Presenter: Ann Bright

Commission Agenda Item No. 15
Action
Advisory Committee Rule Amendments
January 2006

I. Executive Summary: Chapter 2110 of the Texas Government Code requires that rules be adopted regarding each agency advisory committee. Staff is recommending the adoption of a rule establishing the Big Bend Ranch State Park Task Force. Also, the Administrative Procedure Act (Chapter 2001, Texas Government Code) authorizes a state agency to seek input and opinions from various groups regarding rulemaking. Staff is recommending the adoption of a rule amendment clarifying the authority of the Executive Director to seek input and opinions from groups in connection with rulemaking matters.

II. Discussion: The Texas Government Code requires that a state agency adopt rules regarding each agency advisory committee. The rules must then state and describe the purpose of each committee, the manner in which the committee will report to the agency, and the date on which the committee will be abolished. Advisory committees may have no more than 24 members, must have balanced membership representation and must be annually evaluated. Effective September 28, 2005, the Commission adopted rules governing agency advisory committees. Staff recommends the adoption of a rule establishing the Big Bend Ranch State Park Task Force consisting of members of the public, representatives of governmental bodies and representatives of non-governmental organizations that have an interest in issues affecting Big Bend Ranch State Park. The Big Bend Ranch State Park Task Force will be subject to agency rules regarding advisory committees.

The Administrative Procedure Act authorizes a state agency to “use an informal conference or consultation to obtain the opinions and advice of interested persons” and to “appoint committees of experts or interested persons or representatives of the public” in an effort to obtain advice about anticipated rulemaking. Tex. Gov't Code §2001.031. Periodically, rulemaking issues arise about which department staff would benefit from advice and opinions from interested and knowledgeable persons. Therefore, the department proposes amending the advisory committee rules to clearly authorize the executive director to appoint ad hoc advisory committees to advise staff regarding rulemaking actions. Such committees would continue for no longer than one year, unless reappointed.

III. Recommendation: Staff recommends that the Commission adopt the following motion:

“The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts amendments to 31 Tex. Admin. Code §51.601 and §51.644 as published in the December 23, 2005, issue of the Texas Register (30 Tex. Reg. 8624).”

Attachments - 1

  1. Exhibit A - Proposed Advisory Committee Rules

Commission Agenda Item No. 15
Exhibit A

Advisory Committee Rule Amendments
Proposal Preamble

1. Introduction.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (the department) proposes an amendment to §51.601, concerning General Provisions, and new §51.644, concerning the Big Bend Ranch State Park Task Force.

The amendment to §51.601 is necessary to allow department staff to informally consult with groups of experts and interested persons regarding contemplated rulemaking actions. The Administrative Procedure Act authorizes a state agency to “use an informal conference or consultation to obtain the opinions and advice of interested persons” and to “appoint committees of experts or interested persons or representatives of the public” in an effort to obtain advice about anticipated rulemaking. Tex. Gov't Code §2001.031. Periodically, rulemaking issues arise about which department staff would benefit from advice and opinions from interested and knowledgeable persons. Therefore, the department proposes adding subsection (m) to §51.601 to authorize the executive director of the department to appoint ad hoc advisory committees to advise department staff regarding rulemaking actions. Such committees would continue for no longer than one year, unless reappointed.

Proposed new §51.644 is necessary to implement the requirements of Government Code, Chapter 2110, and Parks and Wildlife Code, §11.0162. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Code authorizes the Chairman of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (the commission) to appoint advisory committees and to “adopt rules that set the membership, terms of service, qualifications, operating procedures, and other standards to ensure the effectiveness of an advisory committee appointed under this section.” Tex. Parks & Wild. Code §11.0162. An advisory committee is a committee, council, commission, board, or task force or other entity with multiple members that has as its primary function advising a state agency in the executive branch of state government. Tex. Gov’t Code §2110.001.

The Texas Government Code, Chapter 2110, requires that a state agency adopt rules regarding each agency advisory committee. Unless otherwise provided by specific statute, the rules must (1) state the purpose of the committee; (2) describe the manner in which the committee will report to the agency; and (3) establish the date on which the committee will automatically be abolished, unless the advisory committee has a specific duration established by statute. Tex. Gov’t Code §§2110.005, 2110.008. Chapter 2110 also contains other requirements for advisory committees, such as annual evaluation, a limit of 24 members, balanced membership representation, selection of presiding officer by members, and four-year duration unless otherwise provided by rule. Tex. Gov’t Code §§2110.002, 2110.003, 2110.006, 2110.008.

Proposed new §51.644 would establish the Big Bend Ranch State Park Task Force to advise the department on issues relevant to Big Bend Ranch State Park. Effective September 28, 2005, the commission adopted rules addressing department advisory committees, including §51.601, which addressed membership and the expiration date of advisory committees. The proposed new Big Bend Ranch State Park Task Force would be subject to §51.601. Therefore, the proposed Big Bend Ranch State Park Task Force will have no more than 24 members and will expire on the fourth anniversary of its creation.

2. Fiscal Note.

Ann Bright, General Counsel, has determined that for each of the first five years the rules as proposed are in effect, there will be no fiscal implications to state or local government as a result of enforcing or administering the rules, except for incidental administrative costs associated with scheduling and preparing for task force meetings.

3. Public Benefit/Cost Note.

Ms. Bright has also 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 or administering the rules as proposed will be to ensure proper management and effective use of department advisory committees; to ensure that department staff obtain knowledgeable and relevant input regarding contemplated rulemaking actions; and to ensure public participation in issues involving Big Bend Ranch State Park.

(B) The proposed rules will result in no adverse economic effects to small or micro businesses.

(C) 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 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.

(E) The department has determined that Government Code, §2001.0225 (Regulatory Analysis of Major Environmental Rules) does not apply to the proposed rules.

4. Request for Public Comment.

Comments on the proposed rules may be submitted by phone, written correspondence or e-mail to Ann Bright, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas 78744; (512) 389-8558; or ann.bright@tpwd.state.tx.us.

5. Statutory Authority.

The amendment is proposed under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, §11.0162 and Government Code, §§2110.005 and 2110.008.

The proposed amendment affects Parks and Wildlife Code, §11.0162.

§51.601. General Requirements.

(a) Definitions. The following words and terms, when used in this subchapter, shall have the following meaning, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

(1) Advisory committee—a committee, council, commission, board, or task force or other entity with multiple members that has as its primary function advising the department.

(2) Chairman—the chairman of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.

(3) Commission—the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.

(4) Department—the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

(5) Director—the Executive Director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

(b) Creation. The Chairman may appoint advisory committees to advise the commission on issues within the jurisdiction of the department or the commission.

(c) Function. Unless otherwise provided by law, an advisory committee will address only those matters about which advice is sought. An advisory committee will have no authority to establish agency policy.

(d) Expiration of advisory committee. Unless expressly provided in this subchapter or other law, each department advisory committee will expire on the fourth anniversary of the date of its creation. The date of creation shall be the date on which the rule establishing the advisory committee is effective.

(e) Membership. The chairman may, in his or her sole discretion, appoint individuals to serve on an advisory committee. Membership in an advisory committee will not exceed 24 (excluding ex officio members). Unless otherwise provided by specific statute, membership of each advisory committee shall be balanced to ensure representation of industries or occupations regulated or directly affected by the department and consumers of services provided by the department or by the industries or occupations regulated by the department to which the advisory committee relates. Each advisory committee shall include at least one department employee as an ex officio member. Members may be subject to removal and/or replacement at the discretion of the Chairman.

(f) Term of members. Unless expressly provided in this subchapter or other law, each member to an agency advisory committee will serve a term of four years. The terms may be staggered. Members' terms will expire at the end of four years or upon the termination of the advisory committee, whichever is earlier. Members may be reappointed. Members serve at the will of the chairman and may be removed at any time by the chairman. The terms of members appointed prior to September 1, 2005, expire on September 1, 2005.

(g) Presiding officer. The presiding officer of each advisory committee shall be selected by the members of the advisory committee from its membership. The chairman may make a recommendation to the advisory committee regarding the presiding officer.

(h) Subcommittees. The chairman may also appoint one or more subcommittees of an advisory committee, so long as the membership of the advisory committee, including any subcommittees does not exceed 24.

(i) Meetings. Each committee shall meet at least once a year, but may meet as often as necessary. The department ex officio member of each advisory committee shall work with the presiding officer to schedule advisory committee meetings and provide adequate notice to department staff and to other members.

(j) Reports. On or before October 1 of each year of its existence, each advisory committee shall submit a report to the department. Upon receipt of the report, the department shall evaluate the advisory committee's work, usefulness and costs related to the committee's existence, including the cost of agency staff time spent in support of the committee's activities. Each report shall included the following:

(1) a summary or minutes of meetings conducted during the previous fiscal year (September 1-August 30);

(2) a summary of recommendations from the advisory committee; and

(3) other information determined by the advisory committee or the chairman to be appropriate and useful.

(k) Expenses. Members of each advisory committee will serve without compensation or reimbursement for travel or other out-of-pocket expenses.

(l) Rules. For each advisory committee appointed, the commission shall adopt rules that address the purpose of the advisory committee and membership qualifications. Such rules may also address the terms of service, operating procedures, and other standards to ensure the effectiveness of an advisory committee appointed under this subchapter.

(m) Rulemaking Committees. Notwithstanding other provisions of this subchapter, as authorized by §2001.031, Texas Government Code, (the Administrative Procedure Act), the Director may, from time to time, appoint ad hoc committees of experts or interested persons or representatives of the public to advise the Department about contemplated rulemaking. Members of such committees shall serve at the will of the Director and shall serve without compensation. Committees appointed under this subsection shall continue for no longer than one year, unless extended by the Director.

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

The new rule is proposed under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, §11.0162 and Government Code, §§2110.005 and 2110.008.

The proposed new rule affects Parks and Wildlife Code, §11.0162.

§51.644. Big Bend Ranch State Park Task Force.

(a) The Big Bend Ranch State Park Task Force is created to advise the department regarding issues related to Big Bend Ranch State Park.

(b) The Big Bend Ranch State Park Task Force shall consist of members of the public, representatives of governmental bodies and representatives of non-governmental organizations that have an interest in issues affecting Big Bend Ranch State Park.

(c) The Big Bend Ranch State Park Task Force shall comply with the requirements of §51.601 of this title (relating to General Requirements).

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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