Republicans and Democrats disagree on a lot of issues, but protecting deserts in Southern California doesn’t seem to be one of them.
Legislation was introduced this month in both chambers of Congress, by members of both major parties, with the goal of protecting 716,000 acres of regional desert, adding a swath nearly as big as Rhode Island to regional land that’s already under protection. New protected zones would include off-highway vehicle recreation areas and wilderness, and an expansion of several National Parks.
The identical bills, sponsored by Rep. Paul Cook, R-Yucca Valley, in the House of Representatives and California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat, in the Senate, are the result of years of work with the off-roading community, conservationists and local governments. For different reasons, all of those interests want to see the protections in place.
In 2018, California Governor Jerry Brown signed more than 1,016 Bills into law. Here are 31 bills you should know about that just may impact your life.
Prior to getting to those, quick reminder that those of you crossing bridges, will now pay an extra dollar. Crossing the Bay Bridge is now $7. Bridge fare at Antioch, Benicia-Martinez, Carquinez, Dumbarton, Richmond-San Rafael and San Mateo-Hayward bridges is now $6.
Also going into effect is Proposition 63 which now requires background checks for ammunition purchases and large-capacity ammunition magazine ban. By July 1, 2019, vendors selling ammunition (see AB 156 below) will begin logging and keeping records of ammunition sales.
At a glance: Unlike the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service is not directed by the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1972 to maintain a population of burros.
Death Valley National Park’s 2002 General Management Plan, which went through extensive public review, calls for removing all burros from the park to protect water quality, riparian ecosystems, native plants, and native animals.
Burro populations have increased greatly in recent years. The last burro roundup in Death Valley National Park was in 2005.
Source: Death Valley National Park
New Section 27338 of the Government Code forbids the recordation of a deed or instrument of transfer that does not comply with Section 8560. And it orders the “federal agency wishing to convey federal public lands” to ensure that the instrument complies with the new California law. (Of course, the federal government wouldn’t be seeking the recordation; the transferee would.) All this would be risible grist for a legal comedian’s mill, but the very real penalties, and the costs of having to mount the legal challenge against the State, are daunting. All persons who have land deals pending with the Federal Government are at risk, at the very least, of skittish federal lawyers wondering what their liability could be, for merely carrying out their obligations under federal law, which is to say the supreme law.