Update on Key 2015 Legislation Impacting Boaters

An update on the key 2015 legislation impacting boating interests:

Personal Flotation Devices

AB 638 (Frazier)

RBOC is supporting AB 638 [Frazier], legislation that would enhance safety on the state’s waterways.  The bill would amend Harbors and Navigation Code Section 658.3 to expand the requirement for children under 13 to wear a personal flotation device [PFD] to boats over 26 feet, rather than just boats 26 feet and under.

The requirement to wear a PFD would continue to apply while the vessel is underway, unless the child is either restrained by a harness tethered to the vessel, or is in an enclosed cabin.

RBOC also supports the logical and reasonable provision of AB 638 that would amend the definition of “enclosed cabin” to mean a space on board a vessel that is surrounded by bulkheads or canvass, and covered by a roof.

The following two practical exceptions set forth of Section 658.3 would continue:

(1) This subdivision does not apply to a person aboard a personal watercraft or a person being towed behind a vessel on water skis, if that person is a performer engaged in a professional exhibition, or preparing to participate or participating with authorization pursuant to a United States Coast Guard permit or other permit granted pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 268 in an official regatta, marine parade, tournament, or exhibition.

(2) In lieu of wearing a United States Coast Guard-approved wearable personal flotation device as described in this subdivision, a person engaged in slalom skiing on a marked course or a person engaged in barefoot, jump, or trick waterskiing may elect to wear a wetsuit designed for the activity and labeled by the manufacturer as a water ski wetsuit. A United States Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device as described in this subdivision shall be carried in the tow vessel for each skier electing to wear a water ski wetsuit pursuant to this paragraph.

The bill has passed the Assembly and now proceeds to the Senate for consideration.

Division of Boating and Waterways: oversight committee on invasive aquatic plants

SB 223 (Galgiani)

RBOC is supporting this bill that would require the Division of Boating and Waterways to establish, and designate and provide staff support to, an advisory and oversight committee to evaluate and monitor the activities of the division relating to the management and control or eradication of those plants.

The bill would require the membership of the advisory and oversight committee to include an equitable number of representatives from specified interests and would require the advisory and oversight committee to meet, at a minimum, twice per year and communicate any findings or recommendations to the division

This bill has passed the Senate policy committee and has been placed “on suspense” in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Marine Debris: Removal and Disposal

AB 1323 (Frazier )

RBOC has been supporting this bill but it also inquiring into the amendments made to the bill on May 5.

The bill would exempt from current notice provisions marine debris that constitutes a public nuisance or a danger to navigation, health, safety, or the environment, and would authorize such marine debris to be removed and disposed of immediately, unless the marine debris is whole and the owner of the marine debris is identifiable, in which case the bill would require it to be maintained or stored for 10 days.

The bill would authorize a public entity to recover costs incurred for removal and disposal of marine debris from the owner or other specified persons.

The bill would require the State Lands Commission, on or before January 1, 2017, to adopt best management practices and requirements for salvage of marine debris. 

The bill is on the Assembly Floor [Assembly Third Reading]

 State Parks Revenue Generation

AB 549 (Levine) 

This bill would revise the existing law that requires the Department of Parks and Recreation to report to the Legislature annually on or before July 1 on the revenue distributed to each park district.

The bill would instead require the department to report to the Legislature annually on or before December 31. 

This bill has passed the Assembly and now moves to the Senate for consideration.

Motor vehicle fuel taxes: diesel fuel taxes: rates: adjustments

SB 433 (Berryhill)

This bill would, for the 2016-17 fiscal year to the 2020 -21 fiscal year, inclusive, on or before May 15 of the fiscal year immediately preceding the applicable fiscal year , require the Department of Finance to adjust the motor vehicle fuel tax rate.

This bill is on the Senate Floor (Senate Third Reading)

Property Tax Postponement for Mobilehomes and Floating Homes

SB 477 (Leyva)

This bill would authorize an owner of a mobilehome or floating home, who is a qualified person, to seek postponement of ad valorem taxes under provisions similar to other owners of real property. 

This bill is in the Senate Committee on Appropriations.

County Search and Rescue Costs

AB 896 (Wagner)

This bill would allow counties to seek reimbursement from residents 16 or older for search or rescue costs under specified conditions. 

This bill is on Assembly Third Reading [Assembly Floor].

Renewable Gas Standard

SB 687 (Allen)

This bill would require the state air board to adopt a carbon-based renewable gas standard by June 30, 2016.  The bill would also specify that the ARB is required to ensure a gas seller is making reasonable progress to meeting the compliance periods.

The bill will next be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Bay Delta Conservation Plan: judicial review

SB 772 (Stone)  

This bill would state the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation establishing judicial review procedures for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan. 

This bill has not moved forward this year.