Presenter: Kim Dudish

Commission Agenda Item No. 2
Action
License Fee and Structure Changes
April 5, 2007

I. Executive Summary: This item provides the Commission the opportunity to review and approve the proposed amendments to Title 31, Texas Administrative Code Chapter 53 regarding various licenses, permits and tags as it relates to the recommendations of the License Reassessment Team for changing various licenses in the Point-of-Sale System catalogue.

II. Discussion: The proposed recommendations of the License Reassessment Team were published in the February 23, 2007 issue of the Texas Register (32 TexReg 726-731). Staff will present a summary of the public comment at the time of the meeting. The recommended changes as published (Exhibit A) are as follows:

  1. Resident and Nonresident Commercial Fishing Boat Licenses: Create one Commercial Fishing Boat License which will authorize the current activities of the two licenses in a single license; charge a fee of $25 for the new license. These licenses are currently required of each boat that must be registered under federal or state laws and is used in taking aquatic products except menhaden, finfish, oysters crabs and shrimp from the public waters of the state or for boats unloading within the state such products taken outside the states waters for pay, barter, sale, exchange or any commercial purpose. Few nonresident licenses are sold. The merger will simplify license administration for both staff and customer. There are no resource and/or management issues to making this change.
  2. Resident and Nonresident Freshwater Fishing Guide Licenses: Create one Freshwater Fishing Guide License, which will authorize activities of the two licenses in a single license and retain the fee of $125 for the new license. These licenses are currently required for individuals who operate a boat for anything of value in transporting or accompanying anyone who is fishing in freshwater of this state. The price of each current license is $125. The merger will simplify license administration for both staff and customer. There are no resource and/or management issues to making this change.
  3. Resident and Nonresident Saltwater Fishing Guide Licenses: Rename the licenses as Resident and Nonresident All-Water Fishing Guide Licenses, respectively. The new name more accurately describes the authorized activities of these licenses. They are required for individuals who operate a boat for anything of value in transporting or accompanying anyone who is fishing in freshwater and saltwater of this state.
  4. Special Resident Fishing License Package: Separate the authorized activities of this license into two separate licenses. First, rename the current license as a "Senior Resident Fishing License Package" which will allow only Senior Citizens to fish in freshwater and saltwater in this state at a fee of $6. Second, create a new "Special Resident Fishing License" which will be available only to individuals who are legally blind and assess a fee of $6, authorizing those individuals to fish in the freshwater and saltwater of this state. In addition, establish an exemption for, or waive the freshwater stamp and saltwater stamp requirements for the new "Special Resident Fishing License." There are no resource or management issues in having this license. Establishing these two licenses will provide the agency with better demographic and effort data between the two groups. There are no resource or management issues in having this license.
  5. Resident July-August Fishing License Packages (Freshwater; Saltwater; and All Water): Repeal these licenses. They currently allow individuals to fish in the freshwater and saltwater of this state during the months of July and August only. These licenses create considerable confusion for the customer and complicate the Point-of-Sale system. There are no resource or management issues to discontinuing these licenses.
  6. Resident Day Plus Fishing Package and Resident Day Plus Fishing Package Repurchase (Freshwater; Saltwater; and All Water): Repeal all variations of the Resident Day Plus Fishing Package and the Resident Day Plus Fishing Package Repurchase EXCEPT the Resident Day Plus Fishing Package for All Water. Rename this license as "Resident One-Day All Water Fishing License" and assess a fee of $10. Additionally, create an exemption or waive the freshwater stamp and saltwater stamp requirements. One red drum tag shall be available at no additional charge with the purchase of the first one-day license only. Currently anglers may purchase as many one-day licenses as they wish to fish either freshwater, saltwater or all waters but they are required to also purchase the appropriate freshwater or saltwater stamps the first time they purchase a day plus fishing package. These licenses create considerable confusion for the customer and complicate the Point-of-Sale system. There are no resource or management issues to creating a single license.
  7. Nonresident Day Plus Fishing Package and Nonresident Day Plus Fishing Package Repurchase (Freshwater; Saltwater; and All Water): Repeal all variations of the Nonresident Day Plus Fishing Package and the Nonresident Day Plus Fishing Package Repurchase EXCEPT the Nonresident Day Plus Fishing Package for All Water. Rename this license as "Nonresident One-Day All Water Fishing License" and assess a fee of $15. Additionally, create an exemption or waive the freshwater stamp and saltwater stamp requirements. One red drum tag shall be available at no additional charge with the purchase of the first one-day license only. Currently anglers may purchase as many one-day licenses as they wish to fish either freshwater, saltwater or all waters but they are required to also purchase the appropriate freshwater or saltwater stamps the first time they purchase a day plus fishing package. These licenses create considerable confusion for the customer and complicate the Point-of-Sale system. There are no resource or management issues to creating a single license.
  8. Bonus Red Drum Tag: Establish the Bonus Red Drum Tag as a stand-alone sales item for a fee of $3; this allows all saltwater anglers to obtain a second tag authorizing the harvest of a second oversize red drum. Allow only one Bonus Red Drum Tag to be issued to any individual per license year. There are no resource or management issues to establishing this tag as a stand-alone tag.
  9. Special Resident Hunting License: Separate the authorized activities of this license into two separate licenses. Name one as a "Senior Resident Hunting License" which will allow only Senior Citizens to hunt in this state at a fee of $6. Then create a new "Youth Hunting License" which will allow resident and nonresident youth under 17 years of age to hunt in Texas at a fee of $6. Establishing these two licenses will provide better demographic and effort data between the two groups.
  10. One-Day Fishing License Red Drum Tag: Create a separate One-Day Fishing License Red Drum Tag for a Resident One-Day All Water Fishing License and a Nonresident One-Day All Water Fishing License holder. If the angler desires a second tag, he/she must purchase a Bonus Red Drum Tag. The Point-of-Sale system is programmed so that each type of red drum tag is uniquely tied to the respective licenses in order to accurately identify anglers who have received their first red drum tag. This new tag, therefore, is necessary for the Point-of-Sale system to identify purchasers of One-Day licenses so as to limit them to two red drum tags.

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

"The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts the License Fee and Structure Changes to 31 TAC Chapter 53 as published in the February 23, 2007, issue of the Texas Register, (32 TexReg 726-731) (Exhibit A)."

Attachments – 1

  1. Exhibit A – Texas Register Text

Commission Agenda Item No. 2
Exhibit A

Texas Register
February 23, 2007
Volume 32 Number 8
Pages 726-731

Title 31. Natural Resources and Conservation
Part 2. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Chapter 53. Finance

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (department) proposes amendments to §§53.2, 53.5, 53.6, 53.12, and 53.13, concerning License Fees and Boat and Motor Fees, and §53.60 concerning Stamps. The proposed amendments are part of an overall department initiative to reduce the number of types of licenses sold by the department. By combining or replacing certain licenses and license packages and eliminating others that are not popular, the department will reduce administrative costs and regulatory complexity while still offering a variety of licenses to meet the various types of recreational demand.

The proposed amendment to §53.2, concerning License Issuance Procedures, Fees, Possession and Exemption Rules, would add a new paragraph (4) to subsection (a) to stipulate that persons under the age of 17 are considered to be residents for the purposes of the chapter. Under Parks and Wildlife Code, §42.001, the commission is authorized to designate categories of individual as residents. The proposed amendment to subsection (b)(2) would alter the license possession requirements to acknowledge that, due to the implementation of the one-day fishing package (which includes the saltwater stamp), the stamp requirement is no longer universal.

The proposed amendment to §53.5, concerning Recreational Hunting Licenses, Stamps, and Tags, would rename the Special Resident Hunting License to the Senior Resident Hunting License, restrict its use to residents who are 65 years of age or older, and create an additional license that is limited to persons under the age of 17. Under current rule, the Special Resident Hunting License is available to residents over the age of 65 and any person under 17 years of age, regardless of residency status. The department wishes to be able to more accurately track demographic trends in purchasing and use, which makes it necessary to stratify the two age groups currently eligible to purchase the special resident license. The price of the licenses would remain unchanged.

The proposed amendment to §53.6, concerning Recreational Fishing Licenses, Stamps, and Tags, would allow persons who are legally blind to be eligible to purchase the Special Resident Fishing License. The proposed amendment also would create a Senior Resident Fishing License for residents who are 65 years of age or older; create a Resident One-Day All-Water Fishing License ($10 fee), a Nonresident One-Day All-Water Fishing License ($15 fee), rename the special license packages as senior license packages, and would implement a fee of $3 for the Bonus Red Drum Tag.

Under Parks and Wildlife Code, §46.004, the commission may establish a lower fee or waive the fee or license requirement for a resident who is blind as defined by Human Resources Code, §94.001. The department has always allowed legally blind persons to purchase a fishing license at a reduced cost; however, this has never been explicitly stated by rule. The proposed amendment would accomplish that. The One-Day All-Water license is intended to replace a variety of licenses. To that end, the proposed amendment to subsection (c) would also eliminate the following licenses: July and August Resident Fishing, Day Resident Fishing, and Day Nonresident Fishing; and the following license packages: July and August Resident Fishing (freshwater, saltwater, all water) and both the resident and nonresident "Day Plus" Fishing (freshwater, saltwater, all water). The implementation of a fee for the bonus red drum tag is necessary for the department to recoup the administrative cost of providing anglers with the opportunity to take a red drum in addition to the red drum allowed under a fishing license. The proposed amendment also would eliminate obsolete references to effective dates and make additional nonsubstantive changes to simplify and clarify the regulations.

The proposed amendment to §53.12, concerning Commercial Fishing Licenses and Tags, would eliminate both the Resident and Nonresident Commercial Fishing Boat License and create a single license for residents and nonresidents alike, which would be called the Commercial Fishing Boat License; and the new license would be required for any boat (resident or nonresident) used in taking aquatic products (except menhaden, oysters, crabs, and shrimp) from state waters or unloading aquatic products in Texas taken from outside state waters for commercial purposes. By combining the two licenses, the department will reduce administrative costs by issuing one license instead of two. The fee for the license would be $25, which represents the value the license would have to be sold at in order for the department to realize revenue equivalent to current revenue from the sale of resident ($18) and nonresident ($72) licenses. The proposed amendment also would eliminate obsolete references to effective dates and make additional nonsubstantive changes to simplify and clarify the regulations.

The proposed amendment to §53.13, concerning Business Licenses and Permits (Fishing) renames the Resident Freshwater Fishing Guide license as the Freshwater Fishing Guide license, renames the Resident Fishing Guide license as the Resident All-Water Fishing Guide license, and renames the Nonresident Fishing Guide license as the Nonresident All-Water Fishing Guide license. The proposed amendment is nonsubstantive. The proposed amendment also would eliminate obsolete references to effective dates and make additional nonsubstantive changes to simplify and clarify the regulations.

The proposed amendment to §53.60, concerning Stamps, would create an exemption from the stamp requirements for purchasers of the Special Fishing License, Resident One-Day All-Water Fishing License, and the Nonresident One-Day All-Water Fishing License.

The amendments are necessary because the department has determined the proposed modifications will streamline the department licensing system, make the system simpler for license purchasers, and provide better use and harvest data from various user groups.

Paul Hammerschmidt, Coastal Fisheries Division Director of Strategic Planning, has determined that, for each of the first five years that the rules as proposed are in effect, there will be no fiscal implications to state or local governments as a result of enforcing or administering the rules, as the proposed amendments are revenue neutral to the department and do not affect any other units of state or local government.

The proposed amendment to §53.12 would combine the resident and nonresident commercial fishing boat licenses ($18 and $72, respectively) into a single license with a fee of $25. The $25 fee for the new license was selected because it is the value that will yield approximately the same revenue as was realized from the combined sales of the resident and nonresident licenses in Fiscal Year 2006.

The proposed amendment to §53.6 would impose a $3 fee for a bonus red drum tag. The $3 fee was selected because it represents the value needed to recoup the department's administrative costs in providing the bonus tag. The department incurs a cost of $.76 per transaction involving the department's point-of-sale system, plus the administrative cost of processing, recording, and completing the transaction. The department issued 5,482 bonus red drum tags in Fiscal Year 2006 at an estimated cost of approximately $16,000. The implementation of the $3 fee is expected to result in approximately $16,446 of revenue in Fiscal Year 2007 and thereafter, based on 2006 sales.

Mr. Hammerschmidt has also determined that, for each of the first five years the rules as proposed are in effect, the public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing or administering the rules as proposed will be the simplification of the department's licensing system, the enhancement of the department's ability to maintain current levels of service to its customers and constituents, and the continued ability of the department to adequately discharge its statutory obligations.

Most of the license and permit changes addressed in the proposed amendments constitute no changes in license fees and will have no direct impact on persons required to comply or to small or microbusinesses, except as follows.

The proposed amendment to §53.12, if adopted, will impose a direct cost on businesses. The proposed amendment would combine the resident and nonresident commercial fishing boat licenses ($18 and $72, respectively) into a single license with a fee of $25, which would be a $7 increase for commercial fishing boat license holders who are Texas residents. Some of the businesses affected will be small or microbusinesses; however, there is no difference in the cost of compliance between a large and small business as a result of the proposed amendments. Likewise, there is no disproportionate economic impact on small or microbusinesses.

The proposed amendment to §53.6, if adopted, would also impose a direct cost to persons required to comply and to small and microbusinesses. The proposed amendment would impose a $3 fee for a bonus red drum tag. Some of the businesses affected will be small or microbusinesses; however, there is no difference in the cost of compliance between a large and small business as a result of the proposed amendment. Likewise, there is no disproportionate economic impact on small or microbusinesses. TPWD is not aware of a performance-oriented, voluntary, or market-based approach that would substitute for the proposed amendment.

The department does not require persons who purchase licenses or permits to supply detailed information as to the nature or scope of any commercial enterprise in which the license or permit is to be used. The department does not believe, however, that there are many, if any, businesses employing more than 100 persons that will be affected by the proposed rules. Therefore, the department has used the cost-per-employee method for comparing the cost of compliance for small businesses to the cost of compliance for the largest businesses affected by the proposed rules.

For commercial fishing boat licenses, the proposed fee increase would impose a maximum per-employee cost ranging from $7 for a business employing one person to $.07 for a business employing 100 people. For microbusinesses, the maximum per-employee cost would range from $7 for one employee to $.35 for 20 employees. For large businesses, the minimum per-employee cost would be fractions of a dollar lower than the maximum cost of compliance for a small business. TPWD is not aware of a performance-oriented, voluntary, or market-based approach that would substitute for the proposed amendment.

For bonus red drum tags, the proposed fee increase would impose a maximum of $3 for a business employing one person to $.03 for a business employing 100 people. For microbusinesses, the maximum per-employee cost would range from $3 for one employee to $.15 for 20 employees. For large businesses, the minimum per-employee cost would be fractions of a dollar lower than the maximum cost of compliance for a small business. TPWD is not aware of a performance-oriented, voluntary, or market-based approach that would substitute for the proposed amendment.

The department has not drafted a local employment impact statement under the Administrative Procedures Act, §2001.022, as the 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 in Government Code, Chapter 2007, as a result of the proposed rules.

Comments on the proposed rules may be submitted by phone, written correspondence or e-mail to Paul Hammerschmidt (512) 389-4650 or Ms. Kim Dudish (512) 389-4675; Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas 78744; or 1-800-792-1112.


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