1-1                                   AN ACT
 1-2     relating to the regulation of the purchase and sale of timber;
 1-3     providing a penalty.
 1-5           SECTION 1. Chapter 151, Natural Resources Code, is amended to
 1-6     read as follows:
 1-9           [Sec. 151.001.  DEFINITIONS. In this subchapter:]
1-10                 [(1)  "Lumber" means lumber attached or bound together
1-11     in some way for floating, but does not include loose lumber.]
1-12                 [(2)  "Shingles" means shingles in bunches or bundles,
1-13     but does not include loose shingles.]
1-14           [Sec. 151.002.  TIMBER TO BE BRANDED. A person engaged in
1-15     floating or rafting timber on the water of a river or creek of this
1-16     state shall have a log brand and shall brand distinctly each log or
1-17     stick which he floats or hauls and puts in the water for sale or
1-18     market.]
1-19           [Sec. 151.003.  RECORDING BRAND. (a)  A person engaged in
1-20     floating or rafting timber on the water of a river or creek of this
1-21     state shall have his log brand recorded by the county clerk in:]
1-22                 [(1)  each county in which he cuts timber; and]
1-23                 [(2)  the county in which he proposes to sell or market
1-24     the timber.]
 2-1           [(b)  The brand shall be recorded in a book kept by the
 2-2     county clerk for that purpose or on microfilm as permitted in
 2-3     Chapter 194, Local Government Code.]
 2-4           [(c)  The county clerk shall receive the same fee as is
 2-5     allowed by law for recording stock brands.]
 2-6           [Sec. 151.004.  FILING WRITTEN REPORT. (a)  A person who
 2-7     floats any logs or timber in this state shall make a written report
 2-8     under oath on the first day of January, April, July, and October of
 2-9     each year, or within 15 days of those dates, showing:]
2-10                 [(1)  the number of logs cut or floated during the next
2-11     preceding three months;]
2-12                 [(2)  the survey or surveys of land from which the logs
2-13     were cut or carried;]
2-14                 [(3)  the number of logs cut from each survey; and]
2-15                 [(4)  a description of the brand placed on the logs.]
2-16           [(b)  The person who floats the logs or timber shall file the
2-17     report required in Subsection (a) of this section with the county
2-18     clerk of the county in which the timber was cut.  The county clerk
2-19     shall record and index the report in a book kept for that purpose
2-20     or on microfilm as permitted in Chapter 194, Local Government Code.]
2-21           [(c)  This section of the code does not apply to pickets,
2-22     posts, rails, or firewood.]
2-23           [Sec. 151.005.  EVIDENCE OF OWNERSHIP. A certificate signed
2-24     by the county clerk, containing a description of a log brand and
2-25     the name of the owner of the brand, with a transfer on the back of
2-26     it, signed and acknowledged by the owner or proved as other
2-27     instruments for record, shall be prima facie evidence that the
 3-1     person to whom the transfer is made owns the logs described in the
 3-2     certificate.]
 3-3           [Sec. 151.006.  PENALTIES. (a)  A person who buys or sells
 3-4     any timber or log floating, or that has been floated, in this state
 3-5     before it is branded shall be fined not more than $10 for each
 3-6     unbranded log or piece of timber purchased, sold, or traced.]
 3-7           [(b)  A person shall be fined not more than $200 for each
 3-8     offense if he:]
 3-9                 [(1)  floats any unbranded log or timber for market;]
3-10                 [(2)  fails to make the reports required under Section
3-11     151.004 of this code;]
3-12                 [(3)  brands any log or timber of another without his
3-13     authority;]
3-14                 [(4)  defaces a brand on any log or timber except when
3-15     it is in the act of being sawed or manufactured into lumber or
3-16     other commodity for use in building; or]
3-17                 [(5)  is not an employee of the owner and without the
3-18     written consent of the owner takes into possession any branded or
3-19     unbranded log or timber cut for floating or sawing, or any sawed
3-20     timber, lumber, or shingle floating in any water of this state or
3-21     deposited on the banks of a river or stream in this state.]
3-22           [Sec. 151.007.  VENUE. The accused may be prosecuted in any
3-23     county in which the timber or lumber was deposited in the water or
3-24     in which it was unlawfully taken into possession or unlawfully
3-25     defaced, sold, purchased, or branded.]
3-27                             OF TREES AND TIMBER
 4-1           Sec. 151.001 [151.041].  REQUIRED BILL OF SALE. Before
 4-2     purchasing or accepting delivery of any trees, [or] timber, [in the
 4-3     form of] logs, [or] pulpwood, or in-woods chips, a seller [person,
 4-4     firm, partnership, or corporation] shall provide and a purchaser
 4-5     shall require a bill of sale for the trees, [or] timber, logs,
 4-6     pulpwood, or in-woods chips executed [and acknowledged] by the
 4-7     seller [in the manner required by law for registration].  The bill
 4-8     of sale may be a part of, a compilation of information taken from,
 4-9     or an addendum to, by way of example, a timber deed, scale ticket,
4-10     weight ticket, cutting contract, harvest agreement, wood purchase
4-11     agreement, or other records of the sale and purchase made at the
4-12     time if all the information required by Section 151.002 is
4-13     included.
4-14           Sec. 151.002 [151.042].  INFORMATION IN BILL OF SALE. (a)
4-15     The bill of sale, which may be filed of record in the appropriate
4-16     real property records, shall at a minimum include:
4-17                 (1)  the name [and address] of the:
4-18                       (A)  owner of the land from which the trees,
4-19     timber, logs, pulpwood, or in-woods chips were or are to be
4-20     obtained;
4-21                       (B)  seller, if the seller is not the owner of
4-22     the land; and
4-23                       (C)  purchaser;
4-24                 (2)  a description of the survey or tract of land from
4-25     which the trees, timber, logs, [or] pulpwood, or in-woods chips
4-26     were or are to be obtained, or information from which the identity
4-27     of that tract of land may be ascertained, but in any event
 5-1     including the county name [cut];
 5-2                 (3)  a general description of the trees, timber, [the
 5-3     number of] logs, [or] pulpwood, or  in-woods chips conveyed in the
 5-4     bill of sale; and
 5-5                 (4)  representations and a warranty from the seller
 5-6     that the seller is the lawful owner of all the trees, timber, [the
 5-7     markings, if any, on the] logs, [or] pulpwood, or in-woods chips
 5-8     conveyed in the bill of sale and that the trees, timber, logs,
 5-9     pulpwood, or in-woods chips are free and clear of all liens,
5-10     security agreements, encumbrances, claims, demands, and charges.
5-11           (b)  The purchaser of trees, timber, logs, pulpwood, or
5-12     in-woods chips conveyed in the bill  of sale may, and is entitled
5-13     to, rely on the information required to be provided by the seller
5-14     to be incorporated into the bill of sale, as well as on the
5-15     representations and warranty of the seller.
5-16           Sec. 151.003 [151.043].  RETENTION OF [EXPENSES IN CONNECTION
5-17     WITH] BILL OF SALE. A person that purchases trees, timber, logs,
5-18     pulpwood, or in-woods chips shall retain the bill of sale for not
5-19     less than two years following the later of the date of execution of
5-20     the bill of sale or the expiration date referenced in the bill of
5-21     sale [Notarial fees, filing fees, and other expenses in connection
5-22     with the bill of sale shall be assumed and paid by the purchaser].
5-23           Sec. 151.004 [151.044].  NOTICE CONCERNING SALE OR PURCHASE
5-25     CROSSTIES]. At each designated point of delivery for trees, timber,
5-26     logs, pulpwood, or in-woods chips, a wood yard, transfer yard, mill
5-27     site, or storage yard shall post the following written notice in
 6-1     lettering not less than one inch:
 6-3           1.  A seller or purchaser of trees, timber, logs, pulpwood,
 6-4               or in-woods chips who knowingly fails to provide, obtain,
 6-5               or retain a bill of sale as provided in Chapter 151,
 6-6               Natural Resources Code, is guilty of a misdemeanor and on
 6-7               conviction is subject to a fine of not more than $500 for
 6-8               each offense.
 6-9           2.  A person, firm, partnership, or corporation adjudged
6-10               guilty of theft or fraud in connection with the sale or
6-11               purchase of trees or timber will be punished as provided
6-12               by the Penal Code.
6-13           3.  The Texas Forest Service Timber Theft Hotline is
6-14               1-800-364-3470 [(a)  On  or before  the 10th  day of each
6-15     succeeding month from the date of purchase, a purchaser of staves
6-16     or crossties who does not secure a bill of sale or deed to the
6-17     staves or crossties shall file a verified statement with the county
6-18     clerk of the county in which the land is located from which the
6-19     staves or crossties were cut.]
6-20           [(b)  The verified statement shall include:]
6-21                 [(1)  the name and address of the seller and purchaser;]
6-22                 [(2)  a description of the survey or tract of land from
6-23     which the staves or crossties were cut;]
6-24                 [(3)  the number of staves or crossties; and]
6-25                 [(4)  the markings, if any, on the staves or
6-26     crossties].
6-27           Sec. 151.005 [151.045].  PENALTY. (a)  A seller or purchaser
 7-1     who knowingly fails to provide, obtain, or retain [see that] a bill
 7-2     of sale [is given in a sale] as required by Sections 151.001,
 7-3     151.002, and 151.003 [provided for in this subchapter, or a
 7-4     purchaser who does not secure a bill of sale and fails to file the
 7-5     statement required by Section 151.044 of this code,] is guilty of a
 7-6     misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to a fine of not more than
 7-7     $500 for each offense [$100 or confinement for not more than 30
 7-8     days in the county jail, or both].
 7-9           (b)  A wood yard, transfer yard, mill site, or storage yard
7-10     that knowingly fails to post the notice concerning sale or purchase
7-11     of trees or timber as required by Section 151.004 is guilty of a
7-12     misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to a fine of not more than
7-13     $500 for each offense.
7-14           Sec. 151.006 [151.046].  APPLICABILITY. This [The provisions
7-15     of this] subchapter does [shall] not apply to the sale of:
7-16                 (1)  finished [lumber, cedar staves,] wood products;
7-17                 (2)  logs or pulpwood from a wood yard, transfer yard,
7-18     mill site, or storage yard;
7-19                 (3)  trees from a nursery; or
7-20                 (4)  trees, logs, or pulpwood with a commercial value
7-21     of less than $250[, or posts].
7-22           Sec. 151.007.  PENALTIES CUMULATIVE. A penalty provided by
7-23     this subchapter is in addition to a penalty provided under other
7-24     law.
7-25           Sec. 151.008.  CIVIL LIABILITY. Nothing in this subchapter
7-26     shall be construed to affect the liability under any other statute
7-27     or under common law, provided that failure to comply with the
 8-1     provisions of this subchapter shall not, by itself, create civil
 8-2     liability.
 8-4           Sec. 151.051 [151.101].  DAMAGES FOR UNAUTHORIZED HARVESTING.
 8-5     (a)  A person who harvests standing timber with knowledge that the
 8-6     harvesting is without the permission of the owner of the standing
 8-7     timber and a person who causes another person to harvest standing
 8-8     timber without the permission of the owner of the standing timber
 8-9     are jointly and severally liable to the owner for damages in an
8-10     amount equal to three times the market price of the timber
8-11     harvested without permission.
8-12           (b)  Payment of damages by a person under this section does
8-13     not preclude a prosecution of the person under Section 151.005
8-14     [151.045].
8-15           (c)  This section does not apply to the trimming or clearing
8-16     of trees in the vicinity of a utility line or right-of-way.
8-18           Sec. 151.101 [151.151].  DEFINITION. In this subchapter,
8-19     "timber purchaser" means a person who purchases standing timber for
8-20     harvest.
8-21           Sec. 151.102 [151.152].  MONEY COLLECTED FOR TIMBER AS TRUST
8-22     MONEY. Money a timber purchaser collects for harvested timber is
8-23     trust money.
8-24           Sec. 151.103 [151.153].  TIMBER PURCHASER AS TRUSTEE. A
8-25     timber purchaser and each officer, director, partner, or agent of a
8-26     timber purchaser are trustees of trust money.
8-27           Sec. 151.104 [151.154].  BENEFICIARY OF TRUST. Each seller of
 9-1     standing timber is a beneficiary of trust money to the extent of
 9-2     the beneficiary's share of the purchase price for the timber.
 9-3           Sec. 151.105 [151.155].  OFFENSE. (a)  A trustee commits an
 9-4     offense if the trustee, knowingly or with intent to defraud,
 9-5     directly or indirectly retains, uses, disperses, or otherwise
 9-6     diverts more than $500 of trust money without first fully paying
 9-7     all of the beneficiaries the purchase price for the timber.
 9-8           (b)  A trustee acts with intent to defraud if the trustee
 9-9     retains, uses, disperses, or diverts trust money with the intent to
9-10     deprive a beneficiary of trust money.
9-11           (c)  A trustee is presumed to have acted with intent to
9-12     defraud if the trustee does not pay all of the beneficiaries the
9-13     purchase price for the timber not later than the 45th day after the
9-14     date the trustee collects money for the timber.
9-15           (d)  An offense under this section is a state jail felony.
9-16           Sec. 151.106 [151.156].  DEFENSES TO PROSECUTION. It is an
9-17     affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that:
9-18                 (1)  the trustee paid the beneficiaries all trust money
9-19     to which the beneficiaries were entitled not later than the 15th
9-20     day after the date written notice was given to the trustee at the
9-21     trustee's most recent address known that a criminal complaint has
9-22     been filed against the trustee or that a criminal investigation of
9-23     the trustee is pending; or
9-24                 (2)  two or more persons claim to be beneficiaries of
9-25     the same trust money, and the trustee has deposited the amount of
9-26     the disputed trust money into the registry of the district court of
9-27     the county in which the standing timber was located by action in
 10-1    interpleader or other appropriate legal proceeding for the benefit
 10-2    of persons the district court determines to be entitled to the
 10-3    trust money.
 10-4          Sec. 151.107 [151.157].  ELECTION OF OFFENSES. If conduct
 10-5    constituting an offense under Section 151.105 [151.155] is an
 10-6    offense under another law of this state, the state may elect the
 10-7    offense for which it prosecutes the trustee.
 10-8          SECTION 2.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2001.
         _______________________________     _______________________________
             President of the Senate              Speaker of the House
               I certify that H.B. No. 2246 was passed by the House on May
         2, 2001, by a non-record vote.
                                                 Chief Clerk of the House
               I certify that H.B. No. 2246 was passed by the Senate on May
         17, 2001, by the following vote:  Yeas 30, Nays 0, 1 present, not
                                                 Secretary of the Senate
         APPROVED:  __________________________