SCGA Governmental Affairs

PUBLIC GOLF ENDANGERMENT ACT MOVES FORWARD

Friday, January 14, 2022

We have some good news and some bad news. We’ll get the bad news out of the way first; there’s less of it.


AB 672 moved out of both of its two Assembly Committees of reference yesterday – on a 6-2 vote out of Housing & Community Development and a 5-2 vote with one abstention out of Local Government. We fully anticipated this result.

The SCGA embarked upon the ambitious “Save Public Golf” campaign in early December precisely because we were never optimistic about the bill as substantially amended last September 9 dying the same early death as its initial iteration did in 2021 – assuming that author Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) would remain interested in continuing to move it in the wake of her announcement about leaving the legislature at the end of her current term to make a run for the 42nd District Congressional seat. We saw then that it was far more likely than not that the effort to kill or substantially mitigate AB 672 would require a much longer effort.

When the legislature reconvened January 3 we knew within hours that Ms. Garcia remained very interested, as we later discovered in part for political reasons and in part out of genuine conviction about the utility of the bill. She amended the bill substantially yet again within hours of reconvention and got it docketed on the Housing & Community Development Committee almost immediately – evidence of not just seriousness, but serious lobbying of her Assembly colleagues, making it almost a slam dunk that for no other reason than courtesy, her colleagues, at least her Democratic colleagues, would move it out of committee. And they did that yesterday morning. That’s the bad news.

As for the good news, we begin with what happened later yesterday afternoon when the bill was heard by its second committee of reference – Local Government. It passed there as well, but significantly, one Democratic Member (Richard Bloom; D-Santa Monica) made clear that he was reserving the right to vote against it should it come to the Assembly floor and another Democratic member abstained. Mr. Bloom noted that he had heard from many public golfers in his District and then proceeded to reiterate many of the arguments we have made in opposition to the bill, including the one that most engenders golfers’ ire – the singling out of golf and only golf for excommunication from the greater parks community of which it has been an integral part for more than 100 years in California. Both votes augur well for the next steps along 672’s long journey toward law.

And it’s one very long journey! Lots of hoops to get through, each hoop narrower than the previous one. The next hoops in the Assembly involve a trip to the Appropriations Committee, which may take issue with the removal of the $50 million price tag the September 9 version carried in favor of an amount to be determined by later legislative appropriation, one of the features of those January 3 amendments. Or Appropriations may be content to pass that buck to the Budget Committee should the bill get off the Assembly floor, get all the way through the Senate, and then back to the Assembly for appropriation and insertion in the 2022-2023 budget. Then there’s the Assembly floor vote, where at least 2 Democratic members have signaled distress.

Should all of that come to pass, there’s the matter of the Senate, where the truncated calendar that characterizes the consideration of 2-year bills dissolves in favor of the normal order, a much more dilatory process that focuses more on policy and provides more opportunity to provide input to members. And let us add considerably more opportunity to make the arguments that Assembly Member Bloom took to heart to the Senators who serve on the policy committees and the rest of their colleagues. There are only 40 Senators.

What has also been clear in recent weeks is that those thousands of member E-mails have been landing with effect and AB 672 becomes less and less onerous with each set of amendments. Good news on both counts and strong reason to keep those E-mails flowing.

Bottom line: While we were never optimistic about AB 672 fading away early in the 2022 process like it did in 2021, we remain optimistic that when all is said and done, it won’t be signed into law in 2022. But only if the California golf community continues to remain as vigilant as it has for the last 6 weeks – with organizations like the SCGA continuing to work the legislature and rank-and-file golfers keeping those letters, calls and E-mails flowing to legislators. And all of the above engaging the media.

Click here to be taken to the SCGA landing page dedicated to facilitating that rank-and-file engagement.

Click here to view a just released campaign video that highlights the virtues of municipal golf and feel free to share with friends, family, and across social media.

As we’ve been saying for a long time, golf’s fate will be determined as much by what golf does as by what the 90% of the population that doesn’t play golf thinks of us. If they think that the golf course in their neighborhood is an asset to that neighborhood, that neighborhood’s quality of life, and their family’s well-being, bills like 672 will fail and the thinking that animates them will dissipate.

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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 - 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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PUBLIC GOLF ENDANGERMENT ACT IS ALIVE AND KICKING

After pulling AB 1910 from the April 6 docket of the Assembly Local Government Committee, bill author Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) has now set it for a hearing on April 27, which is 2 days before the deadline for bills to pass out of committee. Fiscal bills that don’t pass out of their respective policy committees of reference by the 29th die.

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PUBLIC GOLF ENDANGERMENT ACT SUFFERED A POTENTIALLY FATAL SETBACK TODAY

After sailing through its first policy committee of reference two weeks ago (Assembly Housing & Community Development Committee per a 6-2 vote), AB 1910 was pulled from this morning’s Local Government Committee agenda by its author Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens).

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