California legislators have passed two bills that extend the state's nationally-renowned off-highway vehicle recreation program and provide more stability for the program's future. S.B. 249 extends the operation of the California Off Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Program indefinitely, eliminating a provision that historically had required periodic reauthorization and making the program permanent within state parks. S.B. 159 provides funding for the program. Without these key pieces of legislation, the program would have ended Dec. 31.
The American Motorcyclist Association was part of a broad coalition that defended the OHV program against opponents who sought its demise. The group worked with legislators for months to rework the originally introduced version of S.B. 249 into an acceptable piece of legislation.
The bills now go to Gov. Jerry Brown, who has until Oct. 15 to sign them into law.
"The California OHV program is a model for the nation," said AMA Western States Representative Nick Haris. "In its original form, S.B. 249 would have dismantled decades of work and ended the most important parts of this critical program. Our revisions provide quality, sustainable, family oriented recreation for citizens and visitors, emphasize environmental sustainability and protection and public safety and include partnerships with federal government agencies that provide OHV opportunities."
The California OHMVR program was created 1971 and signed into law by then Gov. Ronald Reagan. The program operates nine State Vehicular Recreation Areas and provides maintenance grants to many local and federal partner agencies that provide OHV recreation opportunities.