in the KNOW

August 12, 2016

State Capitol

State Capitol


Ag Overtime Bill Approved in State Senate Fiscal Committee – Take Action to Convey Opposition

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the gut and amend ag overtime wage bill, AB 1066, by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) as anticipated yesterday.  Ag Council continues to strongly oppose the measure in the Legislature and is working along with other ag groups to build opposition to the bill.

Ag Council urges members to TAKE ACTION NOW by clicking HERE to convey your opposition to the bill.  We thank our members for their active engagement on AB 1066.

The fiscal committees approved hundreds of other bills including the following measures:
SB 1383 (Lara) to mandate that the Air Resources Board (ARB) approve and implement a short-lived climate pollutants strategy to achieve a reduction in methane by 40 percent, hydrofluorocarbon gases by 40 percent, and black carbon (such as diesel) by 50 percent below 2013 levels by 2030.  Ag Council is opposed to the bill as written.
SB 32 (Pavley) to require ARB to approve a statewide greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) limit equivalent to 40 percent below the 1990 level to be achieved by 2030. Ag Council is opposed to this measure.
SB 654 (Jackson) mandates that employers provide 12 weeks of family leave, in addition to other leaves of absence for employees already required in California and may require larger employers to provide 10 months of protected leave.  Ag Council is opposed to SB 654.

ACT NOW –  Convey your opposition to legislators TODAY on the ag overtime wage measure, AB 1066, by clicking HERE.

No Fee Increases Proposed on Certain Water Quality Permits

The State Water Resources Control Board (Board) is not proposing any fee increases on the following programs that pertain to agriculture: Confined Animal Facilities (CAF-such as dairy), Waste Discharge Requirements (food processors and future wine program) and Ag Land program (includes Irrigated Land Regulatory Program).

The Board is proposing an increase of 20 percent for the 401 Certification program. Additionally, the Board will be bringing in revenues from a cannabis program to help pay for the cost of regulating cannabis cultivation. This became an issue for other permit holders because costs born by the Board in the regulation of cannabis cultivation were being passed on to other permit holders. These proposed fees will be considered by the Board at the September 20 Board Meeting.

In relation to the CAF program, the Board will be reaching out to stakeholders and board members in the coming months to reevaluate the existing fee structure. Region 5 is looking at a potential program for poultry and Region 1 is analyzing a potential program for horses and goats. Due to these and other developments, Board staff may suggest a more generic formula based on “animal equivalent units,” to attempt to level the existing formula.

Audit of Buy American Requirement Initiated by Ag Council Approved in Committee

On August 10, the Joint Legislative Audit Committee (JLAC) approved an audit initiated by Ag Council and championed by Sen. Cathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton) to review enforcement of the Buy American requirement. Specifically, the audit will determine whether schools and entities under the jurisdiction of the California Department of Education (CDE), and participating in the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program, are in compliance with the Buy American requirement. If not in compliance, the audit will outline the steps CDE will take to provide oversight and compliance of the requirement.

Under the Buy American requirement, schools  must purchase domestically grown and processed foods to the maximum extent feasible. The food must be produced and processed in the U.S. with over 51 percent of the final processed product consisting of domestic agricultural commodities to be considered a domestic product.

Ag Council’s member, the California Canning Peach Association, brought this issue to light recently after multiple California school districts elected to purchase foreign fruit. Such actions demonstrate an audit of Buy American is needed within CDE. The audit will determine the level of enforcement with the Buy American requirement and the actions necessary to comply in California.

Increased monitoring and enforcement of the Buy American provision ensures that our children consume food of the highest quality and safety, and supports locally-grown commodities, as well as our state’s economy. Click HERE to learn more.

Ag Council Weighs-In on ARB 2030 Scoping Plan Concept Paper

Ag Council and the California Farm Bureau Federation provided written comments recently on the Air Resources Board’s (ARB) 2030 Target Scoping Plan Update Concept Paper.  The ARB concept paper outlines a strategy on how to achieve greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions of 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.

ARB held an informal hearing over the summer on potential future targets for the upcoming 2030 Scoping Plan. The plan has not been made public yet, and ARB staff is still developing the focus of the plan.

The comments raise issues such as the lack of statutory authority to regulate GHG emissions after 2020 and the need for an independent cost benefit analysis to better inform GHG reductions in the future, among other issues.

Click HERE to read the letter.

Challenges Outlined on the Draft Sustainable Freight Action Plan

Ag Council recently developed and submitted comments on Governor Jerry Brown’s multi-agency Sustainable Freight Action Plan (Action Plan). Other ag groups also signed onto the comments to communicate our concerns with the Action Plan.

The purpose of the Action Plan is to examine the California freight transportation and distribution industries. Objectives relating to future funding and transition to zero or near-zero technologies are explained in the plan.

The Action Plan identifies potential pilot projects that could integrate advanced technologies, alternative fuels and infrastructure. One of the pilot projects highlighted for potential consideration is an  effort to convert dairy biogas into transportation fuel in San Joaquin Valley.

The final plan, developed in response to an Executive Order by Governor Brown, was released on July 29.

Click HERE to read the letter highlighting Ag Council’s concerns.