BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 150
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   April 2, 2013

                   ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON WATER, PARKS AND WILDLIFE
                                Anthony Rendon, Chair
                     AB 150 (Olsen) - As Amended:  March 13, 2013
           
          SUBJECT  :   State parks: armed services: fee waiver

           SUMMARY :   Establishes free park passes on Memorial Day and  
          Veterans Day for service members and veterans of the Armed  
          Forces.  Specifically, this bill  : 

          1)Entitles California residents who are active duty military  
            personnel for the Armed Forces to free use of state parks on  
            Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

          2)Entitles California residents who are honorably discharged  
            veterans of a war to free day use of state parks on Memorial  
            Day and Veterans Day.

          EXISTING LAW  

          1)Establishes the California State Park system and vests DPR  
            with control of the state park system and responsibility for  
            administering, protecting, developing, and interpreting state  
            parks for the use and enjoyment of the public.  Requires DPR  
            to protect the state park system from damage and to preserve  
            the peace therein.

          2)Includes legislative findings that present funding for state  
            parks has been significantly below the level necessary to  
            fulfill the mission of the California State Park system.   
            Requires that DPR develop a prioritized action plan to  
            increase revenues and collection of user fees at state parks.

          3)Entitles California residents to passes for use of all DPR  
            operated units if such residents are honorably discharged U.S.  
            veterans of war and establish proof of one of the following:  
            having a 50 percent or greater service-connected disability,  
            having been held as a prisoner of war, or having received the  
            Congressional Medal of Honor.  DPR administers the resulting  
            Distinguished Veteran Pass program.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :   Unknown









                                                                  AB 150
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           COMMENTS  :
           
          Author's Statement  : The author states, "Every member of the  
          military, both retired and active, should have free access to  
          our state parks on holidays commemorating their service and  
          valor."  The author states that this bill is a "small way to  
          show our appreciation for their service and sacrifice, while  
          giving them access to enjoy our state's beautiful natural  
          resources."  

          Related Legislation  :  In the current legislative session, the  
          Assembly Veterans Affairs Committee has introduced AB 315, which  
          proposes to extend free pass eligibility to Purple Heart  
          recipients.  AB 531 (Frazier) would require that the Department  
          of Motor Vehicles provide veterans with the opportunity to  
          establish veteran status and to thereby have "VETERAN" printed  
          on their state-issued driver's licenses or identification cards.

           Support Arguments  :  The California State Parks Foundation  
          supports this bill's recognition of veterans and active duty  
          military personnel and views this bill as "a first step toward  
          increasing access for Californians."  Sierra Club California  
          states that this bill will increase access to the State Parks  
          System and will "bring further appreciation for our natural  
          resources and environmental protection."  State and national  
          veterans groups have registered support for this bill, which  
          they view as providing "our brave men and women who have and are  
          serving the chance to enjoy our state parks on the holidays  
          dedicated to honor our heroes."  One individual whose  
          grandfather served in World War II supports this bill's  
          recognition of veterans' national service and states that this  
          bill will provide opportunities for military families to share  
          memorable experiences at state parks.

           Suggested Amendments  : In keeping with the author's intent to  
          extend free park access to all veterans on Memorial Day and  
          Veterans Day, and in order to improve the administration of the  
          resulting program, the Committee may wish to amend the proposed  
          language for Public Resources Code section 5011.6 to read:

                    Notwithstanding Section 5011.5, a veteran  of  
                    a war in which the United States has been,  
                    or may be, engaged  as defined in Military  
                    and Veterans Code section 980  who was  
                    honorably discharged from service , or  








                                                                  AB 150
                                                                  Page  3

                    current active duty military personnel for  
                    the United States Armed Forces, shall be  
                    entitled to day use of any unit of the state  
                    park system on Memorial Day and Veterans Day  
                    if both of the following conditions are met:

                    (a) The veteran  of war  can provide proof of  
                    honorable discharge or general discharge  
                    under honorable conditions, or the active  
                    duty military personnel can provide current  
                    military identification.

                    (b) The veteran  of war  or active duty  
                    military personnel resides in California.

           REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :   

           Support 
           American Legion, Department of California
          AMVETS, Department of California
          California Association of County Veterans Service Officers
          California State Commanders Veterans Council
          California State Parks Foundation
          One Individual
          Sierra Club California
          VFW, Department of California
          Vietnam Veterans of America, California State Council

           Opposition 
           None on file.
           
          Analysis Prepared by  :    Steve Westhoff / W., P. & W. / (916)  
          319-2096