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Relating to verification of hunting and fishing license information.
No fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
HB 547 would allow hunters and fishermen to display information on a cell phone to prove to a law enforcement officer that they have a hunting or fishing license. Under the provisions of this bill, an individual would be able to provide electronic proof of licensure by showing a photograph of either information from the Department of Parks and Wildlife website confirming the license or a picture of their physical license. The bill would not prohibit a court of law from requiring an individual to produce the physical license.
Importantly this bill also protects civil liberties by explicitly stating that merely displaying electronic proof of licensure is "does not constitute effective consent for a law enforcement officer, or any other person, to access the contents of the wireless communication device except to view" the fishing, hunting, or hunting and fishing combination license information.
Texas Action recommends supporting HB 547 because it promotes our principles of limited government and individual liberty. This would allow hunters and fishers more flexibility in the instance that they forget their license, allowing them the convenience of having relevant information on their cell phone.
We support making presentation of a hunting or fishing license to a law enforcement officer more in line with modern practices while also protecting the individual’s phone contents from being subject to inspection by law enforcement simply on the basis that they consented to show electronic proof of licensure.