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

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Date Published: 07/03/2019 09:00 PM
SB395:v96#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  July 03, 2019
Amended  IN  Assembly  June 25, 2019
Amended  IN  Senate  April 29, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill
No. 395


Introduced by Senator Archuleta
(Coauthor: Assembly Member Mathis)

February 20, 2019


An act to amend Section 2000.5 of, to add Sections 1023 and 2000.3 to, and to add and repeal Section 2000.6 of, the Fish and Game Code, relating to wild game mammals.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 395, as amended, Archuleta. Wild game mammals: accidental taking and possession of wildlife: collision with a vehicle: wildlife salvage permits.
(1) Existing law delegates to the Fish and Game Commission the power to regulate the taking or possession of birds, mammals, fish, amphibians, and reptiles, except as provided. Existing law provides that the accidental taking of a bird, mammal, reptile, or amphibian by collision with a motor vehicle while the vehicle is being operated on a road or highway is not a violation of law. Existing law authorizes the state or local agency having jurisdiction of a road or highway to remove an accidental take from the road or highway. A violation of the Fish and Game Code is a crime.
This bill would require the commission to establish, in consultation with specified public agencies and stakeholders, a pilot program no later than January 1, 2022, for the issuance of wildlife salvage permits through a user-friendly and cell-phone-friendly web-based portal developed by the Department of Fish and Wildlife 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. The bill would require the commission to prescribe the requirements for applying for and receiving a wildlife salvage permit. The bill would authorize the commission to restrict the roadways where wildlife salvage may be conducted, conducted and the species subject to salvage, and the time or season when salvage may occur, and to regulate any other aspect of the pilot program, as specified. The bill would require the department to implement the pilot program no later than 6 months after the commission establishes the pilot program.
The bill would require a person seeking to obtain a wildlife salvage permit to report certain information relating to the salvage through the department’s web-based portal. The bill would require the department, beginning on the first March 1 after the department implements the pilot program, and each March 1 thereafter, to make available on its internet website data that includes the number of wildlife salvage permits issued, locations of impacts, and species of wildlife.
The bill would repeal these provisions on January 1, 2029.
The bill would define “roadway” and “vehicle” for these purposes and make conforming changes.
By creating criteria for the accidental taking and possession of specified wild game animals, the violation of which would be a crime, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
(2) Existing law vests the Department of Fish and Wildlife with jurisdiction over the conservation, protection, and management of fish, wildlife, native plants, and habitat necessary for biologically sustainable populations of those species.
This bill would require the department to collect and compile information and data on wildlife-vehicle collisions to support certain wildlife conservation efforts. The bill would require the department to develop uniform standards for data collection and dissemination for vehicle-wildlife collisions, as provided. The bill would require a state agency, and would authorize a local agency, to report certain information regarding dead wildlife that it removes from a roadway to the department. The bill would authorize the department to develop or adopt a web-based portal or similar system through which a an agency, entity, or person may report the location of impact and type of animal involved in a vehicle collision if the department determines that the portal or system would be beneficial for the collection of data regarding wildlife-vehicle collisions. a wildlife-vehicle collision. The bill would require the department to share the information and data collected and compiled pursuant to these provisions with relevant state agencies and to make the information and data publicly available on its internet website.
(3) The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

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


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) The department shall 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.
(b) The department shall develop uniform standards for data collection and dissemination for vehicle-wildlife collisions.

(b)

(c) The department may collaborate with the Department of Transportation, the Department of the California Highway Patrol, and other relevant federal, state, or local entities to develop the uniform standards described in subdivision (b) and to obtain wildlife-vehicle collision data.

(c)

(d) (1) A state agency that removes dead wildlife from a roadway pursuant to Section 2000.5 shall report the location and species of the dead wildlife and any additional relevant data required by the department in accordance with the uniform standards developed pursuant to subdivision (b) to the department in a timely manner.
(2) A local agency that removes dead wildlife from a roadway pursuant to Section 2000.5 may report the location and species of the dead wildlife and any relevant information to the department if the data or report meets requirements established by the department. is reported in accordance with the uniform standards developed pursuant to subdivision (b).

(d)

(e) The department may develop a user-friendly and cell-phone-friendly web-based portal, or a similarly functioning system, or adopt an existing portal or system, through which a an agency, entity, or person may report the location of impact and type of animal involved in a vehicle a wildlife-vehicle collision in the state if the department determines that the portal or system would be beneficial for the collection of data regarding wildlife-vehicle collisions. to facilitate the collection of wildlife-vehicle collision data.

(e)

(f) The department shall develop and conduct public education and outreach to the general public in order to promote reporting of dead wildlife along the state’s roadways. roadways and to encourage the use of any wildlife-vehicle collision reporting system adopted or developed pursuant to subdivision (e).

(f)

(g) The department shall share the information and data collected and compiled pursuant to this section with relevant state agencies and make the information and data publicly available in a timely manner on its internet website.

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 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 vehicle while that vehicle is being operated on a roadway is not a violation of this code or a regulation adopted pursuant to this code. Nothing in this section authorizes a person to possess any bird, mammal, reptile, or amphibian accidentally taken by collision with a vehicle as provided in this subdivision. Animals accidentally taken on a roadway may be removed by the state or local agency having jurisdiction over the 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 shall 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, conducted and the species subject to salvage, and the time or season when salvage may occur, 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) The commission shall establish the wildlife salvage pilot program no later than January 1, 2022.
(2) The department shall implement the pilot program no later than six months after the commission establishes the pilot program.
(3) (A) 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) and (c) 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.