I introduced AB 1031 in 2017 to establish the Native California Wildlife Rehabilitation Voluntary Tax Contribution Fund. The legislation allows taxpayers filing their returns to voluntarily ‘check off’ a specified amount to fund wildlife rescue organizations throughout the state. However, since the program expires this year, last week I introduced AB 1828 so that the voluntary wildlife rehab fund can continue until 2032.
Since 2018, taxpayers have contributed $2 million through the fund to help support California’s non-profit animal rehabilitation organizations, many of which receive grants through the fund from the Department of Fish and Wildlife, in addition to private donations. Just last year, nearly $320,000 was contributed. These non-profits rescue sick, injured and orphaned wildlife including raptors, songbirds, fawns, bears, coyotes and many other native species. The animals are provided veterinarian treatment when necessary, species appropriate diets, post release monitoring and surveillance along with other care and services. The ultimate aim is to reintroduce the animals back into the wild. The fund also facilitates needed research and habitat conservation for endangered species.
To participate, eligible organizations are required to meet specific guidelines. They must document their status as non-profits operating permitted wildlife rehab facilities along with participation in the Wildlife Rehabilitation Medical Database. More information is available at: https://wildlife.ca.gov/Tax-Donation
Many of you know that I am a trained Project Wildlife Native Songbird Rehabilitator, and that animal welfare is a big priority for me. My experiences raising orphaned or injured songbirds and returning them to the wild has guided me in the legislation I introduce and support. In 2017, AB 1031 passed with wide, bipartisan support. I look forward to a similar outcome this year for AB 1828, so that the California Native Wildlife Rehabilitation Volunteer Tax Contribution Fund can continue its mission protecting California wildlife.