HBA-KDB H.B. 2244 77(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 2244 By: Bosse State Recreational Resources 3/21/2001 Introduced BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (department) was created in 1963 by merging the Game and Fish Commission with the State Parks Board. The department has two primary missions: to manage and protect the state's natural and cultural resources and to provide outdoor recreation opportunities for Texans. The department is subject to the Texas Sunset Act and will be abolished on September 1, 2001 unless continued by the legislature. As a result of its review of the department, the Sunset Advisory Commission recommends continuation of the department and several statutory modifications. House Bill 2244 provides for the continuation of the department, and contains the recommended modifications. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking authority is expressly delegated to Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission in SECTION 13 (Section 11.0161, Parks and Wildlife Code), SECTION 15 (Section 11.0182, Parks and Wildlife Code), and SECTION 24 (Sections 11.202, 11.203, and 11.205, Parks and Wildlife Code) of this bill. ANALYSIS House Bill 2244 amends the Parks and Wildlife Code to provide for the continuation of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (department) until September 1, 2013 (Sec. 11.0111). The bill sets forth standard Sunset Advisory Commission recommendations regarding policy implementation, public representation on the boards, conflicts of interest, equal employment, member removal, member training, designation of a presiding officer of the Parks and Wildlife Commission (commission) by the governor, maintaining of written complaints, standards of conduct, and development of an equal employment policy (Secs. 11.002, 11.0121,11.0126, 11.014, 11.0161, 11.021, and 11.022). The bill requires the commission, or any committee of the commission with at least five commission members serving on the committee, to provide an opportunity for public testimony in an open meeting before making a major decision (Sec. 11.0151). The bill requires the governor, in making appointments to the commission, to attempt to include persons with expertise in diverse cultural, including historical, and recreational fields (Sec. 11.012). The bill requires the executive director of the department (director) or the director's designee to provide to agency employees information and training on the benefits and methods of participation in the state employee incentive program (Sec. 11.0127). The bill authorizes the commission to adopt rules to define the types of complaints to which provisions relating to complaints and notification of commission activities apply (Sec. 11.0161). The bill prohibits the department from contracting with a person regarding a publication unless the the contract contains a provision that allows the department to terminate the contract. The bill requires the department, to the extent a contract for a publication does not expressly allow the department to terminate the contract, to negotiate a change to the contract or pursue all appropriate legal remedies to modify or terminate the contract and requires the department to attempt to fulfill its duties for any existing contracts no later than March 1, 2002 (Sec. 11.0172 and SECTION 42). The bill requires the commission by rule to adopt policies to govern fundraising activities by department employees on behalf of the department and sets forth provisions regarding the content of the rules. The bill requires the director to approve and manage fundraising activities by department employees on behalf of the department in accordance with commission rules (Sec. 11.0182). The bill requires the department to calculate the costs of each department construction project as the project is completed and consider both direct and indirect costs of department employees who perform project tasks. The bill authorizes the department to use the cost accounting procedures and instructions developed by the State Council on Competitive Government (council) and requires the council, on request, to provide technical assistance to the department. The bill requires the department, using the costs calculated for completed projects, to evaluate the costs and benefits of contracting with private entities or individuals to manage proposed construction related tasks or projects (Sec. 11.0255). The bill prohibits the department from accepting a gift or other donation from a business regulated by the department (Sec. 11.026). The bill authorizes a department employee to accept reimbursement for travel expenses from the nonprofit partner selected by the department if the employee has sufficiently documented the expense and the expense arose out of the performance of an activity related to an employee's official duties regarding the partner (Sec. 11.0261). The bill prohibits the department from accepting an advertisement for placement in a publication sponsored or published by the department, or from accepting a sponsorship or promotion of an event sponsored or conducted by the department, from an entity that engages in the sale of tobacco or alcoholic beverages (Sec. 11.0275). The bill requires the department to adopt a comprehensive approach to managing Texas' public resources by inventorying all historical, natural, recreational, wildlife resources owned by governmental agencies and nonprofit organizations that offer public access. The bill sets a moratorium on most acquisitions until the department completes this inventory. The bill specifies that the department use the inventory to develop a comprehensive statewide operational plan to guide the department's decisions on acquisition, divestiture, local park grants, and cooperation with private landowners, and requires the department to prepare the initial plan no later than February 2, 2002 (Secs. 11.101 - 11.105 and SECTIONS 40 and 41). The bill requires the department to improve its internal oversight of commercial ventures by developing a business plan and sets forth provisions relating to the department's statewide commercial projects (Secs. 11.151 - 11.156). The bill sets forth provisions relating to nonprofit partnerships with the department (Secs. 11.201 - 11.208). The bill requires the commission by rule to establish best practices with which nonprofit partners are to comply (Sec. 11.202). The bill requires the commission by rule to require a nonprofit partner to comply with specified state standards and safeguards for accounting for state assets held by the nonprofit partner (Sec. 11.203). The bill requires the commission by rule to establish guidelines under which the official nonprofit partner is authorized to solicit and accept sponsorships from private entities, and to establish best practices under which the partner is authorized to engage in activities (Sec. 11.205). The bill requires the department to study, identify, and develop a plan for each ecological area in which the state has critical conservation needs and requires the department to consider information contained in the statewide inventory in developing the plan. The department is required to use the plan to set priorities for requests for technical guidance. The bill requires the department to base a decision to provide guidance or money to a landowner on the plan and on natural, ecological boundaries rather than strictly defined property boundaries (Sec. 12.025). The bill prohibits the commission from classifying a historical site as a historical park (Sec. 13.001). The bill requires the department, before formulating a plan for the preservation and development of a historical site, to conduct an archeological survey of the site. The bill requires the department, in formulating plans, to consider the results from the archeological survey for the site if the plan is for a specific site, consider the resources necessary to manage a site, and meet with and consider comments made by the Texas Historical Commission (historical commission). The bill requires the department and the historical commission to form a joint panel to establish criteria for determining whether a site is of statewide significance and to promote the continuity of a historic sites program (Sec. 13.005). The bill requires the department to meet regularly with the historical commission, and periodically prepare reports, regarding plans to preserve and develop historical sites in this state (Secs. 13.0051 and 13.0052). The bill prohibits the department from referring to a historical site as a "historical park" in a department publication or on a department marker or sign (Sec. 13.0053). The bill sets forth provisions relating to the study of the shrimp industry and resources by the department and to report its finding to the legislature and commission not later than September 1, 2002 (Sec. 77.005 and SECTION 43). The bill replaces references to the "chairman" of the commission with "presiding officer" of the commission (Secs. 11.001, 11.0162, 21.013, 21.014, 22.055, and 81.206). The bill requires the department to report, not later than September 1, 2002, a study on the department's outreach and education activities and the department's degree of compliance with provisions relating to prohibition on alcohol and tobacco advertising and participation to the commission, the House Appropriations Committee, the House State Recreational Resources Committee, the Senate Finance Committee, and the Senate Natural Resources Committee (SECTIONS 38 and 39). EFFECTIVE DATE September 1, 2001.