I introduced AB 1031 in 2017 to establish the Native California Wildlife Rehabilitation Fund. The bill allows taxpayers filing their returns to voluntarily ‘check off’ a specified amount to fund wildlife rescue programs. AB 1031 had bipartisan support and was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown.
California’s non-profit animal rehabilitation organizations rescue sick, injured and orphaned wildlife and provide them with medical treatment, care, protection and nourishment with the ultimate aim of reintroducing them back into the wild. Since they are nonprofits, these organizations rely on voluntary funding to continue to protect and enhance California’s native wildlife.
According to California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham, enactment of AB 1031 and the generosity of California taxpayers have resulted in more than $820,000 in donations to the fund by October of this year. A new competitive grant program has been established by CDFW to support 45 rehab organizations across California, including local organizations like the San Diego Humane Society. These non-profits care for wild animals ranging from bats and raptors to songbirds, fawns, bears, coyotes and many other native species. In 2019, nearly 112,000 orphaned or injured wildlife received care.
To participate, eligible organizations are required to meet specific guidelines. They must document their status as non-profits operating permitted wildlife rehab facilities in compliance with Memorandums of Understanding along with participation in the Wildlife Rehabilitation Medical Database.
As many of you know, animal welfare is a priority for me. I am a trained Project Wildlife Native Songbird Rehabilitator and my experiences raising orphaned or injured songbirds and returning them to the wild has guided me in the legislation I introduce and support. AB 1031 is just one example of bipartisan legislation that can benefit the entire state.