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SB 1978, if passed, would modify the Parks and Wildlife Code (Chapter 42) by allowing a voluntary contribution to be made for the hungry of Texas when one applies for a hunting license.
Specifically, when an individual applies for a hunting license, he or she may contribute $1 or more to a nonprofit designated by the Parks and Wildlife Commission which would be used in a statewide program, the purpose of which is to allow hunters to legally donate harvested deer to local food assistance providers.
The Department would include such information on hunting license applications. The donation itself would be transferred to each organization on November 1st of each year. These organizations would also be required to submit a report to the legislature each year regarding its finances. The Commission would also be permitted to adopt all rules necessary to administer this program.
Strictly speaking, promotion of a specific charitable nonprofit program to help feed the hungry is at best a questionable role for the state to play.
Nevertheless, SB 1978 is a positive development given the problems which have developed around donation of game animals to charitable organizations. Given this difficulty, and given that the legal regime is already structured in such a way that fish and game, food quality standards, and charity work are all heavily regulated, SB 1978 is a step in the right direction. Ultimately such a step would be entirely unnecessary if the state simply reduced barriers to the voluntary donation of legally harvested game to charitable organizations and let the charities raise any necessary funds on their own.
The positive results of the bill counteract the fact that strictly speaking such a program ought not be necessary. However, given the regulatory issues involved, the fact that this doesn't add a fiscal burden to the state, and contributions would be made on a voluntary bases above the amount regularly paid for a hunting license.
Because the positive factors at play supporting individual liberty and personal responsibility outweigh the fact that collecting funds on behalf of a charitable program is not the proper role of state government we support SB 1978.
As a final note, it should not go unnoticed that the state would be authorized to deduct an administrative fee from funds collected before transferring the contributions to the nonprofit partner. Hunters who wish to donate would make their charitable contribution stretch further by simply donating directly to the charitable organization and cutting the state out of the process entirely.