New laws on horizon in 2017

California legislators passed bills regulating fishing, boating under the influence, Owens pupfish.

STATEWIDE — Four new laws went into effect Jan. 1 regulating Southern California boating and fishing activities. Meanwhile state legislators already proposed at least two new bills to govern marijuana use on boats and clean water/coastal protection efforts.

New Laws in Effect

 AB 1829

The bill co-sponsored by Assembly members Marc Levine and Katcho Achadjian officially went into effect Jan. 1. Assembly Bill 1829 (AB 1829) updates language in the state’s boating under the influence law to require anyone being arrested for drinking alcohol or using drugs while operating a vessel to be advised a criminal complaint could be filed against him or her.

Law enforcement officers would also have to inform the accused he or she has the right to refuse chemical testing and be informed a search warrant for their blood sample could be obtained.

AB 2001

Also in effect as of Jan. 1 is AB 2001, which amended California’s Fish and Game Code to allow taking of the Owens pupfish by the Department of Fish and Wildlife if, according to a legislative analysis, “the take is authorized under a safe harbor agreement.”

Take of the Owens pupfish is specifically allowed, according to a state report, “for purposes of assisting in recovery of the species.”

AB 2616

Assembly member Autumn Burke’s campaign to require at least one member of the California Coastal Commission be appointed from a community “disproportionately burdened” by pollution or other environmental challenges is also officially in effect as of Jan. 1.

The commission could also weigh in on environmental justice issues before moving forward on a significant decision, but the new law focuses primarily on providing racially and ethnically diverse low-income communities a voice on one of the state’s most powerful quasi-judicial agencies.

SB 1287

State Sen. Mike McGuire’s proposal to combat fishing gear as marine debris is now law, as well.

Senate Bill 1287 (SB 1287) created an incentive program for any fisher or angler to retrieve lost Dungeness crab fishing gear.

The law’s intent is to reduce the risk of marine life becoming entangled by discarded or lost fishing gear.

SB 1287 went into effect Jan. 1.

Proposed Laws

AB 18

Assembly member Eduardo Garcia introduced AB 18 on the legislative floor in the final weeks of 2016.

AB 18 proposes to issue more than $3 billion in bonds for clean water, climate, coastal protection and outdoor-access-for-all programs in California.

The proposal would only become law if approved by the voters in the June 2018 election.

“Californians value the diversity of outdoor experiences afforded to this state and its citizens. Demand for local parks has exceeded available funding by a factor of 8-to-1, with particularly high demand in urban, disadvantaged communities,” the bill stated. “Many Californians across the state lack access to safe parks, trails, and recreation areas, which limits their ability to experience the outdoors, improve their physical and emotional health, exercise, and connect with their communities.

“Investments to create new and improve existing parks and recreation areas, and to create trail networks that provide access from neighborhoods to parks and recreational opportunities, will help ensure all Californians have access to safe places to exercise and enjoy recreational activities,” the language of AB 18 continued.

            The bill is pending committee consideration and legislative analysis.

SB 65

State Sen. Jerry Hill introduced a bill proposing to update penalties on the consumption of alcohol or ingesting marijuana while operating a boat or vessel.

Current law states such activity would be an infraction. However SB 65, if approved and signed into law, would tweak state law the act of drinking alcohol or smoking marijuana while operating a boat or vessel punishable as an infraction or misdemeanor.

“The court may order a defendant convicted of a misdemeanor and sentenced to a term of imprisonment in a county jail to be imprisoned on days other than days of regular employment for the defendant, as determined by the court,” the language of SB 65 stated. “The court may [also], in its discretion, order the defendant to attend drug education and counseling classes.”

SB 65, like AB 18, is also pending committee consideration and legislative analysis.

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