California Waterfowl’s advocacy team works actively with lawmakers from both parties to promote legislation beneficial to wetlands and hunting. We also fight detrimental bills, either opposing them outright or, when they’re certain to pass, working to minimize detrimental impacts.
While CWA is focused on waterfowl, we often take positions on legislation affecting other species or forms of hunting because we know our members have diverse conservation and hunting interests. We also lobby on firearm legislation that could negatively affect law-abiding hunters.
If you sign up for our action alerts, we’ll let you know when it’s time to contact your representatives in Sacramento or Washington, D.C., and we’ll make it easy for you to contact them by email through our Voter Voice system.
The California Legislature convened on Jan. 6, 2020, and we will add to this page bills of interest as they are introduced. Click here to skip to federal bills we’re watching.
BILLS WE SUPPORT
Duck and pheasant breeding habitat fee
AB 2106 (Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, D-Winters): This CWA-sponsored bill would add $5 to the state upland bird and waterfowl validations to give a much-needed boost to California’s waterfowl and pheasant breeding populations, which are suffering habitat declines. The revenue would support the Nesting Bird Habitat Incentive Program, which was created by AB 2697 (James Gallagher, R-Yuba City ) in 2018, but not funded. The incentive program can pay farmers and other landowners, including private duck clubs, to fallow, grow cover crops like vetch or enhance existing nesting habitat. If a landowner wanted to also open the field to public pheasant hunting, for example, he or she could be paid to provide that public benefit too. Monies could also be used on state wildlife areas and national wildlife refuges to improve breeding habitat on those lands and thus increase public land hunter opportunity. In a survey last year, 74% of CWA members and supporters said they would support the additional fee to boost breeding habitat. Click here to read our letter of support (PDF).
Free hunting days
AB 2299 (James Gallagher, R-Yuba City): Would require the state to establish two free hunting days per year, one in the fall and one in the spring, starting no later than July 1, 2021. Click here to read our coalition letter of support (PDF).
Groundwater sustainability plan impacts on wetlands – bill has been pulled for the year
AB 2502 (Bill Quirk, D-Hayward): This CWA-sponsored bill would require groundwater sustainability plans to include impacts on managed wetlands leading to a net loss of wetland acreage in the state. Under the 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), California has begun efforts to regulate groundwater use to prevent overdrafting, which depletes aquifers and causes subsidence. Duck clubs in the Tulare Basin are facing groundwater cutbacks that threaten their very existence, even though flooded wetlands help recharge aquifers. Learn more about the issue here and read our coalition letter of support here (PDF).
Junior hunting license age extension
AB 3022 (Jay Obernolte, R-Hesperia): This CWA-sponsored bill would extend for one more year the ability for hunters under the age of 18 on July 1 to purchase a junior hunting license, as opposed to the more expensive adult license. The extended eligibility has helped families save money and allowed youth to continue participating in special youth hunting opportunities. The 2014 legislation that extended eligibility for the youth license will sunset this year in the absence of legislative action. Click here to read our letter of support (PDF).
BILLS WE OPPOSE
Budget trailer bill
This budget-related bill (not yet available online) would sunset the Habitat Conservation Fund this year, only a year after it was extended to 2030. This fund provides $300 million over the next 10 years to purchase wildlands for the public, establish conservation easements on private land and enhance the habitat values of existing public lands. These funds are used on state wildlife areas open for waterfowl hunting. Click here to read a coalition letter of opposition to read a coalition letter of opposition, signed by 73 organizations (PDF), and click here to read the coalition’s June 10 letter to the governor (PDF).
New restrictions on dog training facilities – bill has been pulled for the year
AB 2691 (Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, D-Orinda): Would impose on dog trainers and dog training facilities the same requirements imposed on pet boarding facilities. Click here to read our letter of opposition (PDF).
Long gun storage in unattended vehicles
AB 3058 (Kansen Chu, D-Milpitas): This 2019 bill has returned with some changes, but still requires long guns in unattended vehicles to either be locked in a car’s trunk using a cable or chain and lock, or locked in a container that is permanently affixed to the car in the trunk or out of plain view, or that is affixed to the vehicle by cable chain and lock in the trunk or out of plain view – something that may be impossible for SUV owners to comply with. Unlike last year’s bill, this AB 3508 exempts the vehicles of on-duty law enforcement officers, which would have increased costs to the state. Click here to read our letter of opposition (PDF).
Climate Resilience Bond
SB 45 (Benjamin Allen, D-Santa Monica, et al): Would authorize $5.5 billion in bonds for a wildfire prevention, safe drinking water, drought preparation, and flood protection program. CWA supports elements of this bill related to investments for the Pacific Flyway and proposes some amendments. Click here to read our letter about SB 45 (PDF).
New restrictions on youth camps – bill not moving forward this year
SB 217 (formerly SB 955) (Anthony Portantino, D-La Cañada Flintridge): Would impose additional licensing and staffing requirements on camps, such as the ones California Waterfowl offers. Click here to read our letter of opposition (PDF).
Use of dogs to hunt deer – bill has been pulled for the year
SB 1041 (Ben Hueso, D-San Diego): This bill would prohibit the use of dogs for hunting deer at any time and would authorize the Department of Fish and Wildlife to kill any dog that is injuring or threatening to injure a deer. Click here to read our coalition letter of opposition (PDF).
Expanding mariculture activities in coastal bays and estuaries – bill has been pulled for the year
SB 1093 (Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco): Would expand mariculture in coastal bays and estuaries, which could affect eelgrass habitat used by brant. Click here to read our letter of opposition (PDF).
Banning import of African animal parts
SB 1175 (Henry Stern, D-Canoga Park): This bill seeks to stop certain types of legal hunting by Californians by banning the possession of parts – even meat – of certain “iconic” African animals: African elephant, African lion, leopard, black rhinoceros, white rhinoceros, giraffe, Jentink’s duiker, plains zebra, mountain zebra, hippopotamus and striped hyena. The law would apply to anything not in a person’s possession as of Dec. 31, 2020, and would carry fines of $5,000 to $40,000 per incident. The Legislature passed this bill in 2018, but it was vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown. Click here to read our coalition letter of opposition (PDF).
BILL WE OPPOSE UNLESS AMENDED
AB 3030 (Ash Kalra, D-San Jose): This bill would declare it a goal of the state to protect at least 30 percent of the land areas and waters within the state and 30 percent of the ocean waters off the coast of California by 2030. Ambiguity in the bill needs to be resolved to avoid resulting in unnecessary closures of hunting and fishing. Click here to read our coalition letter of opposition (PDF).
BILLS WE SUPPORT
S. 3015 (Barrasso, R-WY): The America’s Conservation Enhancement (ACE) Act includes an array of priority conservation provisions, including reauthorizing the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA), and amending the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act to allow states greater flexibility in the use of funds to recruit and retain sportsmen and women. The bill enjoyed strongly bipartisan passage by the Environment and Public Works Committee and represents an important step forward in addressing growing challenges to species and habitat health.. Click here to read our coalition letter of support (PDF).
S. 3422 (Gardner, R-CO): The Great American Outdoors Act would provide $900 million annually to the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which ensures protection of and access to irreplaceable lands while also supporting recreational facilities in communities across the country. It also includes up to $9.5 billion over five years to address priority repairs to infrastructure managed by the National Park Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Indian Education Schools. Click here for more information (PDF).
H.R. 2 (DeFazio, D-OR): The Moving Forward Act, if amended, would increase funding for restoring damaged water-supply infrastructure and needed ecosystem improvements to respond to the impacts of a changing climate, and provide additional safe drinking water grant funding for disadvantaged communities facing water shortages. Click here to read our coalition letter of support (PDF) for the Costa amendment to this bill.
H.R. 3724 (Dingell, D-MI): The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act of 2019 would put Americans back to work expanding recreational infrastructure, restoring our natural resources, and investing in on-the-ground projects in every state, territory, and tribal lands. Click here to read a coalition letter (PDF) urging Congress to include this bill in a future infrastructure or economic recovery package.