SCGA Public Affairs


Wednesday, April 10, 2024

AB 3192 – Rest in Peace Maybe

Every year there seems to be one bill filed in one house of the California Legislature that keeps the California golf community up at night. This year’s version is AB 3192 (Muratsuchi; D-Torrance). Among many other things AB 3192 places a 100% ban on the use of all non-organic pesticides and fertilizers on “golf resorts” in the California Coastal Zone. We believe the way the bill defines “golf resort” ensnares PGA Tour and major professional and college championship sites such as Pebble Beach, Torrey Pines, and Omni La Costa in its proscriptions. It ensnares some prominent golf facilities in Orange and San Mateo Counties as well.

We can sleep again, maybe.

AB 3192 appeared to have failed to make it past its first committee of reference yesterday when it fell one vote short of the six votes necessary to move out of the 11-member Natural Resources Committee and on to its second committee of reference, the Assembly Judiciary Committee. Because the three Republican members of the Committee were declared “no” votes in advance of the meeting, six of the eight Democratic members needed to vote “aye” for the bill to move. However, three of them stayed off the bill – Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland), Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg), and Gail Pellerin (D-Santa Cruz). Significantly, Buffy Wicks is Chair of the powerful Appropriations Committee and Jim Wood is Speaker Pro Tempore.

We say, “appeared to have failed,” because it now appears that sometime well after the members departed the committee room, bill author Muratsuchi was granted reconsideration and is likely trying to convince one of his colleagues who stayed off the bill to switch his or her vote to aye and move the bill forward to Judiciary.

The allied California golf community in the form of the California Alliance for Golf (CAG) worked with myriad other interests to inform legislators of the unnecessary and unintended consequences of a total ban on all non-organic inputs at these golf facilities, one of which is set to host five (5) United States Open Championships (three men & two women) in the next 16 years. We were in the process of moving forward an amendment that would have allowed for measured and regulated use of certain non-organic fertilizers and pesticides when the bill apparently failed to move. Should it indeed move on reconsideration, we remain optimistic that some form of this amendment, which had already gained considerable traction, can move forward with it. In any case, what happened at yesterday’s Natural Resources Committee hearing doesn’t bode well for the ultimate success of the bill.

Other than a pair of Assembly-Senate bills that propose making California a year-round Standard Time state, the rest of the game’s Sacramento agenda is all about support of certain bills – in particular one (AB 2947) that would encourage the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) to provide funding for turf conversion in addition to turf removal and another (AB 2285) that would focus more funding on parks, green spaces, and recreational amenities in the state’s dense urban areas. AB 2947 dovetails with golf’s ongoing conversations with multiple water wholesalers and retailers in Southern California – conversations that for the most part have been well received and productive. AB 2285 dovetails with the game’s increasing passion for providing overt support for those municipal and developmental golf courses that are in the state’s “underserved” communities and are the literal staging grounds for almost all of the game’s growth, sustenance, and diversification programs.

Archived Updates

Opposition to Assembly Bill 1910

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CGCOA Golf is Good Ambassador Program

Are you interested in becoming an advocate for golf in California? The CGCOA is seeking amateur golfers who are passionate about protecting the game of golf and promoting public policies that enable golf to flourish in California. Take the next step to becoming an advocate for golf by completing the attached Golf is Good Ambassador Application.

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FORE - Public Affairs

FORE - The magazine of the SCGA. Find archived Public Affairs articles on the website of the SCGA's award winning quarterly publication.

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It isn’t often that one bill can highlight all that separates one side of California’s great water divide from the other – from those interests fixated on conservation as the focus of future supply and those intent on pursuing a more diversified portfolio – from those who are often accused of believing that California can conserve its way out of its aridification predicament and those who are convinced that if conservation is the only tool in the state’s water resiliency toolbox, California is doomed to be hollowed out in much the same way rust belt cities like Pittsburgh and Detroit were in the last quarter of the 20th Century.

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Charles Dickens’ famous opening of “A Tale of Two Cities” comes to mind as a good descriptor of where California’s water situation and golf’s place in it stands after back-to-back record precipitation years: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...".

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Four Los Angeles City Council members introduced a motion yesterday that seeks to crack down on what the motion describes as “black-market tee time brokers” who book and resell city golf course tee times for profit.

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When introduced by Assembly Member Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) February 16, AB 3192 contained a provision that would have banned the use of all nonorganic pesticides and fertilizers on golf resorts in California’s Coastal Zone.

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A cautionary tale from semi-rural Santa Barbara County to remind you that the pressure to repurpose golf courses is not just a phenomenon in California’s densely packed urban cores.

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The National Golf Course Owners Association’s (NGCOA) Harvey Silverman may have characterized the City of Los Angeles’ uncommonly quick reaction to intense media scrutiny (five separate Los Angeles Times stories including a Sunday lead editorial) of the depredations of tee time brokering with his quip in the organization’s “Golf Business Weekly” about the city having reacted “faster than fixing potholes.”

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Every year there seems to be one bill filed in one house of the California Legislature that keeps the California golf community up at night.

Read More →