Sierra Citizen Lobbyists Descend on Capitol

Committee Hearing Scheduled on Assembly Bill 84; Budget bills

SACRAMENTO – Dozens of citizen lobbyists from throughout the Sierra Nevada descended on the Capitol on Tuesday urging legislators to support funding for the Sierra Nevada Conservancy and bipartisan legislation creating a Sierra Nevada License Plate.

The third Sierra Citizens Lobby Day in less than a year brought out representatives of fire districts, arts councils, cattlemen and foresters, and private businesses and conservation organizations in a rare and unified effort to encourage legislators to support the Sierra. Nearly 250 Sierrans have participated in the three Lobby Days since March, 2004.

After presentations by Assemblyman John Laird and Jedd Medefind, Chief of Staff for Assemblyman Tim Leslie — bipartisan co-authors of last year's successful Sierra Conservancy legislation and this year's AB 84 creating a Sierra Nevada License Plate — lobbying teams met with 25 legislators and visited the remaining 95 offices throughout the day.

Simultaneously, the Assembly Transportation Committee announced that Assembly Bill 84, creating a Sierra Nevada License Plate, will be heard on March 14. The Senate also announced consideration of the Governor's budget, which includes more than $15 million for the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, on March 14.

Finally, several leading legislators have begun serious work on a resource bond for the 2006 ballot. Assemblymembers Pavley and Wolk and Senator Chesbro are each considering legislation authorizing a bond, similar to Proposition 50 and 40 passed in the last four years.

The Sierra Fund has advocated that at least $300 million be allocated to the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, matching earlier earmarks proposed in SB750 by Senator Machado.