HBA-SEP C.S.S.B. 1573 77(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisC.S.S.B. 1573 By: Lindsay State Recreational Resources 5/11/2001 Committee Report (Substituted) BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Currently, no regulatory mechanism exists at the state or federal level regarding the number of floating cabins allowed in bay areas. C.S.S.B. 1573 sets forth provisions regarding the regulation of floating cabins. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking authority is expressly delegated to the Parks and Wildlife Commission in SECTION 1 (Sections 32.005, 32.058, 32.101, 32.102, Parks and Wildlife Code) and SECTION 2 of this bill. ANALYSIS C.S.S.B. 1573 amends the Parks and Wildlife Code to authorize the Parks and Wildlife Commission (commission) to adopt rules to implement provisions regulating floating cabins (cabin) not later than February 1, 2002, and to set forth applicability provisions (Secs. 32.002-32.006 and SECTION 2). The bill requires the Parks and Wildlife Department (department) to begin to issue annual cabin permits not later than March 1, 2002 (SECTION 2 and Sec. 32.054). A person is prohibited from owning, maintaining, or using a cabin in the public coastal water of this state without a permit (Sec. 32.051). The bill sets forth provisions regarding permit eligibility and the application for a permit (Secs. 32.052 and 32.053). The original permit application fee and permit renewal fee is $600 or an amount set by the commission, whichever is higher. The department is authorized to refuse to issue or transfer an original or renewal license, permit, or tag under certain conditions. The department is required to remit all collected fees to the comptroller for deposit to the credit of the game, fish, and water safety account in the general revenue fund (Sec. 32.055). A permit holder is required to keep a copy of the permit in the cabin and available for inspection by the department on request (Sec. 32.056). A permit holder is authorized to transfer the permit to a new owner of the cabin. The new permit holder is required to provide certain information to the department, a $600 transfer fee, and must sign the information under penalty of perjury (Sec. 32.057). The bill sets forth permissible and prohibited activities of a cabin permit holder (Secs. 32.101 - 32.108). The commission, by rule, is authorized to establish a program to purchase a cabin for which a permit has been issued. On such a transfer of ownership, the cabin permit expires. The owner of a cabin is not required to sell the cabin to the department. The floating cabin purchase account is created as a separate account in the general revenue fund and consists of money deposited under the purchase program. The department is authorized to accept grants and gifts of money or materials from private or public sources to be applied to the account. Money in the account is authorized to be used only for the purposes of the purchase program and money from the game, fish, and water safety account is prohibited from being used to purchase a cabin. Provisions regarding use of dedicated revenue do not apply to the purchase account (Sec. 32.058). The department is authorized to suspend or revoke a person's permit or place the permit holder on probation for a violation of cabin regulations (Sec. 32.151). The department is authorized to bring an action for damages, injunctive relief, and any other appropriate civil relief for a violation of cabin regulations except for the violation of discharging sewage (Sec. 32.152). The bill provides that a person commits a Class C Parks and Wildlife Code misdemeanor if the person violates certain cabin regulations. If it is shown on the trial of an offense that the defendant was previously convicted two or more times of violating cabin regulations, the offense is a Class B Parks and Wildlife Code misdemeanor. Each day of a violation is a separate offense (Sec. 32.153). If a person owns a cabin that does not meet the criteria for issuance of an original permit or if the owner violates certain regulations, the department is authorized to require the removal of the cabin. The bill sets forth criminal penalties and civil penalties for a person who does not remove a cabin. If the person does not remove the cabin during the specified period, the department is authorized to remove and dispose of the cabin and any associated personal property without notice. The department is not liable for the value of a removed cabin or any personal property associated with the cabin (Sec. 32.154). The department is authorized to file any suit in Travis County or the county in which the cabin that is the subject of the suit is located (Sec. 32.155). The department is prohibited from enforcing a prohibition or other requirement before February 1, 2002 (SECTION 2). EFFECTIVE DATE On passage, or if the Act does not receive the necessary vote, the Act takes effect September 1, 2001. COMPARISON OF ORIGINAL TO SUBSTITUTE C.S.S.B. 1573 modifies the original to extend, from 30 consecutive days to 60, the time for which a floating cabin (cabin) may be removed for repairs and still be eligible for a permit (Sec. 32.052). The substitute specifies that a permit holder is authorized to transfer the permit to a new owner of the cabin rather than to a person related in the third degree by consanguinity or affinity. The substitute removes provisions authorizing a permit holder to transfer the permit by will, but only if the heir is a person who in the absence of the will would be entitled to all or part of the deceased's property, and to transfer by operation of law if the permit holder dies intestate. The substitute requires a $600 transfer fee and prohibits, in the event that the permit holder consists of more than one person, the withdrawal of persons from ownership from being considered a transfer to the remaining owner or owners for the purpose of payment of the transfer fee. The substitute removes the provision prohibiting a permit holder from transferring a permit to a person who has been convicted of an offense or assessed a civil penalty for a violation of a cabin regulation (Sec. 32.057). The substitute removes the provision prohibiting a cabin owner from allowing the cabin to damage any environmentally sensitive area (Sec. 32.108). The substitute removes the provision requiring a court to award the Parks and Wildlife Department (department) attorney's fees if the department prevails in a suit to enforce cabin regulations. The substitute specifies that, if the defendant was previously convicted two or more times for such violation, the offense is a Class B Parks and Wildlife Code misdemeanor rather than a Class A Parks and Wildlife Code misdemeanor, and that if the defendant was previously convicted for one such a violation, the offense is a Class C Parks and Wildlife Code misdemeanor rather than a Class B Parks and Wildlife Code misdemeanor (Sec. 32.153). The substitute provides that the owner is authorized to object to the revocation of a permit and to show good cause why the permit should not be revoked and specifies what qualifies as good cause. The substitute specifies that the department may extend the period during which a cabin owner has to remove the cabin. The substitute also decreases, from a Class A Parks and Wildlife Code misdemeanor to a Class B Parks and Wildlife misdemeanor, the penalty for not removing a cabin in the provided time. The substitute specifies that if the removal notice is affixed to the cabin, the notice is valid if the cabin has not been identified and the owner has not been issued a permit (Sec. 32.154).