BILL ANALYSIS Ó Senate Appropriations Committee Fiscal Summary Senator Kevin de León, Chair AB 150 (Olsen) - State parks: armed services: fee waiver. Amended: May 24, 2013 Policy Vote: NR&W 9-0 Urgency: No Mandate: No Hearing Date: August 30, 2013 Consultant: Marie Liu SUSPENSE FILE. AS AMENDED. Bill Summary: AB 150 would allow veterans or active duty or reserve military personnel or the National Guard of any state to have free day use of any state park on Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Fiscal Impact (as approved on August 30, 2013): Unknown cost pressures for the potential loss of revenue, potentially in the hundreds of thousands to low millions of dollars annually, to the State Parks and Recreation Fund (special). Background: The average day use for state parks facilities is $12. Veterans and Memorial Day are the highest revenue generating days for the state park system. Existing law entities honorably discharged war veterans with 50 or greater service-connected disability, veterans who were prisoners of war, or recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor to free lifetime access to the state park system. Existing law requires the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) to develop a revenue generation program as an essential component of a long-term sustainable park funding strategy (PRC §5010.7). Proposed Law: This bill would grant active duty or reserve military personnel for the US Armed Forces or the National Guard of any state free use a state park on Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Free use would not apply to those state parks that are not operated by the state or are not accessible with a day use annual pass. The user would be required to provide proof of eligibility. AB 150 (Olsen) Page 1 Related Legislation: AB 315 would make Purple Heart recipients eligible for the Distinguished Veteran Pass. Staff Comments: It is not known how many veterans and active duty personnel currently use state parks on Veterans and Memorial Day, nor is it known to what extent visitation by veterans and active duty personnel might change if free day use was offered. However, given that user fee revenue for FY 2011-12 for the state park system was a little over $90 million for approximately 62 million visitor-days of which approximately 30% is paid use, a half percent drop in visitor-days results approximately in a million dollars of lost revenue. Staff notes that the State Park system continues to operate with a structural deficit with revenues covering approximately half of the system's operating costs. Additionally there are over $1.3 billion in deferred maintenance for the system. Under the direction of the Legislature, DPR is currently developing and implementing plans to increase state park revenues, including increasing paid day use of the parks. Any restriction on to DPR's ability to increase revenues, including the collection of day-use fees, arguably goes counter to recent Legislative direction to increase revenues to improve the fiscal sustainability of the system. Committee amendments: Allow, rather than require, DPR to offer reduced or free day-use of state parks to veterans and active duty personnel on Veterans and Memorial Day.