Special from CORVA, the California Off-Road Vehicle Association
In 1982, California Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 2397 that created the Off Highway Motorized Vehicle Recreation Program within the Department of Parks and Recreation. This afternoon his office notified the California Off-Road Vehicle Association (CORVA) that the Governor just signed Senate Bill 249 into law. This means that after 35 years, the OHMVR Program is now a permanent part of the California Department of Parks and Recreation dedicated to providing safe and sustainable off-road opportunities in the state.
Prior to the introduction of Senate Bill 249, the California Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Program was set to expire at the end of this year. When Senate Bill 249 was first introduced to reauthorize the Off Highway Motorized Vehicle Recreation program at the start of this legislative session, the California Off Road Vehicle Association and virtually all of our allied off-road enthusiast and business allies objected to a majority of the bill’s content. The same coalition of allied off road organizations introduced our own bill in the Assembly that would have made the OHV program permanent and made no other changes, but that bill was quickly tied up in a legislative “suspense file” that effectively killed it for the year. That action left us only one remaining way to keep the OHV Program from expiring on December 31. We HAD to fix SB 249 and then work to get it passed.
Due in large part to the hard work and actions of CORVA officers working closely with our allied off-road organizations and lobbyists for the off-road community, key legislative leaders listened and instructed the bill’s author and its’ sponsors to engage in a collaborative negotiation process and don’t come back without a workable solution.
CORVA and our many allied off road advocacy groups worked closely with one other to demonstrate the solidarity of our community as we insisted on taking out the mean-spirited and punitive language that would have resulted in destroying California’s off highway recreation program that has been held out as a national model in the rest of the country. It took months of negotiating but thanks to our solidarity in resisting any language that would harm the beneficial aspects of this model OHV program we were able to present our arguments in a logical manner and provide factual information to demonstrate that many of the new proposals in the earliest versions of the bill were only inserted to give certain anti-OHV groups the upper hand in their lawsuits against the state’s OHV program. In the end we convinced the legislature that our program was a positive one for the state, for the users, and for the environment, and it deserves to be made permanent.
The final version of the bill that was sent to the governor on September 15th permanently establishes the OHV Program in California and removes virtually all of the objectionable new studies and burdensome regulations that caused us to object so strenuously to the original versions of the bill.
Thanks to CORVA, our allies, and their lobbyists from the AMA and its’ districts; the ASA; CA 4 Wheel Drive Association; San Diego Off Road Coalition; BRC; our industry allies; the motorcycle dealers and off-road businesses; and numerous other national and regional allies we are now able to celebrate a PERMANENT OHV Program in California going forward. Special thanks are also due to State Parks Director Lisa Mangat and her exceptional staff who worked so hard to help make this happen.
WE APPLAUD THE GOVERNOR’S ACTION TODAY OF SIGNING SB 249 and its’ companion bill SB 159 into law.