BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    




                   Senate Appropriations Committee Fiscal Summary
                           Senator Christine Kehoe, Chair

                                           1179 (Hollingsworth)
          
          Hearing Date:  04/26/2010           Amended: 04/19/2010
          Consultant:  Brendan McCarthy   Policy Vote: NR&W 6-3
          _________________________________________________________________ 
          ____
          BILL SUMMARY: SB 1179 establishes two free hunting days per  
          year, on which any California resident may hunt in the state  
          without a hunting license. 
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          ____
                            Fiscal Impact (in thousands)

           Major Provisions         2010-11      2011-12       2012-13     Fund
           
          Increased enforcement  Up to $130 per year              Special  
          *

          Reduced license and tagUnknown, likely more than $180 per  
          yearSpecial *
             revenues                                             

          * Fish and Game Preservation Fund.
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          ____

          STAFF COMMENTS: This bill may meet the criteria for referral to  
          the Suspense file.
          
          Current law requires individuals to possess a hunting license to  
          take birds or mammals in the state. In order to get a hunting  
          license, individuals must complete a hunter education course and  
          pay a license fee. (The hunter education course must only be  
          taken once.) In addition to the licensing requirement, hunters  
          are required to purchase a "tag" for certain species, allowing  
          them to take that species under specified criteria (e.g. in  
          specified seasons, in certain areas, and in certain numbers).  
          Some tags are offered for sale to any licensed hunter, while  
          others are available only by lottery. The current license fee  
          for California residents is $39.50 and common tags generally  
          range in price between $8 and $30 for California residents.  
          (Certain tags, particularly those that are only available by  
          lottery, cost considerably more.)











          SB 1179 requires the Fish and Game Commission to establish two  
          free hunting days per year. On those days, any California  
          resident is eligible to hunt without a hunting license, provided  
          that the unlicensed hunter is accompanied by a licensed hunter  
          who is over 18 years of age and has had a hunting license for  
          three years. The bill authorizes the Department of Fish and Game  
          to required that unlicensed hunters demonstrate that they are  
          capable safely operating a firearm. The bill authorizes  
          federally licensed firearm dealers, their employees, certified  
          hunter education instructors, and licensed hunters who have had  
          a license for three consecutive years to certify that an  
          unlicensed hunter is capable of safely operating a firearm. The  
          bill allows the Department to prohibit unlicensed hunters from  
          taking species that require a tag granted by lottery or draw or  
          species that also require a federal tag to take.
          
          Given the potential for a large number of inexperienced hunters  
          in the field on the proposed free hunting days, the Department  
          is likely to increase Game Warden staffing levels on those days.  
          The Department indicates that it would likely attempt to put up  
          to 90 percent of its wardens into the field on those days, which  
          would be almost double the number of personnel in the field on  
          any given day. If the Department does not reduce other  
          enforcement activities on non-free hunting days, much of the  
          additional hours worked by wardens on the free hunting days  
          would be overtime hours and would result in increased staff  
          costs. The Department estimates the additional cost for  
          enforcement could be up to $130,000 per year.

          Because this bill authorizes unlicensed hunting twice per year,  
          it is possible that some currently licensed hunters may elect  
          not to purchase a hunting license and instead would go hunting  
          only on the free hunting days. The number of hunters who would  
          do so is unknown. However, if only one percent of licensed  
          hunters elected not to purchase a hunting license (and related  
          tags), the revenue loss would be about $180,000 per year.