in the KNOW

April 7, 2017

California State Capitol

California State Capitol

Transportation Funding Package Passes Legislature

Last night, the California State Legislature approved a $52 billion transportation funding package, SB 1 by Senator Jim Beall (D-San Jose), with support from organizations such as the California Trucking Association, CalChamber, League of California Cities, unions and others. SB 1 was developed to repair roads, freeways and bridges in California, as well as invest in transit, through higher vehicle registration fees and gas taxes. Governor Jerry Brown strongly supports SB 1 and is expected to sign it soon.

Two Democrats, Senator Steve Glazer (D-Orinda) and Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield), voted against SB 1 and all other Democrats voted in favor of the measure. One GOP member of the Legislature, Senator Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres), supported SB 1 while other Republicans opposed the bill.

Along with higher vehicle registration fees, diesel excise taxes will be raised by 20 cents per gallon under SB 1. Gas excise taxes will increase by 12 cents per gallon and will continue to rise automatically with inflation. Over $5 billion a year would be generated over 10 years. Ag Council and other agricultural organizations opposed SB 1.

In addition to the significant taxes and fees in the bill, SB 1 contains a provision that would prevent farmers from registering a diesel truck with the Department of Motor Vehicles if it weighs over 14,000 pounds and is not in compliance with diesel emissions regulations by January 1, 2020. When the provision was included in SB 1 last week, Ag Council worked with a coalition to raise concerns with legislators, and we sought to amend the language by providing farmers another opportunity to register for the agricultural mileage provision. This is an existing agricultural truck program at the Air Resources Board that gives farmers an extension until 2023 (instead of 2020 as required in SB 1) before they must purchase cleaner burning diesel trucks with 2010 or newer engines.

Currently, not all farmers with affected trucks participate in the agricultural mileage program, and we believe it is important that we work to allow more farmers into the program to provide them with three additional years to comply with the 2010 or newer engine requirement. Though this issue and other related matters affecting agriculture were not addressed in SB 1, we will continue to work on these issues with key legislators going forward.

For a statement by the governor and legislative leaders regarding passage of SB 1, click HERE.

DPR Regulations – Pesticide Use Near Schools

Ag Council commented this week on the revised proposal by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) to regulate the use of agricultural pesticides near public schools and daycare centers. About 2,500 California farmers would be impacted by the proposed regulation.

The revised proposal would ban certain pesticide applications and establish a quarter-mile buffer zone around public schools and licensed child-care centers, effective from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays. Ag Council remains opposed to this proposal.

In the revision, DPR removed the requirement that farmers notify school sites and licensed child day care facilities, as well as county agricultural commissioners, before applying pesticides 48 hours before they occur. However, farmers would still be required under the revised proposal to provide annual notification of the pesticides they expect to apply within a quarter-mile of these facilities.

Click HERE to read Ag Council’s letter.

Oroville Dam Spillway Repairs to be Expedited by Gov. Brown

On Thursday, Governor Brown issued an executive order to expedite repairs to the two spillways at Oroville Dam prior to next winter. The effort includes accelerating the timeline for permits, strengthening coordination between agencies and making the rapid emergency response and recovery regulations more efficient.

Click HERE for further details.