BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 2376
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   April 28, 2010

                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS
                                Felipe Fuentes, Chair

                   AB 2376 (Huffman) - As Amended:  April 5, 2010 

          Policy Committee:                              Water, Parks and  
          Wildlife     Vote:                            9-2

          Urgency:     No                   State Mandated Local Program:  
          No     Reimbursable:              No

           SUMMARY  

          This bill requires the Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency  
          to convene a committee to develop a strategic vision for the  
          Department of Fish and Game (DFG) and the Fish and Game  
          Commission (FGC).  Specifically, this bill:

          1)Directs the Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency to  
            convene a committee to develop and submit to the Legislature,  
            by July 1, 2012, a strategic vision for DFG and FGC.

          2)Specifies that the committee shall include the Secretary, the  
            director of DFG, the president of the FGC, the chair of the  
            California Energy Commission, a representative of the  
            University of California, and representatives of the US Fish  
            and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries  
            Service.

          3)Requires that the strategic vision address specified matters  
            relating to fish and game management, including biodiversity  
            and ecosystem management; permitting and regulation;  
            recreation and commercial harvest; scientific capacity;  
            relations with the public, landowners, nonprofits and other  
            land management agencies; use of technology and data systems;  
            clarification of the roles of DFG and FGC; and funding options  
            to reduce DFG's dependence on the General Fund.

          4)Requires the committee to seek funding from non-state entities  
            to minimize the use of General Fund moneys for purposes of  
            implementing this bill.

           FISCAL EFFECT  








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          One-time costs in 2011-12 of an unknown amount, the equivalent  
          of at least three positions, but likely in the range of several  
          hundred thousand dollars, to convene the committee called for by  
          this bill (General Fund, special fund or private funds).

           COMMENTS 

           1)Rationale  .  The author notes numerous studies released over  
            the past several years calling for reform at DFG.  Spurred, in  
            part, by those studies, the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks  
            and Wildlife, which the author chairs, recently held an  
            oversight hearing on DFG, its responsibilities and operations,  
            and ongoing and new challenges the department will face in the  
            coming century.  The author intends this bill as a follow up  
            on the issues and recommendations presented during the  
            hearing.

           2)Background  .  The Department of Fish and Game promotes and  
            regulates hunting and fishing for game species and promotes  
            resource protection for all California native plants, fish,  
            and wildlife. The Fish and Game Commission sets policies to  
            guide the department in its activities. The department  
            currently manages about one million acres including ecological  
            reserves, wildlife management areas, hatcheries, and public  
            access throughout the state.

            The Fish and Game Preservation Fund (FGPF) provides the  
            largest source of ongoing support for the department's  
            activities. The FGPF receives revenues from hunting and  
            fishing licenses and taxes, commercial fishing permits and  
            fees, and environmental review fees paid by project  
            proponents.  The FGPF is divided into a "nondedicated"  
            account-for which revenues can be spent on a variety of  
            department-funded activities-and 27 "dedicated accounts"-for  
            which revenues can only be spent on specified activities.   
            Many of the fund's revenue sources show a long-term decline,  
            largely due to declining participation in hunting and fishing  
            activities in the state. In addition, over time the  
            department's mandated activities have increased.

            In recent years, there have been several reports recommending  
            reforms of DFG, including reports by the Legislative Analyst's  
            Office, The Little Hoover Commission, and the State Auditor.   
            These reports, among other findings, identified ongoing fiscal  








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            mismanagement at the department, particularly in its  
            management of the FGPF and its subaccounts.
                            
           3)Related Legislation  .  Chapter 689, Statutes of 2005 (AB 7,  
            Cogdill) addressed DFG's shifting of funds by requiring  
            one-third of the fees derived from sport fishing licenses be  
            deposited into the newly created Hatchery and Inland Fisheries  
            Fund.   Prior to AB 7, all fees derived from sport fishing  
            licenses were deposited in the nondedicated account of the  
            FGPF and used to support all game programs, including hatchery  
            activities.  

          4)Support.   This bill is supported by several conservation and  
            outdoor sporting groups, who advocate a stakeholder-driven  
            reform of DFG's mission and management.  

          5)Opposition  .  Opponents, represented by the Northern California  
            Water Association, express support for the goal of  
            establishing a strategic vision for DFG but also express  
            concern that, because the bill does not identify a funding  
            source, the costs of the commission will be borne by water  
            users via higher fees.  
           
           Analysis Prepared by  :    Jay Dickenson / APPR. / (916) 319-2081