SACRAMENTO—In honor of The Log’s 50th anniversary, we brought back the original look of our “Legislative Update” section and took a look back at some of the legislation once covered by the paper.
California Coastal Act
Signed into law on Sept. 29, 1976, an amended version of the “Scenic Highway” bill included the provisions of the Coastal Conservation Act, which failed to move through the Senate finance committee, according to a 1976 Log article. The passed bill curbed development along 1,070 miles of the California coastline, giving the newly formed California Coastal Commission control over a strip of land extending inland from the shoreline generally 1,000 yards.
Charter Boat Safety Act
Introduced by Assemblymember Sam Farr (D-Monterey)
Signed into law on Sept. 23, 1983, the act required passengers be given a demonstration on how to use life preservers, required passengers be informed they can be ordered to don life preservers by the boat’s operator, and required all charters carrying seven or more passengers be licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard. The legislation was sparked by a near tragedy in February 1982 in which a whale-watching boat carrying 32 passengers – 24 of them schoolchildren – overturned, according to a September 1983 Log article. The article also stated that none of the passengers were wearing life preservers.
California Gillnet Ban
Sponsored by Assemblymember Doris Allen
Approved by voters in the Nov. 6, 1990 election, the initiated constitutional amendment banned the use of gill nets and trammel nets, beginning Jan. 1, 1994, in coastal waters of central and Southern California. It also imposed additional fees for marine resource protection stamps through Jan. 1, 1995 and allowed the revenue from the increased fees to go toward making a lump sum payment to fishermen who lost income due to the imposition of the ban of gill and trammel netting.
Signed into law on Sept. 18, 2014, the bill requires boaters pass a safety course and obtain a vessel operator card from the Division of Boating and Waterways in order to operate a boat in California that is propelled by an engine. The seven-year phase-in began in 2018 and will apply to everyone as of 2025. At the time of passage, California was one of only five states that did not require boater safety education.
365 Fishing License
Introduced by Assemblymember Jim Wood (D-Santa Rosa) on Feb. 16
Under the existing system, fishing licenses in California expire on Dec. 31 of the current year and then are re-upped on Jan. 1. If passed, AB 817 would transition California fishing licenses to a 365 day-of-purchase system and would also require the department, on or before Jan.1, 2023, to provide an option to display a sport fishing license electronically on a mobile device, except as provided. The bill is currently still waiting to be heard in committee.
Dominguez Channel watershed and Santa Catalina Island Conservation
Introduced by Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell (D – Long Beach) on Dec. 7, 2020
Existing law requires the conservancy to prepare a San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Parkway and Open Space Plan for the protection, preservation, and enhancement of specified areas. If passed, this bill would require the conservancy to update the plan to include the priorities for conservation and enhanced public use within the Dominguez Channel watershed and Santa Catalina Island. The bill was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources on Jan. 11, 2021.
Ropeless Crab Gear
Introduced by Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) on Feb. 10
If passed, the bill would require all trap and pot fisheries, recreational and commercial, in California to transition to ropeless gear by Nov. 1, 2025, in an effort to eliminate marine life entanglements. The bill was referred to a committee on Feb. 18 and could be heard this month.
Reintroduced by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) on Feb. 8
Existing law allows the use of large mesh drift gillnets in federal waters off the coast of California – the only place the nets are still used in the United States. Congress passed the Driftnet Modernization and Bycatch Reduction Act last year but it was vetoed by President Trump on Jan. 1. If passed, the bill would phase out the use of drift gillnets in federal waters off the coast of California.