BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                   Senate Appropriations Committee Fiscal Summary
                           Senator Tom Torlakson, Chairman

                                           821 (Nava)
          Hearing Date:  7/16/07          Amended: 7/11/07
          Consultant: Miriam Barcellona IngenitoPolicy Vote: NR&W 5-2



          AB 821 (Nava)
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          BILL SUMMARY: AB 821 would (1) prohibit the use of lead  
          ammunition in specified zones (condor ranges); (2) require the  
          Fish and Game Commission (FGC) to establish, by regulation, a  
          public process to certify centerfire rifle and pistol non-lead  
          ammunition and to define non-lead ammunition, as specified; and  
          (3) require FGC to establish a coupon program to provide for  
          free or reduced charge non-lead ammunition to big game permit  
          holders with permits to hunt in the specified zones if non-state  
          funds are available.
                            Fiscal Impact (in thousands)

           Major Provisions         2007-08      2008-09       2009-10     Fund
           Certification process  $8                               Special*
          Regulations            $23                              Special*
          Coupon Program                    $50         $50        
          Coupons                           unknown                
          Reports                                       $7        Special*
          Notification of huntersminor and absorbable             Special*
          Enforcement                       see Staff Comments    Special*

          *Fish and Game Preservation Fund                            
          +Federal, private, non-profit, or other non-state monies.  

          STAFF COMMENTS:   
          AB 821 would prohibit the use of lead ammunition when taking big  
          game or coyotes within areas believed to be habitat for condors.  
           Staff notes that California condors are designated as fully  
          protected species, the most protective category in state law,  
          and have been the subject of a well-known, and costly, captive  
          breeding program that is designed to avoid the extinction of  
          these birds.  By prohibiting the use of lead ammunition in the  
          condor ranges, survival rate of condors in the wild may  



          AB 821 (Nava)
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          The FGC and the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) have already  
          developed amendments to Sections 353 and 475 of Title 14 of the  
          California Code of Regulations regarding methods authorized for  
          taking of big game.  The modifications to regulations were  
          broader than the ones proposed by this bill in that the  
          modification applied to more game and non-game animals,  
          including birds, and included a broader range of ammunition.  In  
          the fiscal analysis presented to the FGC no state costs were  
          identified and modest costs to hunters were identified due to  
          the higher cost of non-lead ammunition.  DFG noted that it did  
          not estimate that the increased cost to hunters would impact  
          hunting in California.  The regulations have not yet been acted  

          This bill would require FGC to establish a process to certify  
          centerfire rifle and pistol non-lead ammunition.  Non-lead  
          ammunition, under this bill, would be defined in regulation as  
          only including centerfire rifle and pistol ammunition in which  
          there is no lead content.  DFG estimates this to cost about  
          $8,000.  The cost of doing these regulations would be minor and  
          absorbable (less than $13,000) because much of the drafting and  
          FGC work has been done, as noted above, when the FGC considered  
          a similar regulation earlier this year.  DFG estimates it would  
          also have to respond to public comments generated by the bill.   
          These costs would be less than $2,000 and should be absorbable  
          in the normal workload of DFG and FGC.  

          If non-state funds are sufficient, as determined by the  
          Department of Finance, this bill would require FGC to establish  
          a process that would provide hunters, in specified areas, with  
          non-lead ammunition at no or reduced charge through the use of  
          coupons sent to a permitholder with the appropriate permit tag.   
          DFG estimates this would cost about $50,000 annually in staff  
          time and reporting.  DFG did not provide an estimate for the  
          amount of funds that would be required for the coupons  

          This bill would require FGC to report on the levels of lead  
          found in California condors for the calendar years of 2008,  
          2009, and 2012.  Each report would be due the following year.   
          DFG estimates it would be $6,800 to collect the condor lead  
          level information and prepare the required reports in each of  
          the three specified years.  



          AB 821 (Nava)
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          This bill would require DFG to notify those hunters who may be  
          affected.  DFG estimates it would require $35,000 annually to do  
          this because it hand stuffs its mailings to hunters.  Staff  
          contents that this figure is high because the requirements of  
          this bill do not require a separate notification to the hunters  
          rather than part of an existing mailing.  Staff estimates these  
          costs would be fully absorbed within current resources because  
          DFG currently has a voluntary program regarding the use of  
          non-lead ammunition and it notifies hunters about that program.   
          Additionally, DFG already mails out permits and tags to hunters  
          and this information could be included in those mailings.  

          Staff notes that enforcement costs of this bill are difficult to  
          determine as DFG has provided conflicting information and no  
          back-up date to support its estimates.  In its February 27, 2007  
          documents prepared for the FGC hearing regarding the method of  
          taking game and non-game animals and birds, DFG and FGC  
          estimated that there would be no additional state costs.   
          However, when analyzing this bill, DFG estimated that enforcing  
          the bill's narrower provisions would cost an estimated $269,467  
          annually.  It was indicated to committee staff that testimony  
          was heard at the FGC hearing from a warden that indicated DFG  
          would, in fact, need additional positions.  Staff has requested  
          the minutes or transcripts from that meeting but was informed by  
          DFG that no minutes or transcripts were available.  Upon further  
          discussions, it appears DFG identified these enforcement costs  
          (additional wardens) based on an assumption that the Legislature  
          wanted the provisions of the bill enforced at a higher level  
          than other regulations.  This bill does not specify that  
          requirement.  Further discussions lead to a revised  
          interpretation that additional wardens would not be needed but  
          there would be costs associated with testing the ammunition in  
          the field to verify it was lead-free.  After discussions with  
          both DFG and the manufacturer of this item, staff found that  
          each of these devices would cost about $5,000.  It is unclear  
          how many of these devices would be needed in the field.  Nothing  
          in this bill would prohibit DFG from sending samples to regional  
          locations for testing, which could significantly reduce costs.   
          Presumably, enforcement would be in the ranges specified in the  
          bill.  If DFG were to purchase 10 to 20 of these testers for  
          enforcement purposes, costs to DFG would be $50,000 to $100,000  
          in one-time costs.  



          AB 821 (Nava)
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