(Sacramento, CA) - This week, Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo’s (D-Los Angeles) package of parks access bills, Assembly Bills (AB) 2614 and 2615, were approved in Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife and Assembly Transportation Committee respectively with bipartisan support.
“So many young people from disadvantaged communities, in both urban and rural areas, never experience the natural wonders of California. Whether it is just a few miles away to the beach like in my district, or a couple of hours to Yosemite, our youth deserve the opportunity to experience all that our state has to offer. AB 2614 would close the gap so that kids get this chance,” said Assemblymember Carrillo. “Additionally, Californians often live within sight of our beautiful state parks but can’t reach them. My AB 2615 could fix that by prioritizing the need for bicycle and pedestrian parks access. All Californians should be able to get to our parks easily so they can enjoy and benefit from our outdoor spaces. This package of bills brings us one step closer.”
Specifically, AB 2614 would require the Natural Resources Agency to track the availability of outdoor experiences for disadvantaged youth in a school district and create a grant program to encourage access to these experiences with the goal of improving the overall health and well-being of these youth. AB 2615 would require the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), to partner with appropriate public agencies and any regional or local public entity, to develop strategies to maximize safe and convenient access for bicycles and pedestrians to federal, state, regional, and local parks near or connected to the state highway system.
Calvin Lyons, President & CEO, Boys & Girls Club of Metro Los Angeles remarked, “It was an absolute delight to see the faces of our underserved youth as they enjoyed one of our recent outings. Through an invitation from one of our partnering Clubs, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Los Angeles’ youth enjoyed the benefit of accessing local beaches and learning how to operate full size sailing vessels! According to them, the event was the highlight of the year and the responsibility with which they were entrusted, along with the added instruction regarding their accountability to protect our waterways, was incomparable!”
He added, “The lack of transportation and funding to provide this opportunity to more deserving youth was extremely disheartening as many of our youth live within a 30 minute drive from the ocean and had never seen it with their own eyes! I stand with Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo as AB 2614 enhances disadvantaged youth with access to outdoor experiences.”
“I was honored to join Assemblywoman Carrillo in support of AB 2614 and applaud her leadership to improve access to the outdoors, especially for California’s disadvantaged youth,” said Holly Martinez, Director of Programs and Advocacy at the California State Parks Foundation. “For many families, particularly those of modest economic means, lack of reliable transportation and lack of knowledge about programs and services that are available at parks and open spaces are overwhelming barriers. This bill attempts to explore one of the many pathways to parks, transportation opportunities through school districts.”
Juan Altamirano, Associate Director of Policy for Audubon California stated, “Everyone should be able to enjoy California’s incredible outdoors. Audubon California applauds Assemblymember Carrillo for her leadership in promoting these bills that take important steps toward breaking the access barriers Californians face with regard to parks and natural lands.”
AB 2614 will next head to the Assembly Appropriations Committee for a vote in the coming weeks.
AB 2615 will next head to the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee for a vote in the coming weeks.
Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo was elected to the 51st Assembly District in December of 2017. She is a member of the Rules, Appropriations, Public Safety, Health and Water Parks & Wildlife Committees. Carrillo represents the people of East Los Angeles, Northeast Los Angeles, and the neighborhoods of El Sereno, Echo Park, Lincoln Heights, Chinatown and parts of Silver Lake.
CONTACT: Alicia.Isaacs@asm.ca.gov (916) 319-2051