Sacramento hopes improving access of recreational activities on the water could spur ethnic group’s environmental participation.
SACRAMENTO — A legislative initiative seeking to recognize the role of California Latinos could play in outdoor recreational activities and environmental conservation was quietly voted on and enrolled into state law by Assembly members and State Senators.
The proposal seeking to “recognize the role of Latinos in protecting and preserving the land, water and wildlife” officially became law, Feb. 7. Assembly members approved Assembly Concurrent Resolution 137 (ACR 137) by a 65-0 vote on Jan. 12; the legislative action cleared the State Senate by a 37-0 vote on Feb. 5.
ACR 137, introduced by Assembly member Eduardo Garcia, identified Latinos as “the largest ethnic group in California,” making up about 39 percent of the state’s population.
“Increased access to outdoor recreation opportunities for Latino families and youth fosters outdoor appreciation as well as a commitment within the Latino community to conservation,” language of ACR 137 stated. “The legislature … recognizes the role of Latinos in protecting and preserving the land, water, and wildlife of the United States … [and] supports and encourages the inclusion and meaningful engagement of Latinos and all Californians in environmental protection and conservation efforts.”
The resolution ultimately encourages Latinos to be more active in preserving and protecting the water, while also participating in activities and initiatives raising awareness of conservation efforts, according to a State Senate legislative analysis.
Specific initiatives of how California’s largest ethnic group could become more involved in conservation or environmental programs were not outlined in the resolution. Nor did the resolution delve into Latino involvement in boating or fishing activities (or any other recreational activity, for that matter, other than promoting outdoor interests in general).
Groups in favor of the resolution included Latino Outdoors, Earthjustice, Surfrider Foundation and Trout Unlimited.
Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF), interestingly enough, was not one of the groups listed as supporting or opposing ACR 137. RBFF is the national nonprofit organization behind initiatives such as Take Me Fishing and Vamos a Pescar.