BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



          SENATE COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS
                             Senator Ricardo Lara, Chair
                            2015 - 2016  Regular  Session

          AB 549 (Levine) - State park system
          
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          |Version: June 30, 2015          |Policy Vote: N.R. & W. 9 - 0    |
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          |Urgency: No                     |Mandate: No                     |
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          |Hearing Date: July 13, 2015     |Consultant: Marie Liu           |
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          This bill meets the criteria for referral to the Suspense File.


          Bill  
          Summary:  AB 549 would make numerous changes to the operations  
          of state parks in regards to contracts, agreements, and  
          donations. This bill would also require the Department of Parks  
          and Recreation (DPR) to develop a statewide policy for the  
          assessment of fees.


          Fiscal  
          Impact:  
           Unknown ongoing staffing costs, potentially minor to the low  
            hundreds of thousands of dollars (special fund*) to review  
            additional agreements and contracts.
           Unknown limited-term staffing costs, potentially minor to the  
            low hundreds of thousands of dollars, (special fund*) to  
            develop the required statewide fee plan.
           Unknown costs, between minor and the low hundreds of thousands  
            of dollars, (special fund*) to hold public meetings outside of  
            regularly scheduled State Park Commission meetings to develop  
            the statewide fee plan.







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           Unknown revenue increases (special fund*) for additional  
            donations and benefits of agreements with DPR.
           Unknown revenue losses (special fund*) for free and reduced  
            costs access and use of state park units, which may be offset  
            by the benefits of agreements.

          * State Parks and Recreation Fund


          Background:  Under existing law DPR is authorized to enter into agreements  
          with qualified nonprofits and contracts with companies for  
          certain services and operations at state parks.
          DPR is required to provide parking facilities for recreational  
          vehicles in all parks which camping is allowed.




          Proposed Law:  
            This bill would make a number of changes to the operation of  
          state parks, particularly in regards to contracts, agreements,  
          and donations. Specifically, this bill would:
           Allow DPR to entire into agreements with qualified nonprofit  
            organizations for the acquisition, installation, and operation  
            of camping cabins or parking for recreational vehicles and  
            associated facilities.


           Expand what DPR may receive as gifts to include buildings,  
            facilities, and other improvements.


           Allow DPR to also enter into agreements with an educational  
            institution or tribal government for the maintenance and  
            operation of a state park unit. 


           Allow DPR to enter into agreements for restoration, repair,  
            educational services, research services, interpretive  
            services, recreational services, or visitor services in  
            addition to agreements for maintenance or operation with  
            specified entities.










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           Allow DPR to provide free or reduced cost access to, and use  
            of, park facilities to entities that have entered into  
            agreements to provide services to the park, so long as the  
            value of the agreement exceeds the value of the park access or  
            use.


           Require DPR to develop a statewide policy for the assessment  
            of fees that balances the state's goal of sustainable revenue  
            generation to support state parks with preserving affordable  
            public access to public lands. In developing this policy, DPR  
            would be required to conduct public workshops and may seek the  
            assistance of the Parks and Recreation Commission. DPR would  
            be required to report to the Legislature on the policy by  
            December 31, 2016.


           Change the date by which DPR must annually report to the  
            Legislature regarding its revenue generation program from July  
            1st to December 31st. 


           Raises the limit of contracts from $500,000 to one million.


           Explicitly subject renewals of concession contracts to  
            competitive bidding requirements.




          Related  
          Legislation:  SB 204 (Pavley) would make a number of changes to  
          the operation of state parks. SB 204 is currently in the  
          Assembly Appropriations Committee.


          Staff  
          Comments:  This bill expands the types of agreements that can be  
          entered into by DPR and with whom. Additionally, this bill  
          explicitly requires that concession contracts be subject to  
          competitive bidding. DPR currently has staff to review both  
          agreements and concession contracts. While DPR has indicated  
          that its existing personnel can absorb the workload increase  








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          under this bill, staff believes the workload costs would be  
          dependent on the number of additional agreements and contracts  
          that are proposed to DPR, which are unknown. If there is a  
          notable increase in the number of agreements or contracts  
          requested, which presumably is the goal since these changes are  
          part of greater efforts at DPR to improve its fiscal  
          sustainability, DPR may need additional personal to enter into,  
          then provide oversight on, contracts and agreements.
          This bill would require DPR to develop a statewide policy for  
          the assessment of fees. While the development of such a plan is  
          within DPR's existing authority, it has not done so. As this  
          bill requires an activity that has not been done already, this  
          bill will result in additional workload to DPR. Staff believes  
          that these costs are unknown but could be between minor and in  
          the low hundreds of thousands of dollars for an additional PY. 


          The bill would require the statewide fee policy to be developed  
          with public meetings. To the extent possible, DPR would use  
          existing Parks and Recreation Commission meetings to meet this  
          requirement. However, given that the bill would require DPR to  
          report to the Legislature on the policy by December 31, 2016,  
          DPR may need to have additional meetings to assure that the  
          meetings on the policy are held in a timely and geographically  
          balanced manner. DPR estimates that each additional meeting  
          would cost $35,000. Staff believes that no more than three  
          additional meetings would be needed.


          This bill would allow DPR to provide free or reduce cost access  
          to, and use of, park and beach facilities to entities that have  
          entered into agreements for the maintenance, operation,  
          restoration, repair, or enhancement of a park unit or beach or  
          to provide research, educational, interpretive, recreational, or  
          visitor services. The free or reduced cost access or use would  
          be required to be less than the value of the agreement, as  
          determined by DPR. Despite this requirement, there may be costs  
          associated with this allowance to the extent that the free or  
          reduced cost access or use displaces full-paying visitors or  
          uses of the park or beach. 


          This bill expands the types of donations that can be received by  
          DPR, thereby potentially increasing revenues to the State Park  








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          and Recreation Fund.




          Proposed Author  
          Amendments:  The author has submitted a number of technical  
          amendments to the committee, including amendments to delete  
          intent language regarding coastal parks and modify the review of  
          contracts that are anticipated to involve investments or sales  
          in excess of $1 million. These amendments will be processed  
          while the bill is on the suspense file.


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