for persons to become hunter education instructors. Under Parks and Wildlife Code, §62.014, the commission by rule may establish a procedure to allow a volunteer hunter education instructor to retain an amount from the fees collected by the instructor to cover the instructor's actual and necessary out-of-pocket expenses. Under current rule, an instructor is authorized to retain $5, which has been in effect since 1995. The department has determined that economic factors have affected the out-of-pocket expenses incurred by volunteer instructors over the last 10 years, and that it is appropriate to increase the amount retained by volunteer instructors. Volunteer instructors are critical to the viability of the hunter education program. Last year, approximately 2,500 volunteers provided hunter education training to 33,000 persons in Texas.

2. Fiscal Note.

Robert Macdonald, regulations coordinator, has determined that for each of the first five years that the rule as proposed is in effect, there will be no fiscal implications to state or local governments as a result of enforcing or administering the rule, since the entirety of the additional revenue generated by the fee increase will be retained by private citizens who volunteer to be hunter education instructors.

3. Public Benefit/Cost Note.

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

(A) The public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing or administering the rule as proposed will be the safety of the hunting and non-hunting public, via the recruitment of competent persons to instruct hunters in the safe handling and use of firearms, archery equipment, and crossbows.

(B) There will be no adverse economic effect on small businesses or microbusinesses required to comply with the rule as proposed, as no small businesses or microbusinesses are affected by the rule. There will be an economic cost to persons required to comply with the rule as proposed, namely, the $15 fee for obtaining hunter education certification.

(C) The department has not drafted a local employment impact statement under the Administrative Procedures Act, §2001.022, as the 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 real property, as defined by Government Code, Chapter 2007, as a result of the proposed rule.

4. Request for Public Comment.

Comments on the proposed rule may be submitted to Steve Hall, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas, 78744; (512) 389-4568 (e-mail: steve.hall@tpwd.state.tx.us).

5. Statutory Authority.

The amendment is proposed under Parks and Wildlife Code, §62.014, which authorizes the commission to establish a fee not to exceed $15 to defray the costs of administering a hunter education program and to establish a procedure to allow a volunteer instructor to retain an amount from the fees collected by a volunteer hunter education to cover actual and necessary out-of-pocket expenses.

The proposed amendment affects Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 62.

§53.50. Training and Certification Fees.

(a) Marine safety enforcement training and certification fees.

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

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

(b) Hunter education fees.

(1) The registration fee for a hunter education course is $15[$10], of which $10[$5] may be directly retained by a volunteer instructor.

(2) The fee for a deferred hunter education option is $10; however, at the time a person who has used a deferred hunter education option chooses to enroll in a hunter education course, that person shall pay a $5 registration fee to be directly retained by the volunteer instructor.

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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