Today's Law As Amended

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SB-395 Wild game mammals: accidental taking and possession of wildlife: collision with a vehicle: wildlife salvage permits.(2019-2020)



SECTION 1.
 This act shall be known, and may be cited, as the Wildlife Traffic Safety Act.
SEC. 2.
 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) It is the intent of this act to make available to Californians tens of thousands of pounds of a healthy, wild, big game food source that currently is wasted each year following wildlife-vehicle collisions. Additionally, it is the intent of this act to ease and improve the reporting of where these collisions occur in order to generate the necessary information to develop appropriate prevention strategies, such as wildlife crossings.
(b) Each year it is estimated that over 20,000 deer alone are hit by motor vehicles on California’s roadways. This potentially translates into hundreds of thousands of pounds of healthy meat that could be used to feed those in need.
(c) State law prohibits its citizens from wasting big game meat. Among other things, Section 4304 of the Fish and Game Code prohibits any person at any time from leaving through carelessness or neglect any game mammal or game bird that is in that person’s possession, or any portion of the flesh thereof that is usually eaten by humans, to go needlessly to waste.
(d) Salvageable wild game meat programs are not new in America. However, because of technology, recent legislation in Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska has codified programs that simplify the reporting and permitting process, minimizes direct agency oversight, and creates a seamless stream of pertinent data for state agency managers. This act seeks to provide for a similar regulatory framework in California.
(e) Wildlife in the state of California belong to the people of the State of California.
(f) This act seeks to promote citizen science through public participation in order to guide public safety improvements to help minimize wildlife-vehicle collisions.

SEC. 3.

 Section 1023 is added to the Fish and Game Code, to read:

1023.
 (a) Upon appropriation by the Legislature, the department may develop a pilot program to collect and compile information and data on wildlife-vehicle collisions to support wildlife conservation efforts conducted through regional conservation investment strategies approved pursuant to Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 1850), the Advance Mitigation Program (Article 2.5 (commencing with Section 800) of Chapter 4 of Division 1 of the Streets and Highways Code), or any policy or project implemented to reduce the loss of wildlife from vehicle collisions. The pilot program shall be at a maximum of three geographically dispersed sites identified by the department to be areas of high wildlife-vehicle collisions.
(b) In developing the pilot program, the department may coordinate with other state agencies that remove dead wildlife from roadways to determine the scope of data collected on wildlife-vehicle collisions.
(c) At the conclusion of the pilot program, the department shall report to the commission on the number of wildlife-vehicle collisions identified during the study period, barriers to additional data collection, and the feasibility of creating a statewide wildlife-vehicle collision reporting system. The report shall include an estimate of the costs of implementing the statewide wildlife-vehicle collision reporting system.

SEC. 4.

 Section 2000.3 is added to the Fish and Game Code, to read:

2000.3.
 (a) As used in this chapter, “roadway” has the same meaning as defined in Section 530 of the Vehicle Code.
(b) As used in this chapter, “vehicle” has the same meaning as defined in Section 670 of the Vehicle Code.

SEC. 5.

 Section 2000.5 of the Fish and Game Code is amended to read:

2000.5.
 (a) Notwithstanding Section 219, 2000, or any other provision of  law, and notwithstanding any requirement for a permit or license or other entitlement to take a species, the accidental taking of a bird, mammal, reptile, or amphibian by collision with a motor  vehicle while the that  vehicle is being operated on a road or highway  roadway  is not a violation of this code or a regulation adopted pursuant to this code. For purposes of this section, “highway” means highway as defined by Section 360 of the Vehicle Code and “road” means road as defined by Section 527 of the Vehicle Code.  Nothing in this section authorizes a person to possess any bird, mammal, reptile, or amphibian accidentally taken by collision with a motor  vehicle as provided in this subdivision. However, accidental takes on the road or highway  Animals accidentally taken on a roadway  may be removed by the state or local agency having jurisdiction over the road or highway. roadway. 
(b) This section does not apply to Chapter 1.5 (commencing with Section 2050).

SEC. 6.

 Section 2000.6 is added to the Fish and Game Code, to read:

2000.6.
 (a) (1) Consistent with Section 91.8 of the Streets and Highways Code, the commission may establish a pilot program for the issuance of wildlife salvage permits through a user-friendly and cell-phone-friendly web-based portal to persons desiring to recover, possess, use, or transport, for purposes of salvaging wild game meat for human consumption of, any deer, elk, pronghorn antelope, or wild pig that has been accidentally killed as a result of a vehicle collision on a roadway within California. This permitting process shall be available at no cost to the public.
(2) In developing the pilot program, the commission shall consult with the department, the Department of Transportation, the Department of the California Highway Patrol, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, other relevant public entities, and stakeholders to ensure public health and safety and to ensure the pilot program does not facilitate poaching.
(3) The commission shall prescribe the requirements for applying for and receiving a wildlife salvage permit and set the terms and conditions it deems necessary for the safe recovery, possession, use, and transportation of deer, elk, pronghorn antelope, or wild pig pursuant to a wildlife salvage permit.
(4) The commission shall require a person seeking to obtain a wildlife salvage permit to report through the web-based portal described in paragraph (1), at a minimum, the location, type, and description of the animal salvaged, the date and time of salvage, the basic characteristics of the incident and a description of the vehicle involved, where applicable, and the destination where the carcass will be transported.
(5) The commission may limit the implementation of the pilot program only to certain counties or regions of the state.
(6) The commission may restrict the roadways where wildlife salvage may be conducted and the species subject to salvage, and may regulate any other aspect of the pilot program necessary to ensure the pilot program’s success, to minimize risks to public safety, and to prevent poaching.
(7) A person desiring to salvage the carcass of an animal pursuant to this section shall do so in a manner consistent with Section 21718 of the Vehicle Code.
(8) The commission shall consider and recommend to the department public education and outreach for the wildlife salvage pilot program beyond traditional hunting populations to the general public.
(b) Notwithstanding Section 2000.5, if a person unintentionally strikes and kills a deer, elk, pronghorn antelope, or wild pig on a roadway in California with a vehicle, that person may recover, possess, use, or transport the whole animal and salvage the edible portions of the animal pursuant to a wildlife salvage permit.
(c) Subdivision (b) shall also apply to an individual who encounters an unintentionally killed deer, elk, pronghorn antelope, or wild pig that has been struck with a vehicle.
(d) This section does not authorize an individual to kill an injured or wounded animal for the purpose of salvage. An animal that is severely injured in an accidental vehicle collision may only be salvaged pursuant to this section if it is subsequently killed by the department pursuant to Section 1001 or a law enforcement officer authorized by the department to kill injured wildlife.
(e) (1) Upon appropriation by the Legislature, the commission may establish the wildlife salvage pilot program no later than January 1, 2022.
(2) Upon appropriation by the Legislature, the department shall implement the pilot program no later than six months after the commission establishes the pilot program.
(3) (A) To the extent feasible, the department shall develop and make available to the public the web-based portal described in subdivision (a) for the wildlife salvage pilot program to facilitate participation in the pilot program.
(B) To the extent practicable, the web-based portal shall work with the existing harvest reporting system in use by the department, including identification of the person salvaging the animal.
(C) The department shall work to include data collected from the wildlife salvage pilot program in any other wildlife-vehicle collision data collection efforts, including data collection efforts conducted pursuant to Section 1023.
(f) This section does not authorize the take of wildlife species listed pursuant to the California Endangered Species Act (Chapter 1.5 (commencing with Section 2050)) and Section 670.1 of Title 14 of the California Code of Regulations, or other nongame wildlife, fully protected species, migratory birds, including, but not limited to, waterfowl, and other wildlife species not lawfully hunted.
(g) The state is not liable for any harm, injury, loss, or damage arising out of the recovery, possession, use, transport, or consumption of any wild game animal legally salvaged pursuant to this section.
(h) Beginning on the first March 1 after the department implements the pilot program, and each March 1 thereafter, the department shall make available on its internet website data that includes the number of wildlife salvage permits issued, locations of impacts, and species of wildlife.
(i) Subdivisions (b) to (d), inclusive, shall become operative when the department implements the pilot program.
(j) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2029, and as of that date is repealed.
SEC. 7.
 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.