The bill is an amendment to the original act passed in 2000 and expands the California Ocean Trusts’ ability to work with state agencies.
SACRAMENTO一 On Feb. 16, Assemblymember Mark Stone introduced a bill amending the California Ocean Resources Stewardship Act of 2000 to expand the ability of the Ocean Science Trust (OST) to contract with other state agencies.
The original act created OST as the scientific arm of the Ocean Protection Council (OPC) and the act currently only authorizes OST to work with the council. The amendment would expand those abilities.
In 2004 the California Ocean Resources Stewardship Act of 2000 was amended to create the OPC and subsequently the OST.
The trust comprises a team of scientists who provide research and understanding to the OPC. They bring a science-based thought process to legislative decisions.
Currently, the act only authorizes the OST to work with the OPC, but the bill would give the OST the authority to consult or work with other state agencies.
“For example, the Department of Insurance has been interested in contracting with them,” said California Assemblymember Mark Stone, author of the bill. “But right now, OST can’t accept that contract, but the Department of Insurance is trying to understand impacts of sea-level rise and other changes in the environment and its effect on insured properties across California. Our insurance could utilize and would love to be able to utilize the scientific expertise and research capability of Ocean Trust to help them develop better policies with respect to insurance needs in vulnerable communities. So, all the bill really does is build upon OST’s expertise and allow them to contract with state agencies other than just the Ocean Protection Council.”
Stone, who sits on the OPC, was approached by OST after the trust was approached by other state agencies looking for their expertise which prompted the bill to expand the OST’s abilities.
“They are a significant resource for California and because they are only authorized to work with the Ocean Protection Council right now, it’s an under-utilized resource,” said Stone. “…For us, it is being able to expand Ocean Science Trust’s ability to work with other agencies because it is a state agency already working in this arena. It just seems like an unnecessary limitation that they can’t work with other state agencies.”
The bill was introduced in February and has no funding attached to it. For more information or to read the bill, see https://legiscan.com/CA/text/AB2287/2021.