The Assembly Water, Parks & Wildlife Committee this week approved a bill by Assemblymember Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) that would offer several funding opportunities and other creative strategies to help prevent state parks from being closed.
Assembly Bill 1589, also known as the California State Parks Stewardship Act of 2012, addresses the needs for California State Parks in order to achieve budget savings without closing the parks.
“…We (have taken) an important step towards ensuring the long-term sustainability of California’s state parks for the benefit of all Californians,” said Huffman. “California has one of the most extraordinary state park systems in the world… They protect unique natural resources and tell the story of California’s history and legacy.
“Sadly, however, our state parks are in crisis. Today’s bipartisan vote begins the process of giving these important resources the support and stewardship they deserve.”
Representatives from the California State Parks Foundation, Sierra Club, California Travel Association (CalTravel), and hundreds of other park advocates were in Sacramento March 20 for “Park Advocacy Day.” and joined Huffman at the hearing today in support of the bill to help sustain the state parks.
“AB 1589 is a bill that is sorely needed in this moment when one-quarter of the state park system has been identified for closure,” said Elizabeth Goldstein, President of the California State Parks Foundation.
Some of the key provisions of AB 1589 would be an ongoing level of state funding for the state parks, a California State Park environmental plate that could be purchased help support of state parks.
In addition, taxpayers could voluntarily purchase an annual state park access. The bill would also place a cap of 25 state parks that could be closed from 2012 to 2016 without legislative approval.
AB 1589 is joint-authored by Assemblymembers Wesley Chesbro, Roger Dickinson, Mike Gatto and Kevin Jeffries. The bill proceeds to the Assembly Revenue & Taxation Committee for further consideration.
Assemblymember Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) represents the 6th Assembly District. He chairs the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee and also serves as Co-Chair of the Legislative Environmental Caucus.