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in the KNOW

August 26, 2014

Final Week of Legislative Activity Underway

Photo courtesy of www.sacmuseums.org

Photo courtesy of www.sacmuseums.org

The last day for the California State Legislature to pass bills is quickly approaching on August 31. With the final week of legislative activity underway in the Capitol, Ag Council is focused on several issues critical to our members.

Ag Council is actively opposing the bills listed below, and some of you may recognize a few of the measures from our Legislative Day. Also, the “gut and amend” process is alive and well in Sacramento and a couple of those bills are included below. Read on and you’ll find out which key bills remain under consideration, amidst hundreds of others, during the final days of the 2014 legislative session.

Groundwater Bills

AB 1739 by Assemblyman Dickinson (D-Sacramento) and SB 1168 by Senator Pavley (D-Agoura Hills)–Ag Council OPPOSES both bills

Ag Council continues to oppose two bills written to regulate groundwater, AB 1739 and SB 1168. With the end of the legislative session looming and the drought crisis front and center, a strong push is being made in the Capitol to pass legislation to regulate groundwater from a groundwater basin management perspective. The bills would implement the most significant changes to groundwater management in the past 100 years.

Ag Council and many other organizations are enormously concerned about the vast scope of the bills, which could alter the future of agriculture in California. Among the concerns with AB 1739 and SB 1168 are the higher costs that would be imposed upon our members, impacts on surface water rights and an increase in litigation.

AB 1739 and SB 1168 await further consideration in the Legislature this week. Ag Council stands in opposition to the measures and is advocating against passage of the bills.

In addition, Ag Council remains engaged in strategic discussions with Governor Brown’s Administration and others regarding the future of the groundwater bills. The conversations have been ongoing over the past few months. Unfortunately, improvement of the bills looks bleak as the 2014 legislative session comes to a close this week.

Please contact our office at ph. (916) 443-4887 if you are an Ag Council member and would like further information.

Labor Measures

Wage Liens

AB 2416 by Assemblyman Stone (D-Scotts Valley)
Ag Council OPPOSES
AB 2416 allows an employee or an employee’s representative to file a pre-judgment wage lien against the real and personal property of an employer and the real property of an innocent third party. AB 2416 violates due process by preventing an employer or third party from defending against the recording of a pre-judgment wage lien. So-called protections in AB 2416 only come into play after the lien is recorded. Ag Council is working, along with many other ag and business groups, to oppose AB 2416.

Expansion of Liability Against Employers Hiring Labor Contractors

AB 1897 by Assemblyman Hernandez (D-West Covina)
Ag Council OPPOSES
AB 1897 is an unprecedented expansion of liability against innocent parties. Under the bill, any entity that obtains or is provided labor from a labor contractor is liable for payment of wages to workers, workers’ compensation coverage and OSHA requirements. AB 1897 is awaiting passage in the Senate, and Ag Council is part of a large coalition opposing the bill.

Denial of Due Process

SB 25 by Senator Steinberg (D-Sacramento)
Ag Council OPPOSES
SB 25 was recently amended and the new bill raises the standard of proof for a stay of an administrative order by the Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) to “clear and convincing evidence” of “irreparable harm” and “likelihood of success.” This denies due process to ag employers given that ALRB could enforce an administrative order before a court has undergone a review of that order. SB 25 is pending consideration in the Assembly, and Ag Council and many other ag groups are opposing the bill.

Climate Change & Transportation

Climate Change–Short-Lived Climate Pollutants

SB 605 by Senator Lara (D-Huntington Park/Long Beach)
Ag Council OPPOSES
This end of session “gut and amend” bill directs the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to reduce short-lived climate pollutants by January 2016, which affects agriculture because short-lived climate pollutants include black carbon (soot) and methane. SB 605 expands the state’s climate policy and the jurisdiction of CARB. On August 25, Ag Council spoke against the bill during a hearing in the Senate Environmental Quality Committee.

Transportation

SB 1319 by Senator Jerry Hill (D-South San Francisco)
Ag Council OPPOSES
SB 1319 is a “gut and amend” measure establishing a new, undetermined fee on products and materials shipped by rail to pay for emergency response training and equipment. This measure requires a new state fee when the federal government has already imposed a hazardous materials registration fee to improve the response of transportation incidents involving hazardous materials, which includes products such as fertilizers and fuels among others used in agriculture. SB 1319 is awaiting consideration in the Assembly.

We encourage Ag Council members to contact us at ph. (916) 443-4887 if you have any questions about these, or any other, bills.