California Legislation Update May 25, 2013

by Cate Moore on May 25, 2013

In Santa Cruz County, a final-hour agenda item was once more added to the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors meeting to move to exclude Santa Cruz County from the provisions of AB 904, Working Forest Management Plans.  This time, it went down in flames as four of the five supervisors recognized the value of the local forestry best management practices and opted to allow Santa Cruz County to participate in the provisions offered by AB 904.  In the Assembly, AB 904 has passed the Appropriations Committee and now stands on the floor, where it is expected to pass comfortably.  The floor analysis shows why it is so well received.

CCFA is adding AB-976 to our list of monitored bills.  This bill allows the California Coastal Commission to impose their own penalties on violations of regulations.  THis is worrisome because the Coastal Commission has a history of being arbitrary and obstructionist.  The Farm Bureau is opposing this bill because of all of the difficulties the coastal farmers have had over the years trying to operate under the Coastal Commission’s rules.  This recent Ag Alert article  highlights the scope of the difficulties.

AB-1213, the Bobcat Protection Act, was amended again.  It is obvious that bobcat trapping for the fur trade is repugnant to the Legislature, and the latest amendment does its best to ensure this cannot happen anywhere but in National Forests and BLM land, which is beyond California’s jurisdiction.  The bill does specifically allow the taking of bobcats for depredation of crops or livestock, which covers most of the concerns of the forestry community.  There is no longer any mandate for Fish and Wildlife to determine bobcat populations levels.

SB-132, Mountain Lions, was amended to define “imminent threat to public health or safety” to mean only threats to people.  Since lethal action is only sanctioned in cases of imminent threat to public health and safety, this will tie Fish and Wildlife’s hands in issuing depredation permits for killing pets or livestock.  Past history has shown that moving the lion is ineffective in preventing livestock damage over the long run.  We continue to oppose this bill.

The bills proposing to change the Jarvis-Gann tax limits are making progress.

SCA-4SCA-8 and SCA-11 have passed Senate Government and Finance, after being amended to impose further requirements upon these taxes including requiring a specific list of projects the taxes will fund, auditing and oversight committees.

A large number of bills remain in their respective Appropriations Committees, either in the suspense file or under submission.  See our status table for the latest.CA Legislation Progress May 25 2013

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