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At the California Wilderness Conference, October 18, 1989


The enactment of Assembly Bill 476, establishing "John Muir Day" is one of the most satisfying events in my career as an elected official. this bill embodies the spirit of the man it honors, John Muir and his crusade to expand America's social consciousness about the wilderness and its protection. The passage of AB 476 is a fine example of Californians effectively using the legislative process.

In November 1987, I received a formal request from the president of the John Muir Memorial Association in Martinez, California to issue a proclamation honoring John Muir on the 150th anniversary of his birth. In December of 1987, Mr. Harold wood, Jr. started working with my office and developed a relationship which continues to endure. His exemplary efforts were a significant component in the successful passage of the John Muir legislation.

Your collective voices were heard by your representatives in Sacramento, and from the day it was introduced on January 11, 1988, ACR 96 was strongly supported during the legislative process. Seventy-four legislators signed on as coauthors of the resolution and it moved through the Legislature in a relatively short period of time. ACR 96 was chaptered by the Secretary of State on April 18, 1988, three days before the sesquecentennial birthday of John Muir.

Since Assembly Concurrent Resolutions do not amend the law, I introduced Assembly Bill 476 in February of 1989 to codify the intent of ACR 96 and establish John Muir's birthday as a permanent, annual, commemorative holiday. Like the resolution upon which it was based, AB 476 moved through the Legislature without a single "no" vote. The new holiday was added to the law of California when the Secretary of State chaptered the measure, Chapter 833, Statutes of 1989. [See now Education Code Section 37222]

AB 476 is the fruition of the efforts of many people -- legislators, agency officials, but mostly, citizens like yourselves who served as the catalyst for the legislative process. I encourage you to remain involved with the lawmaking process. if you know of a need for change in an existing policy, or an area where policy should be developed, let your legislator know of your concerns. thank you for your help and for the honor of serving as the author of this historic legislation.


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