Last month, the 2019 legislative session came to a close. As the last day for Governor Newsom to sign or veto bills approached, clear legislative champions emerged pushing for parks all the way the finish line. We applaud the Governor’s signature on key park bills, while recognizing continued advocacy is needed for parks to remain a priority. As we look ahead and set our policy agenda for 2020, we will build upon the groundwork laid this past session.
Access and equity, park protection, and park funding have been the priority focus for our legislative agenda.
With the signing of Assembly Bill (AB) 209 (Limón), new pathways to the outdoors will be created for California’s youth through a new educational grant program by the California Department of Parks and Recreation. Cheers to Assemblymember Limón for being a true champion for equitable park access.
An exciting win in support of gender equity was achieved through AB 467 (Boerner-Horvath) requiring competitions on state property and public lands to offer equal prize and compensation among all genders.
As author of AB 1680, a coastal access plan for Hollister Ranch in Santa Barbara will be developed, driving forward solutions to ensure this public land is available for all to experience.
A new smoking ban on state parks and state beaches will become law now that Senate Bill (SB) 8 (Glazer) was also signed, hopefully reducing cigarette litter that pollutes these lands.
The Governor signed SB 367 (Hueso) bolstering protection of our coastal resources through education grants and programs. We continue to monitor the state budget to champion the support California state parks need and those who use them.
Unfortunately, not all bills we championed made it off of the Governor’s desk with support. AB 556 (Carrillo) and AB 1578 (Rivas) were vetoed, these would have given more of California’s youth the opportunity to connect with outdoors and green spaces. Even though the life of these bills ended, the need to create pathways to parks for Californians remains urgent.
Our work to increase access to state parks, especially for youth, remains a top priority. Earlier this month, we hosted our first ever policy forum where we announced a new partnership with First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom who will serve as a leading champion of our advocacy campaign, Pathways to Parks. With new and longtime leading champions for parks, along with the proven commitment of Californians, partners and park lovers like you, we know there’s a deep appreciation for and dedication to our parks. As we conclude the year and embark on the important work ahead, we invite you to continue to make your voice heard by joining us on social media at California State Parks Foundation on Facebook and @Calparks on Instagram and Twitter using the #PathwaysToParks, as we build pathways to parks for all.