BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 150
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   April 16, 2013

                       ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON VETERANS AFFAIRS
                                Al Muratsuchi, Chair
                     AB 150 (Olsen) - As Amended:  April 3, 2013
           
          SUBJECT  :   State parks: armed services: fee waiver

           SUMMARY  :   Gives free day-use privileges at state parks to  
          veterans and active duty servicemembers.  Specifically,  this  
          bill  :  

          1)Grants a veteran, as defined in Section 980 of the Military  
            and Veterans Code and active duty or reserve military  
            personnel for the United States Armed Forces, including the  
            National Guard of any state, to day use of any unit of the  
            state park system on Memorial Day and Veterans Day if the  
            following conditions are met:

             a)   The veteran can provide current military identification,  
               or proof of discharge under conditions other than  
               dishonorable or bad conduct, and 

             b)   Active duty, reserve, and National Guard military  
               personnel can provide current military identification.

           EXISTING LAW  : 

          1)Establishes the California State Park system and vests the  
            California Department of Parks and Recreation (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:  








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            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 at this time.

           COMMENTS  :   

          According to the Committee on Water, Parks, and Wildlife:

               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.

          According to the Author:  

               Every member of the military both retired and active should  
               have free access to our state parks on holidays  
               commemorating their service and valor?.This 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.  

          Even though our state and our park system are operating in an  
          austere economic climate, this measure still seems like a  
          worthwhile, meaningful gesture to recognize current and former  
          military members on the days when our country is honoring them  
          with a holiday.  Moreover, although it is somewhat beyond the  
          scope of this analysis, in addition to honoring military members  
          and veterans and facilitating military and veteran families'  
          visits to our parks, this measure, through increased tourism,  








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          might also provide some economic benefit to the communities  
          where the parks are located.

           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.

           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
          Sierra Club California
          VFW, Department of California
          Vietnam Veterans of America, California State Council
          Rural County Representatives of California

           Opposition 
           
          None on file.
           
          Analysis Prepared by  :    John Spangler / V. A. / (916) 319-3550