Fish and Game Commission must form Tribal Committee

SB 161, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, would give tribes representation on state agency.

SACRAMENTO —A proposal calling for California’s Fish and Game Commission to create a formal Tribal Committee is officially on the books now as Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 161 (SB 161) into law, Oct. 3.

The committee would include at least one person from the five-member Fish and Game Commission. All committee business and recommendations would be reported on to the full agency.

The Fish and Game Commission already has a formal Marine Committee and Wildlife Resources Committee, each inclusive of at least one commissioner. Tribal matters have regularly been considered by the commission, but such issues were vetted by a committee not formal created my statute.

SB 161 effectively formalizes a committee already in existence and functioning similar to the Marine and Wildlife Resources committees, but not officially on the books.

Creation of the Tribal Committee would cost the state up to $150,000 annually, according to a legislative analysis. The funding would pay for a senior environmental scientist position to review all Tribal Committee matters and general overhead expenses.

SB 161 was unanimously approved by the State Senate, 40-0, in May; Assembly members also supported the bill by a 79-0 vote in September.

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