Presenter: Frances Stiles

Commission Agenda Item No. 4
Action
Repeal of Fee for Proof of Ownership
of Boats and Motors
April 5, 2007

I. Executive Summary: This item provides the Commission the opportunity to review and approve the revision to the Texas Administrative Code, Title 31, Part 2, Chapter 53, Subchapter A, Division 1, Rule 53.16 to remove the $2.00 fee for current vessel or outboard motor ownership information reports in order to proceed with development and implementation of internet online services.

II. Discussion: Access to Boat/Outboard Motor Ownership Information
Chapter 31.039 of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Code states, "(a) All ownership records of the department made or kept under this chapter are public records. (b) The commission may by rule charge a fee for access to ownership records and other records made or kept under this chapter."

It is recommended to offer boat and outboard motor current owner of record reports at no cost through the internet when the agency implements boat registration renewals online.

In order to proceed with this implementation, it has been determined that the functionality of the new boat system has streamlined the ownership report process and TPWD will have no direct costs except for the costs of charging the customer (approximately $1 per transaction after TPWD incurs the cost of programming a link to e-pay). Therefore, we are recommending providing the current owner of record report for free to all customers. The methods used for information searches would be limited to search by (1) the vessel or outboard motor serial number or (2) the assigned TX number. By restricting the search query fields, the possibility of misuse of information will be minimized.

Currently this type of service is available through the internet for those vessels documented with the United States Coast Guard at no cost through various web sites. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is currently planning the next system implementation for vehicle information and, following the lead of TPWD, intend to offer this type of service through their internet sites.

TPWD Program Revenue and Expense
FY 06 Quantities FY 06 Revenue
Ownership Report Requests 6,400 $12,800
Projected Online Fee Collection Costs $1 per report $6,400
Proposed Loss of Revenue $6,400

III. Recommendation: The staff recommends the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission approve proposed rule revision published in the Texas Register, February 23, 2007, Volume 32, Number 8, Pages 677-996.

Attachments – 1

  1. Exhibit A – Texas Register Text

Commission Agenda Item No. 4
Exhibit A

Texas Register
February 23, 2007
Volume 32 Number 8
Pages 677-996

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Finance, License, Permit, and Boat and Motor Fees
31 TAC §53.16
Subchapter A. Fees
1. License, Permit, and Boat and Motor Fees
31 TAC §53.16

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (department) proposes an amendment to §53.16, concerning Vessel, Motor, and Marine Licensing Fees. The proposed amendment would eliminate the current fee of $2 to obtain a record of boat or motor ownership.

Under current rule, record information concerning ownership of a boat or motor is obtainable for a fee of $2 per record. The current fee was promulgated to allow the department to recoup the administrative expenses incurred in retrieving and verifying information; however, the introduction of the department's automated Boat Registration Information and Titling System (BRITS), has reduced the cost of accessing records to the extent that the fee is no longer necessary.

Ms. Frances Stiles, Assistant Director of Revenue, has determined that, for each of the first five years that the rule as proposed is in effect, there will be minimal fiscal implications to state government as a result of enforcing or administering the rule. Although the department has implemented an automated system that will handle the majority of the workload, there will be an occasional need to manually process a request for ownership records. The department will absorb such costs using existing personnel, resulting in no net cost to the state.

Ms. Stiles also has determined that, for each of the first five years the rule as proposed is in effect, the public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing or administering the rule as proposed will be economical access to records maintained by the department.

There will be no adverse economic effects on small businesses, microbusinesses, or persons required to comply with the amendment as proposed.

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.

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.

Comments on the proposed rule may be submitted to Frances Stiles, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas 78744; (512) 389-4860 (e-mail: frances.stiles@tpwd.state.tx.us).

The amendments are proposed under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, §31.039, which authorizes the commission to promulgate rules to charge fee for access to ownership records and other records made or kept under Chapter 31.

The proposed amendment affects Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 31.

§53.16.Vessel, Motor, and Marine Licensing Fees.

(a) - (d) (No change.)

(e) Report fees:

[ (1) current owner of record report for vessel or outboard motor--$2;]

(1) [ (2) ] certified history report of ownership for vessel or outboard motor--$10;

(2) [ (3) ] accident/water fatality report up to five pages in length--$5; and

(3) [ (4) ] accident/water fatality report over five pages in length--$10.

This agency hereby certifies that the proposal has been reviewed by legal counsel and found to be within the agency's legal authority to adopt.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on February 12, 2007.

TRD-200700432

Ann Bright

General Counsel

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Earliest possible date of adoption: March 25, 2007

For further information, please call: (512) 389-4775


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