Senate Leader Atkins’ Bills to Protect San Diego River Watershed, Military Families Pass Senate

May 24, 2022

SACRAMENTO – The California State Senate has passed two bills authored by Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) that will strengthen the San Diego region – SB 1027 to augment protection of the San Diego River watershed, and SB 1041, which would help military service members and families by making permanent a sales tax exemption for the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society.

SB 1027 would expand the jurisdiction of the San Diego River Conservancy (SDRC) to include the entire San Diego River watershed. The bill also revises the makeup of the Conservancy’s governing board, and changes language to honor the cultural importance and significance of the San Diego River Basin to the Kumeyaay people.

“The San Diego River Conservancy has been an incredible custodian of our watershed for more than two decades,” said Pro Tem Atkins. “By expanding the organization’s jurisdiction and allowing it to protect the entire San Diego River watershed, we make it possible for this entire fragile ecosystem to benefit from their responsible management.”

SB 1027 builds upon Senator Atkins’ prior legislation, which further strengthened the San Diego River Conservancy. All three bills were signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown.

  • AB 392, which made the San Diego River Conservancy a permanent agency (2015).
  • SB 214, which strengthened the conservancy’s capacity to protect and enhance the San Diego River watershed (2017).
  • SB 1367, which created a program allowing the San Diego River Conservancy to help protect and enhance the Otay, Sweetwater, and Tijuana rivers (2018).

The Senate also passed SB 1041, which would make permanent the existing sales tax exemption for the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS) and any other thrift store operated by a military welfare society on a military installation.

NMCRS provides financial, educational, and other assistance to members of the United States Navy and Marine Corps, their family members, and survivors. Since 2014, the NMCRS has provided an average of $11 million each year to over 14,000 California-based service members, veterans, and military family members.

“The grants and loans that the NMCRS provides helps thousands of California’s service members and military families who have given so much in the service of this nation,” Pro Tem Atkins said. “By expanding this tax exemption, we can ensure that the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society can continue to provide life-changing services to these families, such as helping them make rent or covering medical expenses.”

AB 163, the current 10-year extension of this tax exemption authored by Pro Tem Atkins in 2013, is set to expire on January 1, 2024. SB 1041 would make the tax exemption permanent ensuring that NMCRS can continue supporting military families across the state for many years to come.

SB 1027 passed 35-0 today and SB 1041 passed 37-0 on Monday, May 23. Both bills now head to the Assembly.


En Español

Toni G. Atkins is President pro Tempore of the California Senate. Having previously served as Speaker of the California Assembly, she began her tenure in the Senate in 2016. As Senator for District 39, she represents the cities of San Diego, Coronado, Del Mar and Solana Beach. Website of President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins: