By: Shapleigh S.B. No. 205
  relating to the Texas Partnership for Children in Nature.
         SECTION 1.  Subtitle D, Title 4, Government Code, is amended
  by adding Chapter 450 to read as follows:
         Sec. 450.001.  DEFINITION. In this chapter, "partnership"
  means the Texas Partnership for Children in Nature.
         Sec. 450.002.  SUNSET PROVISION. The Texas Partnership for
  Children in Nature is subject to Chapter 325 (Texas Sunset Act).
  Unless continued in existence as provided by that chapter, the
  partnership is abolished and this chapter expires September 1,
         Sec. 450.003.  COMPOSITION OF PARTNERSHIP. The partnership
  is composed of seven members as follows:
               (1)  three public members as follows, appointed by the
  governor in consultation with the executive director of the Parks
  and Wildlife Department and the commissioner of education:
                     (A)  one public member who represents
  parent-teacher organizations; and
                     (B)  two public members each of whom represents a
  nonprofit organization dedicated to education concerning or
  protection of the environment; and
               (2)  four ex officio members as follows:
                     (A)  the executive director of the Parks and
  Wildlife Department;
                     (B)  the commissioner of education;
                     (C)  the commissioner of state health services;
                     (D)  the commissioner of agriculture.
  VACANCY. (a)  A person appointed as a public member of the
  partnership must be a resident of this state.
         (b)  Appointments of public members to the partnership shall
  be made:
               (1)  without regard to the race, color, disability,
  sex, religion, age, or national origin of an appointee; and
               (2)  so that various geographic areas of this state are
  represented in the partnership.
         (c)  The governor, in consultation with the executive
  director of the Parks and Wildlife Department and the commissioner
  of education, shall fill any vacancy in an appointed position in the
  partnership for the unexpired portion of the term.
  OF REPRESENTATIVE. (a)  An ex officio member of the partnership
  vacates the person's position in the partnership if the person
  ceases to hold the position that qualifies the person for service in
  the partnership.
         (b)  An ex officio member may designate a representative to
  serve in the partnership in the member's place. A representative
  designated under this subsection must be an officer or employee of
  the state agency that employs the ex officio member or of which the
  ex officio member is an officer.
         Sec. 450.006.  REMOVAL OF PUBLIC MEMBER. (a)  It is a ground
  for removal of a public member from the partnership if the member:
               (1)  is ineligible for public membership under Section
               (2)  cannot because of illness or disability discharge
  the member's duties for a substantial part of the term for which the
  member is appointed; or
               (3)  is absent from more than two consecutive
  partnership meetings that the member is eligible to attend during a
  calendar year unless the absence is excused by majority vote of the
  members of the partnership.
         (b)  The validity of an action of the partnership is not
  affected by the fact that the action is taken when a ground for
  removal of a partnership member exists.
         (c)  If a member of the partnership has knowledge that a
  potential ground for removal exists, the member shall notify the
  presiding officer of the partnership of the potential ground. The
  presiding officer shall then notify the governor and the attorney
  general that a potential ground for removal exists.
         Sec. 450.007.  TERM OF PUBLIC MEMBER. (a)  A public member
  of the partnership serves a term of two years.
         (b)  A public member is eligible for reappointment to another
  term or part of a term.
         (c)  A public member may not serve more than two consecutive
  terms. For purposes of this prohibition, a member is considered to
  have served a term only if the member has served more than half of
  the term.
         Sec. 450.008.  OFFICERS; WORKING GROUPS. (a)  The executive
  director of the Parks and Wildlife Department or the executive
  director's representative serves as the presiding officer of the
         (b)  The presiding officer of the partnership may appoint one
  or more working groups for any purpose consistent with the duties of
  the partnership under this chapter.
         Sec. 450.009.  COMPENSATION; EXPENSES. (a)  A public member
  of the partnership is not entitled to compensation but is entitled
  to reimbursement for the travel expenses incurred by the member
  while transacting partnership business, as provided by the General
  Appropriations Act.
         (b)  An ex officio member's service in the partnership is an
  additional duty of the underlying position that qualifies the
  member for service in the partnership. The entitlement of an ex
  officio member to compensation or to reimbursement for travel
  expenses incurred while transacting partnership business is
  governed by the law that applies to the member's service in that
  underlying position, and any payment to the member for either
  purpose must be made from money that may be used for the purpose and
  is available to the state agency that the member serves in that
  underlying position.
         Sec. 450.010.  MEETINGS; VOTING; PUBLIC ACCESS. (a)  The
  partnership shall meet at the call of the presiding officer.
         (b)  An ex officio member of the partnership may vote on
  partnership business.
         (c)  The partnership shall develop and implement policies
  that provide the public with a reasonable opportunity to appear
  before the partnership and speak on any issue under the
  jurisdiction of the partnership.
         Sec. 450.011.  STAFF COORDINATION. The Parks and Wildlife
  Department shall provide staff support to the partnership, in
  coordination with the Texas Education Agency, the Department of
  State Health Services, and the Texas Department of Agriculture.
  [Sections 450.012-450.050 reserved for expansion]
         Sec. 450.051.  ADVISORY STATUS OF PARTNERSHIP. (a)  In
  implementing its powers and duties under this chapter, the
  partnership functions only in an advisory capacity. Membership in
  the partnership does not constitute a public office.
         (b)  Chapter 2110 does not apply to the partnership.
  (a)  The partnership shall promote the well-being of this state's
  children by providing children with opportunities to spend more
  time outdoors and to learn about the environment through
  experiential activities outdoors and formal and informal education
  concerning the environment. To accomplish those purposes, the
  partnership shall:
               (1)  develop and assist in the implementation of a plan
  to provide children with structured and unstructured opportunities
  for outdoor recreation, scientific study, and learning that
                     (A)  development and implementation of strategies
  to provide increased support for programs under which school
  grounds are converted into natural habitats for play and outdoor
                     (B)  establishment of trail systems that connect
  communities, parks, and schools to encourage walking, biking, and
  increased time outdoors by children and their families;
                     (C)  establishment of nature play areas in
  communities to offer outdoor experiences close to children's homes;
                     (D)  establishment, in partnership with the
  Department of Family and Protective Services, the advisory council
  on juvenile services, and appropriate community nonprofit
  organizations, of a statewide civic justice corps to provide
  students at risk of dropping out of school with opportunities to
  serve on conservation crews in state parks and on other public land;
                     (E)  establishment, in cooperation with school
  districts, local parks departments, and appropriate nonprofit
  organizations, of an outdoor classroom program on public land that
  provides service learning opportunities and voluntary programming
  aligned with the required curriculum under Section 28.002,
  Education Code;
                     (F)  provision to children and their families of
  increased access to naturalists who present interpretive
  activities at state parks and on other public land to enhance
  discovery and enjoyment of this state's natural resources; and
                     (G)  provision to children who are members of
  minority groups of increased access to state parks and other public
  land, through partnership with appropriate organizations;
               (2)  develop and assist in the implementation of a
  state environmental literacy plan that includes:
                     (A)  a review of current environmental education
  in public schools, including student environmental literacy
                     (B)  identification of curriculum necessary to
  develop environmentally literate students;
                     (C)  identification of model outdoor field and
  service learning experiences that can be integrated into the
  required curriculum under Section 28.002, Education Code;
                     (D)  professional development opportunities for
  professional educators and for students who are in educator
  preparation programs and development programs for other
  environmental educators; and
                     (E)  methods to annually measure and report, at
  the state and local levels, progress of public school students
  toward becoming environmentally literate;
               (3)  devise a method to measure:
                     (A)  baseline data concerning the amount of time
  children spend outdoors; and
                     (B)  any increased time children spend outdoors as
  a result of the partnership's efforts; and
               (4)  identify opportunities for and barriers to
  implementing environmental literacy programs in public schools and
  on public land.
         (b)  Not later than December 1 of each even-numbered year,
  the partnership shall submit a report to the governor, the
  lieutenant governor, the speaker of the house of representatives,
  and the presiding officer of each legislative standing committee
  with primary jurisdiction over primary and secondary education,
  natural resources, land and resource management, or environmental
  regulation regarding the partnership's recommendations concerning
  the partnership's duties under Subsection (a).
         (c)  The partnership shall adopt rules as necessary for its
  own procedures.
         Sec. 450.053.  FUNDING. The partnership may accept gifts
  and grants from a public or private source for the partnership to
  use in performing the partnership's powers and duties under this
         SECTION 2.  As soon as practicable after the effective date
  of this Act, appointments of public members shall be made to the
  Texas Partnership for Children in Nature as provided by Chapter
  450, Government Code, as added by this Act. Notwithstanding
  Section 450.007, Government Code, as added by this Act, the terms of
  initial public members appointed to the Texas Partnership for
  Children in Nature expire February 1, 2011.
         SECTION 3.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2009.