Two fishing bills await legislative fate

Will 12-month license proposal clear appropriations hurdle this time around?

SACRAMENTO — It’s August and that means one thing in Sacramento: a slew of bills will either be green lit and sent to the governor’s desk or shot down and returned to their respective authors. Two fishing bills hoping to make it to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk in September are Senate Bill 518 (SB 518) and Assembly Bill 2369 (AB 2369).

SB 518 is the latest attempt to reform California’s sportfishing license regime, while AB 2369 aims to expand punishment for those breaking laws associated with Marine Protected Areas, or MPAs.

Senate Bill 518

State Sen. Tom Berryhill’s proposal to establish a 12-month sportfishing license system in California is currently being reviewed in appropriations – currently the same place where his similar proposals had died in years past.

The bill was placed under appropriations scrutiny in late June and we should find out in the not-too-distant future whether SB 518 would have a chance to make it to Brown’s desk for signature. Berryhill has made several attempts to change California’s sportfishing license calendar system, with each effort falling short in August.

This legislative session is Berryhill’s last in the State Senate, meaning he won’t have another opportunity to re-introduce a 12-month sportfishing bill should SB 518 fail to make it out of appropriations.

A legislative analysis out of the Assembly in early June showed SB 518 with no registered opposition and support from several groups such as California Yacht Brokers Association, Marina Recreation Association, Mono County Fish and Wildlife Commission, National Marine Manufacturers Association and Western Outdoor News.

Proponents of SB 518 have long argued a 12-month sportfishing license regime could help maintain or increase angler participation in California.

Assembly Bill 2369

A proposal seeking to implement stricter punishment for those who violate California’s MPA regulations has been off the radar since July 3, when AB 2369 was being deliberated in committee.

Assembly member Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, who chaired the Assembly Appropriations Committee last year, coincidentally, introduced AB 2369. It was in that committee where Berryhill’s previous attempt to establish a 12-year fishing license regime was held up despite no recorded opposition to the bill.

Fletcher’s proposal made it out of the Assembly on April 30 (74-0 vote with four Assembly members not voting). The State Senate’s Natural Resources and Water Committee endorsed AB 2369 by a 9-0 vote on June 12 and referred to the upper house’s Appropriations Committee. No action has been taken on the bill since July 3.

AB 2369, like SB 518, has no recorded opposition on file. Groups in favor of AB 2369 include California Coastkeeper Alliance, Cambria Fishing Club, the cities of Encinitas and Malibu, Heal the Bay, Los Angeles Waterkeeper, Monterey Bay Aquarium, San Diego Coastkeeper and Surfrider Foundation.

The Log and FishRap News will continue to monitor the progress of both bill and report upon the final results as soon as they are made public.

Assembly members and State Senators returned from their summer recess on Aug. 6; bills will be considered in committee through Aug. 17, with floor sessions on all proposals making it to the general membership of each house taking place between Aug. 17 and 31. The last day for bills to advance out of either house is Aug. 31.

Brown has until Sept. 30 to sign or veto bills making it out of the Assembly or State Senate.

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