State Senate Passes Sierra Conservancy Legislation

At noontime today, the California State Senate passed Assembly Bill 2600, the “Laird-Leslie Sierra Nevada Conservancy Act of 2004.” The bill, authored by Assemblymembers Tim Leslie (R-Tahoe City) and John Laird (D-Santa Cruz) received 21 votes and moves out of the State Senate. In crafting the historic bi-partisan compromise, several amendments were accepted to AB2600 in the Senate Appropriations Committee. These amendments mean that AB2600 will be heard once more on the Assembly Floor for final approval. Previously, AB2600 passed the State Assembly on a bi-partisan vote of 52 – 20. After concurrence in the Assembly, AB2600 has until September 30 to be signed by Governor Schwarzenegger. The Senate floor vote follows an immensely successful “Sierra Nevada Lobby Day” last Wednesday which drew 100 supporters of Sierra Conservancy legislation for a day of lobbying to create the Conservancy. Businesspeople, elected officials and conservation interests also attended an evening Reception, where they met with Insurance Commissioner (and the only statewide officeholder from the Sierra!) John Garamendi, Assemblymembers Tim Leslie and John Laird, State Senators Don Perata, Liz Figueroa and John Vasconcellos, and former Congressman Richard Lehman.