Bi-Partisan Agreement pushes Conservancy bill to the Senate Floor

The two members of the State Assembly authoring different versions of legislation creating a Sierra Nevada Conservancy announced an historic accord yesterday, announcing a single Conservancy bill entitled the “Laird-Leslie Sierra Nevada Conservancy Act of 2004.”

The announcement of a bi-partisan Sierra Conservancy bill — known as Assembly Bill 2600 — came as members of the State Senate Appropriations Committee passed the Conservancy bill on a 7 – 5 vote. The bill will now be scheduled for a vote on the floor of the State Senate, and will return to the Assembly floor for concurrence with amendments, by August 30. The Governor has until September 30 to sign the Sierra Conservancy into law.

Members Leslie and Laird have worked diligently throughout the year to find a compromise on several areas of previous conflict, including boundries and governance. The amended AB2600 represents those efforts, and includes a larger Sierra region that extends from the Oregon border to southern California.

The Sierra Conservancy will represent an area that includes nearly one quarter of the state's land mass and 65 percent of the state's water supply — more land or water than any of the state's 8 existing Conservancies.