BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    





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          |                                                                 |
          |         SENATE COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES AND WATER         |
          |                   Senator Fran Pavley, Chair                    |
          |                    2013-2014 Regular Session                    |
          |                                                                 |
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          BILL NO: AB 150                    HEARING DATE: June 25, 2013
          AUTHOR: Olsen                      URGENCY: No
          VERSION: May 24, 2013              CONSULTANT: Leonardo Scherer  
          Alves  
          DUAL REFERRAL: No                  FISCAL: Yes
          SUBJECT: State parks: armed services: fee waiver
          
          BACKGROUND AND EXISTING LAW
          Under current law (Public Resources Code (PRC 5011.5), a war  
          veteran who meets specified criteria can apply for and be issued  
          a pass (the "Distinguished Veterans" pass) to use all facilities  
          of the state park system.  These criteria include:
                 California residency
                 Proof of disability, being held captive as a prisoner of  
               war, or being a recipient of a Congressional Medal of  
               Honor,
                 Proof of a honorable discharge from service, and
                 Qualification as a "veteran"

          A veteran, as currently defined, must be an honorably-discharged  
          former member of the Armed Forces of the United States and has a  
          50 percent or greater service-connected disability or was a  
          prisoner of war to take advantage of these benefits.

          PROPOSED LAW
          This bill would allow any active duty or reserve military  
          personnel or any veteran of any of the United States Armed  
          Forces or the National Guard of any state meeting certain  
          criteria to receive a day pass to a state-operated state park,  
          as specified, on Memorial Day and Veterans Day free of charge.

          ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT
          According to the author, "AB 150 will honor current military  
          soldiers and veterans discharged under conditions other than  
          dishonorable or bad conduct [by] our country by providing free  
          admission to California's state parks on both Memorial Day and  
          Veteran's Day."
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          "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."

          The California State Parks Foundation states, "all Californians  
          deserve low-cost access to their state parks. [?] Providing free  
          access for veterans and active military personnel on dedicated  
          days in California is a first step toward increasing access for  
          Californians, and recognizes the contributions of military  
          personnel and families."

          COMMENTS 
           Discounted passes are not unusual.   In addition to veterans,  
          state parks operated by the state offer discounted access passes  
          to the disabled, those receiving qualifying aid and seniors.   
          The Department of Fish and Wildlife also offers reduced or no  
          fee fishing and hunting licenses to recovering military  
          personnel, disabled veterans and other qualified persons.
           
          Any state.   This bill extends the fee waiver to National Guard  
          members of any state, as well as active military personnel.   
          Existing law, as noted above, limits discounts to California  
          residents.
           
          Veterans and Memorial Day are very popular  .  The Assembly  
          Appropriations Committee analysis points out that the two  
          holidays specified in AB 150 are among the most popular days for  
          visiting state parks which adds to the potential fiscal impacts  
          on the already financially-challenged state park system.

           Related Legislation
           AB 315 (Assembly Committee on Veterans Affairs, 2013) would add  
          Purple Heart recipients to those eligible for the Distinguished  
          Veterans pass for state parks (before the Senate Natural  
          Resources and Water Committee)

          SB 1287 and SB 1288 (Harman, 2012) reduced fees on fishing and  
          hunting licenses, respectively, to active military personnel who  
          are recovering service members (c. 409 and c. 410, Statutes of  
          2012).
           
           AB 257 (Anderson, c. 129, Statutes of 2007) eliminated the  
          reduced $3.50 fee requirement for state park passes for veterans  
          and extended eligibility to veterans who received the  
          Congressional Medal of Honor.

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          AB 1651 (Assembly Committee on Veterans Affairs, c. 499,  
          Statutes of 2000) decreased from 70 percent to the current level  
          of 50 percent disability eligibility requirement for the  
          Distinguished Veterans pass. 

          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
          National Guard Association of California
          Rural County Representatives of California
          Sierra Club California
          VFW- Department of California
          Vietnam Veterans of America- California State Council
          4 Individuals
          
          OPPOSITION
          None on file



























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