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State lawmakers push recreational uses for Los Angeles River

August 13, 2012 |  4:16 pm

Kayakers and environmental groups would have better access to sections of the Los Angeles River under legislation approved Monday by the state Assembly.

The measure requires the Los Angeles County Flood Control District to provide access to navigable sections of the river where it is suitable for educational and recreational purposes and doesn’t interfere with flood control and water conservation.

"It’s a major step toward governing the river as a river rather than a flood control channel," said Lewis MacAdams, president of Friends of the Los Angeles River.

The flood control district would still have to develop specific policies for improving access under SB 1201, which was written by Sen. Kevin De Leon (D-Los Angeles).

The bill was previously approved by the Senate but goes back to that house for concurrence in some amendments.

The Assembly also gave final approval Monday to a measure that allows drivers to use mobile electronic devices to provide their proof of insurance to police officers during traffic stops. AB 1708 is by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake).

Meanwhile, the Senate on Monday approved a measure making the Pacific leatherback sea turtle the official state marine reptile.

Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) said the population of the turtles has declined 90% in 25 years and AB 1776 will "hopefully reverse the course of their possible extinction." The bill is AB 1776.

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-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

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