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Bills to watch in CA legislature -- hunting

Special Report by Bill Gaines, Gaines & Associates

03/15/15 -- The 2015 Session of the California State Legislature is finally nearing full speed. This Gaines & Associates “Special Report” will provide you with all you need to know regarding the positive bills we are working on behalf of our clients, as well as what challenges California’s hunting and wildlife conservation community will face this year.

For more information on any of the below bills, please contact Gaines & Associates at

This straightforward legislation by freshman Assembly Member James Gallagher (R/03-Yuba City) would repeal the requirement that non-lead ammunition be used for all hunting statewide placed into law by the passage of AB 711.

AB 711, passed into law in 2013, mandates that the Fish and Game Commission adopt regulations which require the use of non-lead ammunition for all hunting statewide by July 1, 2019. The bill further requires that the Commission adopt a phase-in schedule for the non-lead requirement by July 1, 2015. Since the passage of the bill, Gaines & Associates has been actively working with DFW and the Commission to try to minimize the impact on hunters of this severe and biologically unsupported requirement.

AB 395 would delete from state law all of the above provisions which require statewide use of non-lead ammunition. The bill would not, however, delete the requirement that non-lead ammunition be used for big game and coyotes in the California condor range.

Gaines & Associates will very work hard on behalf of our clients in an effort to pass this legislation. However, make no mistake about it; this will be an extremely difficult bill to pass.

Assembly Member Gallagher is a member of our California Legislature Outdoor Sporting Caucus.

AB 395 will first be heard in Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee. The bill has not been scheduled for hearing yet, but will likely be brought up in April.

Current law requires a 10 day “waiting period” before an individual can obtain a firearm that he/she has purchased. AB 462, legislation Assembly Member Shannon Grove (R/34-Bakersfield), is currently a “spot bill” which will eventually be amended to propose a reduction of the firearms 10 day for specified circumstances.

Assembly Member Grove is a member of our California Legislature Outdoor Sporting Caucus.

AB 462 has not yet been assigned to Committee, but will likely be first heard in Assembly Public Safety Committee sometime in April.

  • AB 499 (Cooley) – Archery Hunting: Concealed Firearms Current law prohibits an individual archery hunting for deer from carrying a firearm, with the exception of an active or retired peace officer. This bill by Assembly Member Ken Cooley (D/08-Rancho Cordova) would authorize a person with a conceal carry permit to carry a firearm while archery hunting deer, as long as they do not attempt to take deer with the firearm.

Gaines & Associates, in close coordination with the California Bowmen Hunters/State Archery Association, is considering whether this or future legislation should attempt to legalize any archery hunter to carry a firearm while in the field for protection purposes.

Assembly Member Cooley is a member of our California Legislature Outdoor Sporting Caucus.

AB 499 has not yet been scheduled for hearing, but will be first heard in Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee sometime in April.

AB 665 by Assembly Member Jim Frazier (D/11-Oakley) would prohibit a city or county from passing a local ordinance that prohibits hunting or fishing within their boundary. The bill would provide that the California Fish and Game Commission and the Department of Fish and Wildlife are the only entities that may adopt regulations regarding the taking or possession of fish and game on any lands or waters within the state.

Gaines & Associates is pleased to be working very closely with the sponsors of the bill, California Waterfowl Association, and our clients to pass this much needed legislation to protect hunting and fishing opportunity in our state.

Assembly Member Frazier is Assembly Co-Chair of our California Legislature Outdoor Sporting Caucus. AB 665 has not yet been scheduled for hearing, but will first be heard in Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee sometime in April.

This legislation, authored by Senator Jim Nielson (R/04-Gerber), currently is a “spot bill” which will be soon amended to address the highly controversial “Bobcat Protection Act”.

AB 1213, “The Bobcat Protection Act of 2013”, was passed into law in 2013. For starters, the bill made it illegal to trap any bobcat in the area surrounding Joshua Tree National Park. But the measure also required the Fish and Game Commission to adopt similar prohibitions within, and adjacent to, preserves, state conservancies, and any other public or private conservation areas. Further, the bill urged the Commission to consider additional restrictions and/or prohibitions on the taking of bobcats. Finally, the measure required the Commission to set trapping and shipping tag fees to fully recover the cost of administration and implementation of the program. The Commission began to tackle this emotionally charged topic late last year.

At the December 2014 Commission meeting – in a meeting room jammed with animal-rights activists – DFW staff commented that the law’s requirement that the Commission adopt trapping closures adjacent to other protected areas could require the consideration of over 280 separate closure zones statewide. Stating that the majority of bobcats are trapped in the far northern part of the state and in southern California, DFW commented they were considering a simplified recommendation that would lay out northern and southern California trapping zones which include areas with substantial bobcat trapping records over the last decade. Following lengthy emotional public testimony dominated by those fully opposed to all bobcat trapping, the Commission – on a 3-2 vote – directed Department staff to add a complete statewide closure to the list of options they will consider.

To begin, AB 1213 was passed into law without any documented scientific justification or need. But the Commission has already showed that it may take restrictions on bobcat trapping much further than the law requires. Once amended, SB 457 would propose to stop this emotional madness by amending the law put in place in 2013 by AB 1213.

Although we recognize that this will be a highly difficult bill to get to the Governor’s desk and to get his signature on, Gaines & Associates will work closely with the bill’s authors and our clients to pass this needed legislation.

Senator Nielson is a member of our California Legislature Outdoor Sporting Caucus. SB 457 is also co-authored by several other members of the Caucus.

SB 457 has not yet been scheduled for hearing. The bill will first be heard in Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee sometime in April.

This bill is a “spot bill” introduced by Assembly Member Frank Bigelow (R/05O’Neals) to serve as a placeholder for amendments in the near future that will address the problem of wild pigs and the severe damage they do to public and private lands throughout the state.

During the 2014 Session, Assembly Member Bigelow authored AB 2668, similar legislation that dove deeply into the management of wild pigs in California, and included proposed changes such as eliminating pig tags in exchange for an annual pig stamp and consideration of 24 hour-a-day legal hunting. Last year, Bigelow staff spent countless hours working with Gaines & Associates, landowner groups,

Department of Fish and Wildlife staff and other stakeholders on all sides of this issue in an effort to reach consensus. When time ran out, Assembly Member Bigelow pulled AB 2668 from consideration with a commitment that he would bring back similar legislation in the 2015 Session.

On behalf of our client’s interests, Gaines & Associates will be heavily involved in the discussions regarding this issue again this year.

Assembly Member Bigelow is a member of our California Legislature Outdoor Sporting Caucus.

AB 290 will first be heard in Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee. The bill has not been scheduled for hearing yet, but will likely be brought up in April.

Gaines & Associates is active wherever decisions are being made which may impact wildlife conservation, your outdoor traditions, your outdoor investment or your rural lifestyle. Gaines and Associates keeps clients current on all issues of concern at all political levels via their “Issues and Status Reports” which are released to clients on a regular “as necessary” basis. For more information on other issues, or how Gaines and Associates can also help you protect your outdoor investment and interests, contact them at

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