in the KNOWN

In the Know Newsletter

November 16, 2016

DPR Proposes New Regulations for Pesticide Use: Join Us in Expressing Opposition

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) recently released a proposed regulation to impose extensive restrictions on the use of agricultural pesticides within a quarter-mile of K-12 public schools and licensed childcare centers. Ag Council opposes the proposed rule and is asking DPR to take into account the significant regulatory protections already in place in California.

If this regulation is allowed to take effect in September 2017, certain pesticide applications will be prohibited within a quarter-mile of school sites and additional notification will be required of other pesticide applications.

Join us in expressing opposition to DPR about this proposal by going to Ag Council’s Action Center by clicking HERE to easily send a letter. The deadline to comment is December 9, 2016.

Ag Council Concerned ARB Proposal Shifts Emissions Out of State

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) recently held a workshop on the post-2020 cap-and-trade program and also released the proposed post-2020 allowance allocation. Ag Council and Dairy Institute submitted stakeholder comments this month to express concern regarding the proposed changes.

Currently, ARB provides assistance to businesses in the program to minimize leakage by providing some emissions allowances at no cost. These free allowances are allocated to help cover the cost of complying with the climate program and reduce the chance that emissions shift to other states. ARB’s new proposal would significantly reduce the amount of free emissions allowances provided; thereby, increasing costs for our members who participate in the program and making them less competitive in domestic and international markets.

Ag Council continues to engage with ARB staff on this issue and will keep members updated with any news about the cap-and-trade program.

Click HERE to read Ag Council’s letter to ARB.

CDFA Dairy Digester Stakeholder Meetings Begin this Week

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is hosting three public stakeholder meetings and one webinar in November to discuss the Dairy Digester Research and Development Program (DDRDP). CDFA is looking to hear from a broad group of stakeholders including: dairy farmers, project developers, local community members and the general public.

CDFA is receiving $50 million from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, which is collected through cap-and-trade auction proceeds. The funds will be awarded to dairy producers and others through a competitive grant process and will provide financial assistance for dairy digesters and other manure management practices. The ultimate purpose of the funding is to help dairies and livestock operations manage manure and nutrients to address air and water quality concerns, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and produce renewable energy, fertilizer, and other value-added products.

Ag Council encourages interested dairy members to attend one of the public meetings listed below:

Thurs., Nov. 17 from 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
California Centers for International Trade Development,
ROOM 308, Building B
State Center Community College District
390 W. Fir Ave., Ste. 303, Clovis, CA 93611

Mon., Nov. 21 from 1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
California Department of Food and Agriculture
1220 N Street, Auditorium
Sacramento, CA 95814

Tues., Nov. 22 from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
University of California Cooperative Extension Stanislaus County
3800 Cornucopia Way, Room: HI
Modesto, CA 95358

Wed., Nov. 30 from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. WEBINAR – To register, email cdfa.oefi@cdfa.ca.gov, and webinar information will be emailed to you.

Click HERE to read more about the program.

November 9, 2016

Snapshot of State Legislative Election Results

election-2016It’s been a contentious and, at times, acrimonious 2016 election. With the dust settling, we can gain some perspective and assess the outcome, although a couple of close state races remain pending. In the State Legislature, the election results reveal Assembly Democrats achieved the anticipated two-thirds supermajority. The Assembly supermajority gives Democrats the potential to more easily pass tax increases, approve changes to ethics rules and place constitutional amendments on the statewide ballot. However, it is yet to be determined whether the two-thirds supermajority will have a significant impact on policy issues in the Assembly chamber.

Moderate Democrats won several, though not all, of the contested Democrat versus Democrat races and an overview is provided below. By harnessing their votes, the business friendly Democrats could possibly change outcomes in the Assembly when difficult votes arise, and 2017 is an opportunity for them to exercise greater influence.

In the Assembly, two Republican incumbents lost their election, David Hadley in Los Angeles County and Eric Linder in Riverside County. Another incumbent GOP Assembly member, Young Kim, awaits the outcome of a very close race in Orange County. Catherine Baker, the only GOP member of the Legislature in the Bay Area, won her race decisively.

On the State Senate side, the election of Democrat Bill Dodd representing Napa, Sonoma and Davis adds another needed voice in the Senate that understands agriculture, which is welcomed along with other pro-agriculture Democrat senators such as Cathleen Galgiani, Steve Glazer, Mike McGuire, and Richard Roth. Democrats retain a majority in the Senate; however, it is not a supermajority at this point pending the outcome of a race in Southern California, which is currently leaning in favor of the Republican. In that race, Ling Ling Chang is holding onto a lead in the close contest to represent a district comprising Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Orange County. Senate candidate Scott Wilk helped the GOP hold onto a Los Angeles County and San Bernardino County district with a win on November 8.

As we move toward 2017, Ag Council will continue to work on pragmatic solutions with a politically balanced approach, which is in the farming community’s best interest.

Read on for the outcomes of several of the contentious and most-watched legislative races in California. Please note this is not a comprehensive list of all legislative races.

Assembly Districts Switching from GOP to Democrat
With the two Assembly districts listed below flipping from Republican to Democrat, the Assembly Democrats will hold a two-thirds supermajority in that chamber when the Legislature reconvenes.

Assembly District 60
Sabrina Cervantes (D) WON – 52%
Eric Linder (R) INCUMBANT LOST – 48%

Assembly District 66
Al Muratsuchi (D) WON – 53%
David Hadley (R) INCUMBANT LOST – 47%

Races Still Too Close to Call
In the very close races below, provisional and absentee ballots are still being counted, and the races are not yet final.

Senate District 29 – undecided race
Ling Ling Chang (R) – 51%
Josh Newman (D) – 49%

Assembly District 65 – undecided race
Sharon Quirk Silva (D) – 50%
Young Kim (R) INCUMBANT – 49%

Competitive Races Won by GOP Candidates (not a complete list)
Assembly District 16
Catherine Baker (R) INCUMBANT WON – 56%
Cheryl Cook-Kallio (D) LOST – 44%

Assembly District 40
Mark Steinorth (R) INCUMBANT WON – 52%
Abigail Medina (D) LOST – 48%

Assembly District 35
Jordan Cunningham (R) WON – 55%
Dawn Ortiz-Legg (D) LOST – 45%

Assembly District 37
Dante Acosta (R) WON – 53%
Christy Smith (D) LOST – 47%

State Senate District 21
Scott Wilk (R) WON – 55%
Johnathon Levar Ervin (D) LOST – 45%

Democrat versus Democrat races (not a complete list)
Senate District 3 – Moderate candidate won
Bill Dodd (D) WON – 59%
Mariko Yamada (D) LOST – 40%

Assembly District 14 – Moderate candidate won
Tim Grayson (D) WON – 62%
Mae Torlakson (D) LOST – 38%

Assembly District 27 – Moderate candidate lost
Ash Kaira (D) WON – 52%
Madison Nguyen (D) LOST – 48%

Assembly District 39 – Moderate candidate won
Raul Bocanegra (D) WON – 61%
Patty Lopez (D) LOST – 39%

Assembly District 47 – Moderate candidate lost
Eloise Reyes WON – 53%
Cheryl Brown INCUMBANT LOST – 47%

Click HERE to view additional election results on the California Secretary of State’s website.

November 4, 2016

Pres. Obama Endorses Assembly Candidates in Effort to Influence Tight Races

State Capitol

State Capitol

With only a few days until the November 8 election, President Barak Obama recently endorsed three State Assembly candidates competing in tough races in California. The endorsed candidates are: Cheryl Cook-Kallio (Alameda and Contra Costa Counties), Al Muratsuchi (Los Angeles County) and Abigail Medina (San Bernardino County). The three Democrats are running against vulnerable GOP candidates in swing districts.

These and several other legislative races will determine whether Assembly Democrats will hold a two-thirds supermajority, which is 53 votes out of 80, after the election. Democrats in the Assembly only need to gain one additional seat to acquire a supermajority, and it is widely anticipated this will occur. A supermajority allows for easier passage of tax hikes, changes to ethics rules and the placement of constitutional amendments on the statewide ballot because Democrats would hold the two-thirds majority of votes required to pass such measures.

Read on to learn more about the competitive races where President Obama has chosen to weigh-in.

Incumbent Republican Catherine Baker is facing a challenge from Cheryl Cook-Kallio in Assembly District 16, which comprises parts of Contra Costa County and Alameda County. Baker is a key target this year given that she is the only Bay Area Republican in the Legislature. The race is the most expensive Assembly race in 2016. Baker received the endorsement of the San Francisco Chronicle and is a prolific fundraiser. In addition to the endorsement from President Obama, Cook-Kallio has strong support from unions and Democrat leaders.

After beating Democrat Al Muratsuchi by just over 700 votes in 2014, incumbent Republican David Hadley is in tight race to hold onto Assembly District 66 in Los Angeles County. This is another expensive race and both Hadley and Muratsuchi have raised millions each to win the seat. Muratsuchi is working to try and link Hadley to GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump. Muratsuchi is receiving broad support from Democrats throughout the state, in addition to President Obama’s endorsement.

Democrat Abigail Medina, a local school board member, took the top spot in the primary election by a few percentage points against incumbent Republican Mark Steinorth in this San Bernardino district. The Democrats chose to target Assembly District 40 because GOP registration has diminished over the past few years. Medina received an endorsement from President Barak Obama and also has support from: California Governor Jerry Brown, Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, and Attorney General Kamala Harris, among others.

Vote No on Prop 53 and Prop 55

Ag Council’s Board of Directors recommends opposition to both Prop 53 and Prop 55 on the November ballot. Ag Council joins a broad and diverse bipartisan coalition of more than 275 groups opposed to Prop 53 as it would require statewide voter approval for state revenue bonds totaling more than $2 billion for a project that is funded, owned, or managed by the state. The measure will take away local control and could threaten water, road and other vital infrastructure projects needed to support our agricultural community.

Ag Council also opposes Prop 55 given that it would extend through 2030 the temporary personal income tax rate increases approved by voters in 2012 for the purpose of funding education and health care. Ag Council believes the temporary taxes should be allowed to expire as scheduled at the end of the 2018 tax year.

To read a deeper analysis of both Prop 53 and Prop 55, click HERE.

2016 Legislative Wrap-Up

This year, the California State Legislature sent Governor Jerry Brown 1,059 bills, and he signed 900 of those bills while vetoing 15 percent, which is a slightly higher veto rate than previous years. Though 2016 has been a challenging year on the legislative front, particularly with the measure to change agricultural overtime requirements among the 900 bills signed into state law, some positive actions did occur this year.

Ag Council was engaged in and helped seek passage of SB 1383 by Senator Lara (D-Bell Gardens). The methane portion of the bill creates needed parameters around the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) efforts to regulate manure methane emissions from dairies and livestock and gives more certainty to dairy farming families in the state. In addition, the Joint Legislative Audit Committee approved Ag Council’s audit request, championed by Senator Galgiani (D-Stockton), to determine compliance and enforcement of the Buy American requirement in schools under the jurisdiction of the California Department of Education and participating in the school lunch and school breakfast programs.

2016 also included defensive wins to halt legislation harmful to agriculture and prevent such bills from becoming law. Ag Council and others worked together to stop legislation to further restrict pesticides, actively lobbied to prevent a ban on new groundwater wells in certain areas and successfully advocated against a food labeling measure requiring a food quality date. These were critical defensive victories during the course of the year on behalf of our members.

Click HERE to read details about the priority bills Ag Council was involved with this year in the California State Legislature and the outcome of that legislation.