By Hawley                                             H.B. No. 3379
         77R5625 MXM-F                           
                                A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 1-1                                   AN ACT
 1-2     relating to the regulation of floating cabins; providing penalties.
 1-4           SECTION 1. Title 4, Parks and Wildlife Code, is amended by
 1-5     adding Chapter 32 to read as follows:
 1-6                         CHAPTER 32. FLOATING CABINS
 1-7                      SUBCHAPTER A. GENERAL PROVISIONS
 1-8           Sec. 32.001.  DEFINITION. In this chapter, "floating cabin"
 1-9     means a structure capable of floating in water that is used for
1-10     habitation or shelter but is not primarily used for transportation.
1-11     The term does not include a commercial barge or similar vessel.
1-12           Sec. 32.002.  APPLICABILITY. This chapter applies only to
1-13     floating cabins located in the salt water of this state.
1-14           Sec. 32.003.  RULES. The commission may adopt rules to
1-15     implement this chapter.
1-16               (Sections 32.004-32.050 reserved for expansion)
1-18           Sec. 32.051.  GENERAL PROHIBITION ON FLOATING CABINS. (a)
1-19     Except as provided by Section 32.061 or 32.062, a person may not
1-20     own, inhabit, or use a floating cabin after February 28, 2002,
1-21     unless the person who owns the cabin holds a permit for that cabin
1-22     issued under this chapter.
1-23           (b)  The department may not issue an initial permit for a
1-24     floating cabin on or after March 1, 2002.
 2-1           Sec. 32.052.  ELIGIBILITY FOR PERMIT. (a)  A person may apply
 2-2     for a floating cabin permit if:
 2-3                 (1)  the applicant has owned the floating cabin for at
 2-4     least six consecutive months immediately preceding the date on
 2-5     which the application is submitted;
 2-6                 (2)  the floating cabin has been permanently moored at
 2-7     the same location for at least six consecutive months immediately
 2-8     preceding the date on which the application is submitted, except
 2-9     for any temporary removal necessary for repairs;
2-10                 (3)  the floating cabin is capable of floating during
2-11     high tide; and
2-12                 (4)  the location of the cabin, as determined by
2-13     commission rule, does not interfere with navigation or recreational
2-14     uses for the area or create environmental problems.
2-15           (b)  For purposes of Subsections (a)(2) and (4), the
2-16     commission by rule shall define temporary removal and shall
2-17     establish standards for determining whether a floating cabin
2-18     interferes with navigation or recreational uses or creates
2-19     environmental problems.
2-20           Sec. 32.053.  APPLICATION FOR PERMIT. (a)  An applicant must
2-21     apply for a permit on a form prescribed by the department.  The
2-22     department shall issue a floating cabin permit to an applicant who:
2-23                 (1)  meets the eligibility requirements of Section
2-24     32.052;
2-25                 (2)  provides the name, mailing address, and telephone
2-26     number of the applicant;
2-27                 (3)  describes by a legal survey the exact location of
 3-1     the floating cabin in terms of longitude, latitude, degrees,
 3-2     minutes, and seconds;
 3-3                 (4)  provides information, as prescribed by commission
 3-4     rule, sufficient to identify the floating cabin;
 3-5                 (5)  provides the department with any other information
 3-6     that the department reasonably requires; and
 3-7                 (6)  pays the required permit fee.
 3-8           (b)  The applicant must sign the application under penalty of
 3-9     perjury.
3-10           Sec. 32.054.  TERM OF PERMIT. A floating cabin permit issued
3-11     under this chapter is valid for one year.
3-12           Sec. 32.055.  PERMIT RENEWAL. To renew a floating cabin
3-13     permit, a permit holder must apply in the manner prescribed by
3-14     commission rule and pay the permit renewal fee.
3-15           Sec. 32.056.  ANNUAL PERMIT FEE. (a)  The commission may
3-16     adopt annual permit fees in amounts reflecting the cost of
3-17     administering this chapter.
3-18           (b)  The amount of the annual permit fee for a floating cabin
3-19     permit is $600 or an amount set by the commission.
3-20           Sec. 32.057.  IDENTIFICATION OF FLOATING CABIN. The
3-21     commission by rule shall adopt standards used to identify floating
3-22     cabins that receive a permit under this chapter.  These
3-23     identification standards may include reflective tape, light, or
3-24     paint on the bow, stern, and sides of the vessel.
3-25           Sec. 32.058.  SAFETY. The commission shall adopt health and
3-26     safety rules for floating cabins, including rules relating to:
3-27                 (1)  power requirements;
 4-1                 (2)  sanitation;
 4-2                 (3)  equipment used to extinguish fires;
 4-3                 (4)  life jackets; and
 4-4                 (5)  warning devices, including whistles.
 4-5           Sec. 32.059.  MOORING. The floating cabin must be permanently
 4-6     moored to a steel spud or anchored in a manner that allows the
 4-7     cabin, while floating, to rotate 360 degrees around the anchor or
 4-8     spud.
 4-9           Sec. 32.060.  RELOCATION OF FLOATING CABIN. A person who
4-10     holds a permit for a floating cabin may relocate the floating
4-11     cabin, subject to department approval.  The commission by rule
4-12     shall specify criteria for relocation, including consideration of
4-13     the:
4-14                 (1)  existence of other permit holders in the new area;
4-15                 (2)  protection of the environment;
4-16                 (3)  effect of the relocation on navigation; and
4-17                 (4)  extent to which a relocation will interfere with
4-18     any recreational uses of the new area.
4-19           Sec. 32.061.  REPLACEMENT OF FLOATING CABIN. (a)  The holder
4-20     of a permit for a floating cabin may replace the floating cabin if
4-21     the replacement cabin does not exceed 40 feet in overall length, 20
4-22     feet in width, and 12 feet in height.
4-23           (b)  Not later than 60 days after the date of the
4-24     replacement, the permit holder shall file, on a form prescribed by
4-25     the department, a description of the replacement cabin.
4-26           Sec. 32.062.  TRANSFER OF PERMIT. (a)  The holder of a permit
4-27     for a floating cabin may in writing transfer the permit to a new
 5-1     owner of the floating cabin. Not later than the 60th day after the
 5-2     date of transfer, the new owner shall:
 5-3                 (1)  provide to the department the name, mailing
 5-4     address, and telephone number of the new owner;
 5-5                 (2)  provide the department with any other information
 5-6     that the department reasonably requires; and
 5-7                 (3)  pay a $600 transfer fee.
 5-8           (b)  The new owner must sign the information provided to the
 5-9     department under Subsections (a)(1) and (2) under penalty of
5-10     perjury.
5-11               (Sections 32.063-32.100 reserved for expansion)
5-13           Sec. 32.101.  DISCIPLINARY ACTION. The department may suspend
5-14     or revoke a person's floating cabin permit or place the permit
5-15     holder on probation for a violation of this chapter, including a
5-16     violation described by Section 32.102.  Chapter 2001, Government
5-17     Code, applies to a proceeding to suspend or revoke a permit under
5-18     this chapter.
5-20     FLOATING CABIN; HEARING. (a)  The department shall revoke a permit
5-21     as provided by this section if the floating cabin:
5-22                 (1)  becomes incapable of floating; or
5-23                 (2)  becomes partially submerged and rests on a bay
5-24     bottom or shoreline for four consecutive months or more.
5-25           (b)  At the hearing on the revocation, the permit holder may
5-26     object to the revocation and show good cause why the permit should
5-27     not be revoked.  Good cause includes:
 6-1                 (1)  force majeure, including a hurricane or tropical
 6-2     storm; or
 6-3                 (2)  any other reasons that the commission adopts by
 6-4     rule.
 6-5           Sec. 32.103.  CIVIL PENALTY. In addition to granting
 6-6     injunctive or other relief provided by law, a court may impose a
 6-7     civil penalty in the amount of $1,000 for a violation of this
 6-8     chapter or a rule adopted under this chapter.
 6-9           Sec. 32.104.  REMOVAL OF FLOATING CABIN. If a permit is
6-10     revoked or if a person owns, inhabits, or uses a floating cabin for
6-11     which the owner does not hold a permit issued under this chapter,
6-12     the department in writing shall request removal of the floating
6-13     cabin not later than the 90th day after the date the request is
6-14     received by the owner.  If the floating cabin, spud, and all
6-15     anchoring devices are not removed in 90 days after the date of the
6-16     request, the owner of the floating cabin  is liable for the
6-17     reasonable costs of removal and cleanup of the abandoned floating
6-18     cabin and related materials at that location.
6-19           SECTION 2. (a)  This Act takes effect September 1, 2001.
6-20           (b)  Not later than December 1, 2001, the Parks and Wildlife
6-21     Commission shall adopt rules necessary to implement Chapter 32,
6-22     Parks and Wildlife Code, as added by this Act.  The Parks and
6-23     Wildlife Department shall begin to issue the permit required by
6-24     Section 32.051, Parks and Wildlife Code, as added by this Act, not
6-25     later than December 15, 2001.
6-26           (c)  The Parks and Wildlife Department may not enforce a
6-27     prohibition imposed by Chapter 32, Parks and Wildlife Code, as
 7-1     added by this Act, before March 1, 2002.