Commission Agenda Item No. 13
Presenter:  Jeff Parrish

Action
Implementation of Legislation during the 82nd Legislative Session
House Bill 555 – Relating to Reportable Boating Accidents
August 25, 2011

I.              Executive Summary:  This item presents for adoption a proposed new rule establishing a dollar-value threshold for mandatory reporting of boating accidents in Texas.

II.            Discussion:  House Bill 555, enacted by the 82nd Texas Legislature, amended the Parks and Wildlife Code by amending §31.105 (a) to allow the commission to set the minimum dollar amount in damages for a reportable boating accident.  Prior to the enactment of HB 555, the minimum dollar amount was set by statute at $500, which is not consistent with the United Stated Coast Guard’s (USCG) $2,000 threshold.  TPWD currently is required to respond to and investigate accidents that are not reportable to the USCG.  Reporting boating accidents to the USCG is a requirement of the Memorandum of Agreement between the department and the USCG, and is necessary in order for the department to receive funding for water safety enforcement through the federal Recreational Boating Safety Grant program.

Staff was authorized at the May 2011, meeting of the Regulations Committee to publish proposed rules required or authorized by legislation enacted by the 82nd Legislature.  The proposed new rule was published in the July 22, 2011, issue of the Texas Register (36 TexReg 4635-4636).  Staff will present a summary of public comment at the time of the meeting.

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

“The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts new 31 TAC §55.850, concerning Mandatory Boating Incident Report, with changes as necessary to the proposed text as published in the July 22, 2011, issue of the Texas Register (36 TexReg 4635-4636)”.

            Attachments — 1

  1. Exhibit A – Propose Rules

Commission Agenda Item No. 13
Exhibit A

RULES REQUIRED OR AUTHORIZED BY LEGISLATION
HOUSE BILL 555 – BOATING INCIDENT REPORTING
PROPOSAL PREAMBLE

1. Introduction.

         The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proposes new §55.850, concerning Mandatory Boating Incident Reporting. The proposed new rule would require the operator of a vessel involved in a collision, accident, or other casualty that results in death or injury to a person or property damage of greater than $2,000 to report the incident to the department by no later than 30 days following the date the incident occurred.

         House Bill 555 (HB 555), enacted by the 82nd Texas  Legislature, Regular Session, 2011, amended Parks and Wildlife Code, §31.105 to require the operator of a vessel involved in a collision, accident, or other casualty that results in death or injury to a person or damage to property in excess of an amount set by the commission of not less than $2,000 to report to the department on or before the expiration of 30 days after the incident a full description of the collision, accident, or casualty. The proposed new rule would establish a property damage reporting threshold of $2,000 and implement regulations in compliance with the provisions of HB 555. The $2,000 threshold is used because it is also the current threshold for mandatory incident reporting adopted by the United States Coast Guard (USCG) under the provisions of 33 CFR §§173.53-55.

2. Fiscal Note.

         Mr. Jeff Parrish, Deputy Chief for Water Safety Enforcement, 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 and local governments as a result of enforcing or administering the rule.

3. Public Benefit/Cost Note.

         Mr. Parrish 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 clear instructions as to the circumstances under which certain boating accidents are required to be reported, by whom, to whom, and by what methods.

         (B) There will be no adverse economic effect on persons required to comply with the rule as proposed.

         (C) Under the provisions of Government Code, Chapter 2006, a state agency must prepare an economic impact statement and a regulatory flexibility analysis for a rule that may have an adverse economic effect affect on small businesses and micro-businesses. As required by Government Code, §2006.002(g), the Office of the Attorney General has prepared guidelines to assist state agencies in determining a proposed rule’s potential adverse economic impact on small businesses. Those guidelines state that an agency need only consider a proposed rule’s “direct adverse economic impacts” to small businesses and micro-businesses to determine if any further analysis is required. For that purpose, the department considers “direct economic impact” to mean a requirement that would directly impose recordkeeping or reporting requirements; impose taxes or fees; result in lost sales or profits; adversely affect market competition; or require the purchase or modification of equipment or services. Since the proposed rule does not affect small businesses or microbusinesses, the department has determined that the proposed new rule will not impose any direct adverse economic effects on small businesses or microbusinesses. Accordingly, the department has not prepared a regulatory flexibility analysis under Government Code, Chapter 2006.

         (D) 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.

         (E) 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 Jeff Parrish, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas, 78744; (512) 389-4628 (e-mail: jeff.parrish@tpwd.state.tx.us).

5. Statutory Authority.

         The new rule is proposed under the authority of House Bill 555, which requires the department to adopt rules required to implement Parks and Wildlife Code, §31.105(a), as amended, not later than December 1, 2011.

         The proposed new rule affects Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 31.

         §55.850. Mandatory Boating Incident Report. The operator of a vessel involved in a collision, accident, or other casualty that results in death or injury to a person or damage to property in excess of $2,000 shall report to the department on or before the expiration of 30 days after the incident a full description of the collision, accident, or casualty. The report required by this section may be in writing, by phone, by electronic mail, or via the department web site.

         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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