BREAKING NEWS: Conservancy Bill Moves Forward with BiPartisan Support

In a surprising and heartwarming turn of events, Assemblymembers John Laird and Tim Leslie today jointly asked the members of the Senate Natural Resources Committee to pass a single bill creating a Sierra Nevada Conservancy. In a packed hearing room the Committee heard testimony from the Sierra Cascade Land Trust Council, the Trust for Public Land, the Planning and Conservation League, and the Sierra Business Council about the importance of the Conservancy bill to both the region and the state. Assemblymembers Laird and Leslie, who had earlier introduced separate pieces of Conservancy legislation, announced to the Committee their optimism that a final bipartisan bill can be agreed upon within the next few weeks. Both authors agreed that they found common ground around key issues including boundary and governance. The remaining differences center on the composition of the governing board and the degree of involvement of local government in the state conservancy. The final vote was 5 – 2, with Senators Oller and Hollingsworth opposing.