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in the KNOW

April 22, 2016

Ag Overtime Wage Bill Update

Peach trees in blossomOn April 20, the bill to phase-in ag overtime wage requirements, AB 2757, by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) was moved to the suspense file in the Assembly Committee on Appropriations. The suspense file contains bills that are set aside by the majority of members present and voting due to their fiscal impact. Bills on suspense may be heard at a later hearing. Or, the bills could be held on suspense and not move forward.

We are working to build opposition to AB 2757 in the Legislature and encouraging legislators to hold the bill on suspense in the Assembly Appropriations Committee, so that it does not move out of committee. With the recent passage of the $15 minimum wage bill, and the pressure it places on the ag community, it is critical that legislators hear strong opposition from the ag community regarding AB 2757. We urge you to reach out to your legislators now by using the Learn More link below.

As background, AB 2757 repeals the current overtime wage requirement in California for agricultural workers, which pays overtime after 10 hours of work in a day and over 60 hours of work in a week, and phases in a new overtime wage law over the course of four years culminating in a requirement to pay overtime after eight hours in one day or 40 hours in a week by the year 2020.

TAKE ACTION – Click HERE to go to our Action Center and easily email an opposition letter to your legislators. Your voice at this time is critical to help stop AB 2757.

ARB Proposes Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction Strategy

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) released its proposed Short-Lived Climate Pollutant (SLCP) Reduction Strategy on April 11. These pollutants trap heat at many times the level of carbon dioxide, but also tend to have a shorter lifetime in the atmosphere, ranging from a few days or weeks to about 10 years.

Ag Council has been highly engaged with ARB as it develops the strategy on SLCPs. We have attended ARB hearings, as well as meetings with regulatory staff, to discuss our members’ perspective. We also organized a dairy tour for key ARB staff and remain committed to highlighting the concerns of our members.

Click HERE to read a Ag Council’s detailed overview of the SLCP Reduction Strategy.

Food Waste Labeling Bill Stalls in Committee

A food labeling measure opposed by Ag Council and others, AB 2725 by Assemblyman David Chiu (D-SF), was pulled from reconsideration on April 19 due to the lack of support by legislators in the Assembly Committee on Health. This is a positive outcome on AB 2725. Ag Council actively worked with a coalition to boost opposition to the bill because it would create an unnecessary California-only labeling mandate to address food waste concerns when the private sector is working collaboratively to provide solutions.

In addition, as with many issues, California is already at the forefront in addressing the handling of food and organic waste. For example, a bill signed into law in 2014 requires all major generators of organic food waste to have an organic food recycling program. Further, California’s agriculture and food processing industries currently recycle food material.  One example of this is the fact that over 40 percent of dairy feed derives from food byproducts.

Given our opposition AB 2725, we are pleased the bill did not move forward, and we will remain vigilant in opposing unnecessary mandatory labeling measures.

Legislative Activity

Legislators in the State Capitol faced a deadline  this week for bills that have a fiscal impact to be heard in policy committees. Over 500 bills were considered in legislative committees this week alone.

Amidst the legislative activity, Ag Council is working on several policy fronts including climate change, energy, water, and labor, particularly the ag overtime wage bill. Ag Council is weighing-in during the committee process and is actively lobbying numerous measures.

For a comprehensive list of the bills that Ag Council has taken a position on, please click HERE. We encourage our members to contact Ag Council at ph. (916) 443-4887 with any questions.