California Senate Bill 1221, which would ban hunters from using dogs to hunt bears and bobcats, passed the Assembly Appropriations Committee 12-5 last Thursday, Aug. 16. The bill now heads to the Assembly floor for final consideration.
The bill previously passed the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee and the California Senate.
SB 1221 is sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States, the nation’s largest anti-hunting group.
The bill was originally placed on “suspense” by the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Aug. 8—meaning the fiscal impact of SB 1221 was significant enough to warrant further consideration. An analysis of the bill conducted by the Appropriations Committee found that banning the use of hounds to hunt bears and bobcats would likely cost the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) $150,000 annually in lost tag revenues.
However, the analysis also noted that if the state’s 5,700 hound hunters stopped purchasing bear tags altogether (at a cost of $42 for California residents and $270 for nonresidents), then DFG would lose $228,000 in revenue annually. Bobcat tag sales total approximately 3,500 ($15 per tag) and bring DFG about $54,000 in annual revenue.
Despite California’s ongoing fiscal crisis, which also extends to DFG, the Appropriations Committee moved SB 1221 to the Assembly floor. The bill will almost certainly be acted upon before the Assembly goes on final recess Aug. 31. If passed before Sept. 1, Gov. Jerry Brown has until Sept. 30 to sign or veto the bill.
It is imperative that all Californians who value the state’s hunting heritage—not to mention personal freedom—contact their Assemblyman and respectfully urge him or her to OPPOSE SB 1221. Contact information for all Assembly Members is available here: http://apro.assembly.ca.gov/membersstaff.