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AB-1544 Hunting: nonlead ammunition.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 03/28/2017 09:00 PM
AB1544:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  March 28, 2017

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 1544


Introduced by Assembly Members Dahle and Mathis

February 17, 2017


An act to amend Section 3004.5 of the Fish and Game Code, relating to hunting.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1544, as amended, Dahle. Hunting: nonlead ammunition.
Existing law requires the use of nonlead centerfire rifle and pistol ammunition, as determined by the Fish and Game Commission, when taking big game with a rifle or pistol, and when taking coyote, within the California condor range. Existing law further requires, as soon as is practicable, but by no later than July 1, 2019, the use of nonlead ammunition for the taking of all wildlife, including game mammals, game birds, nongame birds, and nongame mammals, with any firearm, and requires the commission to promulgate regulations by July 1, 2015, that phase in the requirements of these provisions. Existing law requires the latter prohibition to be suspended for a specific hunting season and caliber if the Director of Fish and Wildlife finds that nonlead ammunition of that specific caliber is not commercially available from any manufacturer because of federal prohibitions relating to armor-piercing ammunition.
This bill would instead require the director commission to temporarily suspend the latter prohibition for a specific hunting season and caliber if the director commission finds that nonlead ammunition of the specific caliber is not commercially available for any reason. The bill would require the commission, on or before January 1, 2019, to adopt criteria to determine when nonlead ammunition is not available for purposes of this provision and would require those criteria to include regional availability and cost of nonlead ammunition. The bill would prohibit a suspension from remaining in effect for longer than 3 years. The bill would require the director commission to make any finding that nonlead ammunition is not commercially available or publicly available on the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s its Internet Web site.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 3004.5 of the Fish and Game Code is amended to read:

3004.5.
 (a) (1) Nonlead centerfire rifle and pistol ammunition, as determined by the commission, shall be required when taking big game, as defined in the department’s mammal hunting regulations (Section 350 of Title 14 of the California Code of Regulations), with a rifle or pistol, and when taking coyote, within the California condor range.
(2) For purposes of this section, “California condor range” means:
(A) The department’s deer hunting zone A South, but excluding the Counties of Santa Cruz, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo, and San Joaquin, areas west of Highway 101 within the County of Santa Clara, and areas between Highway 5 and Highway 99 within the Counties of Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare, and Kern.
(B) Areas within deer hunting zones D7, D8, D9, D10, D11, and D13.
(3) The requirements of this subdivision shall remain in effect in the California condor range unless and until the more restrictive nonlead prohibitions required pursuant to subdivision (b) are implemented.
(b) Except as provided in subdivision (j), and as soon as is practicable as implemented by the commission pursuant to subdivision (i), but by no later than July 1, 2019, nonlead ammunition, as determined by the commission, shall be required when taking all wildlife, including game mammals, game birds, nongame birds, and nongame mammals, with any firearm.
(c) (1) The commission shall maintain, by regulation, a public process to certify ammunition as nonlead ammunition, and shall define, by regulation, nonlead ammunition as including only ammunition in which there is no lead content, excluding the presence of trace amounts of lead. The commission shall establish and annually update a list of certified ammunition.
(2) The list of certified ammunition shall include, but not be limited to, any federally approved nontoxic shotgun ammunition.
(d) (1) To the extent that funding is available, the commission shall establish a process that will provide hunters with nonlead ammunition at no or reduced charge. The process shall provide that the offer for nonlead ammunition at no or reduced charge may be redeemed through a coupon sent to a permitholder with the appropriate permit tag. If available funding is not sufficient to provide nonlead ammunition at no charge, the commission shall set the value of the reduced charge coupon at the maximum value possible through available funding, up to the average cost within this state for nonlead ammunition, as determined by the commission.
(2) The nonlead ammunition coupon program described in paragraph (1) shall be implemented only to the extent that sufficient funding, as determined by the Department of Finance, is obtained from local, federal, public, or other nonstate sources in order to implement the program.
(3) If the nonlead ammunition coupon program is implemented, the commission shall issue a report on the usage and redemption rates of ammunition coupons. The report shall cover calendar years 2008, 2009, and 2012. Each report shall be issued by June of the following year.
(e) The commission shall issue a report on the levels of lead found in California condors. This report shall cover calendar years 2008, 2009, and 2012. Each report shall be issued by June of the following year.
(f) The department shall notify those hunters who may be affected by this section.
(g) A person who violates any provision of this section is guilty of an infraction punishable by a fine of five hundred dollars ($500). A second or subsequent offense shall be punishable by a fine of not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) or more than five thousand dollars ($5,000).
(h) This section does not apply to government officials or their agents when carrying out a statutory duty required by law.
(i) The commission shall promulgate regulations by July 1, 2015, that phase in the requirements of this section. The requirements of this section shall be fully implemented statewide by no later than July 1, 2019. If any of the requirements of this section can be implemented practicably, in whole or in part, in advance of July 1, 2019, the commission shall implement those requirements. The commission shall not reduce or eliminate any existing regulatory restrictions on the use of lead ammunition in the California condor range unless or until the additional requirements for use of nonlead ammunition as required by this section are implemented.
(j) (1) The director commission shall temporarily suspend the prohibition in subdivision (b) for a specific hunting season and caliber if the director commission finds that nonlead ammunition of the specific caliber is not commercially available for any reason, including, but not limited to, federal prohibitions relating to armor-piercing ammunition pursuant to Chapter 44 (commencing with Section 921) of Title 18 of the United States Code. The commission shall, on or before January 1, 2019, adopt criteria to determine when nonlead ammunition is not available for purposes of this subdivision and shall include in those criteria regional availability and cost of nonlead ammunition.
(2) A suspension instituted pursuant to paragraph (1) shall remain in effect for no longer than three years.

(2)

(3) The director commission shall make any finding made pursuant to paragraph (1) publicly available on its Internet Web site.

(3)

(4) Notwithstanding a suspension instituted pursuant to paragraph (1), nonlead ammunition shall be used when taking big game mammals, nongame birds, or nongame mammals in the California condor range.