HBA-BSM H.B. 2608 77(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 2608 By: Kuempel State Recreational Resources 3/18/2001 Introduced BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE The killing and disturbance of bats has led to significant declines in many species of bats. Bat populations are susceptible to decline and extinction because they are relatively slow at reproducing and because some species from large colonies are vulnerable to vandalism and human disturbance. Bats perform essential ecological roles such as pest control, pollination, and seed dispersal that result in many economic benefits. The 20 million Mexican Free-tailed bats from Bracken Cave in Texas consume an estimated 200 tons of insects nightly, a large number of which are among North America's most costly agricultural pests. House Bill 2608 protects bats by making it unlawful to hunt, sell, purchase, or be in possession of a bat except under specified conditions. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency, or institution. ANALYSIS House Bill 2608 amends the Parks and Wildlife Code to provide that no person may hunt a bat, or sell, offer for sale, purchase, offer to purchase, or possess after purchase a bat or any part of a bat, dead or alive. A violation of this provision is a Class C Parks and Wildlife Code misdemeanor. The bill provides that a bat may be removed or hunted if the bat is inside a building occupied by people. The bill does not apply to an animal control officer, peace officer, or health official who captures a bat that the officer or official considers injured or diseased, or a person who transports a bat to the nearest Texas Department of Health facility or medical facility if the bat poses an immediate threat to human health or safety. EFFECTIVE DATE September 1, 2001.