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Concerns Expressed Over Proposed Indoor Heat Illness Regulation

July 7, 2017

Re:
Heat Illness Prevention in Indoor Places of Employment
Comments on Discussion Draft #2 Dated May 25, 2017

Dear Amalia Neidhardt, Steve Smith, Eric Berg, Juliann Sum, and Christine Baker:

The below-signed organizations (the Coalition) submit these comments regarding the subject discussion draft and in response to the discussion during the Advisory Committee meeting on May 25, 2017. The Coalition represents employers large and small across many diverse industries. While we appreciate the revisions incorporated into this new draft, the proposal continues to be too complex and ambiguous, and therefore will lead to a lack of compliance and the inability to enforce.

We take the safety and health of our employees very seriously. Many members of the Coalition were involved with the development and implementation of the outdoor heat illness regulation, section 3395, and have significant experience with how to effectively prevent heat illness. Respectfully, we continue to disagree with the proposed approach in this discussion draft to address heat illness prevention for indoor employees.

While this rulemaking is mandated by legislation and therefore the necessity of a resulting regulation need not be demonstrated, the Coalition urges the agency to review its own enforcement data and any available information concerning instances of heat illness among indoor workers. While the legislative mandate requires the agency to move forward with this regulation, actual data reflecting how, why and in what kinds of indoor workplaces workers suffer heat illness will provide meaningful context to the agency’s proposed regulation, and this data should be shared with the regulated community so employers’ experience and expertise can be meaningfully applied to crafting an indoor heat illness regulation that can protect workers without imposing unnecessary and ineffective mandates on covered employers.

In summary, this discussion draft, which despite extensive comments from the employer community is incrementally better from the first draft of February 22, 2017 and still creates a program to prevent heat illness for indoor employees that is unnecessarily burdensome, expensive, overly complex and confusing. Very few small and medium employers will be able to comply with this complex proposal without being forced to seek the assistance of an expert consultant, which will be a substantial burden for these employers. It is also unnecessarily prescriptive, much more so than the outdoor heat illness prevention regulation, section 3395. The following discussion outlines our primary concerns.

Statutory Timing Requirement. We continue to assert that the rulemaking timeline consistent with legislative intent requires the agency to submit a proposed regulation to the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board by January 1, 2019. This is readily apparent from the legislative language directing the agency to propose the regulation, Labor Code §6720:

“By January 1, 2019, the division shall propose to the standards board for the board’s review and adoption a standard that minimizes heat-related illness and injury among workers working in indoor places of employment.”

A plain-English reading of this language clearly mandates that the agency “propose” a standard to the Standards Board, and does not require adoption of a standard by the Board by January 1, 2019. After the board’s receipt of the proposed rule, the process of review and stakeholder interaction with the division should begin. The final regulation should be a rule with which employers can comply, that protects employees and results from a measured, thoughtful process that is not needlessly rushed by a misinterpretation of the agency’s statutory mandate.

Proposal is too complex. Employers must understand and comply with numerous regulations enforced by various agencies, in addition to Cal/OSHA regulations. The Coalition strongly supports the provision of safe and healthful workplaces for our employees. However, if the rule is too complex for employers to understand and implement, the benefit of the regulation’s intended protection will be difficult to achieve.

Furthermore, regulations that are ambiguous and difficult to implement create a “gotcha” situation for employers, where complex regulatory compliance requirements can result in inadvertent non- compliance (and high monetary penalties) with no safety or health benefit for the employees. There is no reason why this regulation needs to be so much more complex than the heat illness prevention regulation for outdoor employers.

This proposal for protection from heat illness in indoor workplaces is more complex than that regulating outdoor workplaces. The fact that indoor workplaces can under many circumstances be partially or wholly temperature controlled does not typically pose a greater risk of heat illness than working outdoors. Therefore, a more complex program is unwarranted because indoor many spaces are more easily controlled than outdoor workplaces.

The Coalition recommends a performance-based approach to the regulation such as that of the Illness and Injury Prevention Program and the outdoor heat illness prevention program. The first step that employers should take is to assess their indoor workplaces for employee exposure to the risk of heat illness. If the employer identifies that a risk is present, then the employer must develop a program. If the risk was evaluated and determined not to be present, then the employer should not be subject to the requirements of heat illness prevention program for indoor employees, other than a contingency plan in the event of the failure of climate controls.

A simpler approach is likely to result in more, not less, employee protection. An approach that is too complex is likely to result in lower compliance, which in turn is less protective of employees. Greater simplicity will lead to greater protection because greater simplicity will improve employer understanding and compliance. We urge the division to simplify the rule.

Proposal too costly. As written, the implementation costs would be significant for most if not all employers subject to the rule. Many employers will not have the expertise to interpret the complex requirements and would have to hire costly staff or consultants. Compliance with the current draft would require many employers to purchase expensive monitoring and engineering control equipment and to unnecessarily conduct temperature assessments at needlessly frequent intervals. There could be consequences to the economy as some employers may not have the requisite resources and could be forced out of business or to cut back.

The Coalition asserts that the economic impact of this rule would exceed the $50 million economic impact threshold and would therefore be determined a major regulation thus requiring an economic impact analysis. An alternative approach that is the most cost effective manner to achieve protection for workers is advised and achievable. The complexity of this proposed draft is unnecessary; worker protection can be achieved with less complexity and less cost. A more cost effective approach would also relieve the obligation to conduct the required analysis as a major regulation.

Draft Regulation Proposed by the Coalition. Attached is an effort to draft a regulation that is general enough in nature to be adopted by varied workplaces without being overly burdensome and complex (coalition draft). It is consistent with our oral remarks provided during the two advisory committees, as well as the remarks in our prior comment letter. The remainder of our comments will address the rationale of the provisions that benefit from explanation.

Scope and application of the regulation. The proposed scope of the discussion draft leaves unresolved the question of compliance in an air-conditioned office environment when the air-conditioning is inoperative.

Secondly, many workers regularly go in and out of a building, rotating between indoor and outdoor work. At times, employers may use rotation of indoor and outdoor work as administrative control for prevention of outdoor heat illness. The scope exception does not properly account for the work patterns of real-world workplaces and workers. The proposed language making workers who work more than one hour per day indoors subject to the indoor standard would subject many employers to the outdoor regulation in ways that will frequently be unworkable, for example:

  • · If the employee works for more than an hour per day indoors but works indoors less than an entire day, then the employee would be subject to both standards.
  • · Many workplaces have a variety of workers that work indoors and outdoors, and the amount of time indoors and outdoors varies each day. A requirement to track employees’ indoor and outdoor work time to determine whether the employer must comply with the indoor or the outdoor standard for each employee will impose yet another severe monitoring and recordkeeping burden on employers.
  • · Outdoor workers often move indoors to cool off. For the purpose of the outdoor standard, this is considered shade. Would the indoor space where an outdoor worker seeks shade be covered by the indoor standard?

The indoor and outdoor heat illness prevention rules must be harmonized for the many employees that function in both environments. Simple, practical rules of prevention should apply: water, cool down, and training requirements that are compatible and can be complied with for all employees.

Definitions

Cool-down area. In order to harmonize with the outdoor standard, the cool-down area should include any area that allows the body to cool. Otherwise, the confusion between an outdoor cooling area and an indoor cooling area will be unworkable.

Globe Temperature. Limit the complexity of compliance by following the outdoor standard and using one method of measurement – the dry bulb temperature.

Heat index. Using the heat index should not be mandatory. Employers should not be required to make or keep precise measurements of heat and humidity. Section 3395 considers humidity only as an environmental risk factor; therefore, this approach should be consistent with that under section 3395. A general assessment of the heat and the risk should be conducted as part of the initial risk assessment; then the appendix can be consulted at the employer’s discretion. Temperature and humidity vary throughout the course of the day. A general assessment of whether the rule is triggered should be sufficient.

Furthermore, the three different levels add unnecessary complexity to not only compliance, but also enforcement. When combined, the requirements of using a dry bulb, a globe temperature and three levels of heat index create an overly burdensome set of measurement and implementation.

High radiant heat work area and Radiant heat. These definitions should be simplified and include clarity so that the employer can easily determine if the area is one of radiant or high radiant heat, or neither. Furthermore, we question the necessity of this term in the standard. A clearer requirement could be established around high heat, whether radiant or not – which is what the coalition recommends.

Indoor. Include examples and clarify grey area environments such as a greenhouse, packing shed or partially constructed building or partially enclosed building.

(c) Heat Illness Prevention Plan

This section of the rule should track more closely with the outdoor heat illness prevention plan. Therefore, subsection (1) should be deleted to harmonize with section 3395. It would be overly complex for employers to develop two plans with two different requirements for development.

(f) First aid and emergency response and Coalition added (g) high heat procedures

The Coalition proposes that this section would be most appropriately broken up into two sections, to be more consistent with the outdoor regulation.

(h) Control Measures

The control measures in the draft proposal are yet another example of needless complexity and overly burdensome requirements that will ensure employers will be unable to fully comply with the standard.

Pre-shift meetings. This requirement is most appropriate in the areas or periods of high heat. Daily pre- shift meetings repeating the same message may be of limited value rather than the message being delivered at appropriate intervals, when applicable.

Heat index levels. The use of the various levels for varying requirements is too complex. The levels should be identified at temperature levels– high heat that triggers requirements at 95 degrees with and at 105 and regular heat (85 to 95 degrees) that triggers lower controls. These provisions should be in harmony with the outdoor regulation.

Requirements for engineering control should be eliminated from this rule and left to the employer’s assessment of the hazard and determination of their necessity or feasibility, and in the overall approach to employee protection from high heat indoors.

  1. k) Recordkeeping.

(4) Employee use of temperature recording or measuring devices must be approved on a case-by-case basis. The device must not interfere with personal protective equipment and must be accurate and dependable. It is unadvisable for an employee to rely on a device that delivers inaccurate results or interferes with PPE or work processes.

Conclusion. The Coalition is very concerned that because of its complexity and overly burdensome approach as written, the discussion draft will not result in increased employee protection. Employers need to be able to understand the requirements to comply with the regulation and continue to keep employees safe and healthy. Furthermore, it is unnecessarily burdensome. There is no justification for this regulation to be more stringent than section 3395 for outdoor work environments.

The Coalition has drafted the proposed approach to prevent heat illness in indoor workers. We appreciate the opportunity to provide this input and for your thoughtful and serious consideration. To discuss further, please contact Marti Fisher, California Chamber of Commerce, (916) 444-6670.

Sincerely,

California Chamber of Commerce Agricultural Council of California
American Pistachio Growers
Associated Builders and Contractors – San Diego Chapter Associated General Contractors of California
California Agricultural Aircraft Association
California Citrus Mutual
California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association
California Attractions and Parks Association
California Building Industry Association
California Construction and Industrial Materials Associations California Farm Bureau Federation
California Fresh Fruit Association
California Framing Contractors Association
California Hotel & Lodging Association
California League of Food Processors
California Manufacturers & Technology Association
California Metals Coalition
California Professional Association of Specialty Contractors California Restaurant Association
California Retailers Association
California Solar Energy Industries Association
California Tomato Growers Association
Cerritos Chamber of Commerce
Chemical Industry Council of California
El Centro Chamber of Commerce
Family Business Association of California
Far West Equipment Dealers Association
Food and Beverage Association of San Diego
Lodi Chamber of Commerce
National Elevator Industry, Inc.
National Federation of Independent Business
Nisei Farmers League
Nor Cal Beverage Co., Inc.
Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association of California
Residential Contractors Association
Robert Fried, Senior Partner, Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Rudd & Romo
San Fernando Valley Chamber of Commerce
San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership
Santa Maria Chamber of Commerce
Tulare Chamber of Commerce
Walter & Prince LLP
Western Agricultural Processors Association Western Electrical Contractors Association Western Growers Association
Western Plant Health Association
Western Steel Council
Wine Institute

 

 

Ag Council Comments on New Bovine General Order

April 7, 2017

Via email to:

Charlene Herbst
Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board
11020 Sun Center Drive, Suite 200
Rancho Cordova, CA 95670-6114

Re: Comments on the “Waste Discharge Requirements General Order for Confined Bovine Feeding Operations” (Tentative Order)

Dear Ms. Herbst:

Agricultural Council of California (Ag Council) appreciates the opportunity to provide comments on the Tentative Order referenced above. Ag Council is a member-supported organization advocating for more than 15,000 farmers across California, ranging from small, farmer-owned businesses to some of the world’s best-known brands. Ag Council works tirelessly to keep its members productive and competitive, so that agriculture can continue to produce the highest quality food for the entire world.

Enhancing the Tentative Order’s ability to protect water quality, while moving toward more reasonable and practical expectations for the regulated community, is our main objective. Ag Council’s primary concern is that the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board’s (Regional Board) Tentative Order comes with new financial obligations. California dairies are increasingly impacted economically through regulations on water quality, air quality, greenhouse gases, labor, and others. Many dairies have shut down or moved out of state due to the associated cost increases of these regulations, along with unstable milk market conditions. According to the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), 46 dairies went out of business in 2016 alone. The state’s dairy community is shrinking, which leads to fewer jobs and less economic growth in the Central Valley. We urge the Regional Board to consider this proposal in the context of all the other regulations effecting dairy families and make efforts to minimize the costs.

Along with our concern regarding the economic burden the Tentative Order will place on newly regulated facilities, we put forward the following comments for additional consideration:

  • The Regional Board is proposing to focus their regulatory threshold on operations with six bovine animals. This is too small and will put a huge burden on small, family-owned operations. At a minimum, the Tentative Order should return to its previous intention of regulating facilities with more than 100 animals only. The Tentative Order should also make the effort to exclude all educational projects related to secondary schools, FFA and 4-H programs, and others.
  • The proposed implementation timeline should be extended in a way that will reduce the negative, practical and financial impacts on the regulated community. We suggest using the more reasonable timeframe proposed by Dairy Cares. This timeline will take into account many socioeconomic factors that can arise from regulating a new sector. It will also provide greater flexibility and chance of success, while still reaching the ultimate goals.
  • The Regional Board should include streamlined approval for single geosynthetic lagoon liners, just like they have done for double-lined retention ponds. Ponds with geosynthetic liners perform at a comparable level with double-liners, providing an adequate level of protection. Reducing the cost and increasing the compliance functionality of these liners will encourage and incentivize wider use. As a result, we could expect a decline in seepage from ponds and an improvement in manure management.
  • We appreciate that the Tentative Order seems to step back the importance of the requirement that applied nitrogen on dairy crops not exceed 140 percent (1.4 ratio) of harvested nitrogen. However, we would caution the Regional Board from analyzing the general modeled assumptions in the U.C. Davis Report[2] and jumping to enforcement. We suggest the Regional Board forgo the 1.4 ratio in favor of a system that requires measuring and reporting application and removal practices. This will help inform future management decisions until appropriate guidelines can be set.
  • We urge the Regional Board to adopt a simplified and more straightforward process for regulated operations to notify their intent to comply. Setting up a system that is easy for the facility operator to follow and comply with, without professional assistance or further financial burdens, is an essential first step. This will help to establish a more successful and collaborative regulatory approach.
  • The Regional Board should provide or develop new, standardized and user-friendly reporting forms for Annual Reports, Nutrient Management Plans and Waste Management Plans. The use of existing forms for dairies are not appropriate for this Tentative Order and could create confusion.
  • On March 9, 2017, the Regional Board adopted recommendations for best management practices to the Salt and Nutrient Management Plan (SNMP). There is also an effort to incorporate the SNMP changes into the Central Valley Water Quality Control Plan. We suggest the Tentative Order update the Representative Monitoring Programs (RMPs) section to track with these modifications and to identify tools, practices and strategies that strengthen an operator’s ability to reduce impacts to groundwater.
  • Ag Council supports the option to allow regulated operations to join an Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program (ILRP) coalition as an alternative to enrolling their crop acreage or methods for complying with surface water monitoring requirements under the Tentative Order. However, the scope of this proposal still needs to be flushed out. These operations are some of the state’s smallest and least sophisticated. It is not even clear how many operations or the number of acres that may be subject for inclusion under the Tentative Order and if ILRP coalitions have the bandwidth for new members. The Regional Board should address concerns before moving forward with the proposal.

In closing, thank you for your consideration of these comments. We look forward to continuing to work with the Regional Board as this process moves forward. Should you have any questions or need anything further, please feel contact Rachael O’Brien at (916) 443-4887 or via email at Rachael@agcouncil.org.

Respectfully,
Emily Rooney
President

 

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.

Read on for more details about the priority measures Ag Council was involved with this year in the California State Legislature and the outcome of that legislation.

AUDIT OF THE BUY AMERICAN REQUIREMENT

Audit Request (Galgiani)
Position: SUPPORTED/SPONSOR
Status: APPROVED

In August, the Joint Legislative Audit Committee (JLAC) approved an audit initiated by Ag Council to review enforcement of the Buy American requirement to determine whether schools under the jurisdiction of the California Department of Education (CDE) and participating in the school lunch and school breakfast programs are in compliance. If not, the audit will outline the steps CDE will take to provide oversight and compliance of the requirement. Status: JLAC approved the audit request and it is awaiting staff assignment in the State Auditor’s office.

CLIMATE CHANGE & ENERGY

SB 1383 (Lara)
Position: SUPPORTED
Status: SIGNED INTO LAW

SB 1383 requires the Air Resources Board (ARB) to limit methane emissions from dairy and livestock manure management operations to 40 percent below 2013 levels by 2030, rather than the unattainable 75 percent proposed by ARB, which would have set-up dairies to fail. SB 1383 became necessary in order to reign-in the blanket authority provided to ARB under SB 32 (see below). The measure also requires a 40 percent reduction of hydrofluorocarbon gases and a 50 percent reduction of black carbon (includes diesel) below 2013 levels by 2030. Status: Governor Brown signed the bill into law on September 19.

SB 32 (Pavley)
Position: OPPOSED
Status: SIGNED INTO LAW

Current state law requires the California Air Resources Board (ARB) to lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the state to 1990 levels by the year 2020. The newly signed law, SB 32, requires ARB to further reduce statewide emissions of GHGs to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. SB 32 does not extend the existing cap and trade program, which is presently authorized through 2020. Ag Council opposed SB 32 because it gives unfettered regulatory authority to ARB to meet the new mandate. Status: Governor Brown signed the bill into law.

AB 197 (E. Garcia)
Position: OPPOSED
Status: SIGNED INTO LAW

AB 197 adds two non-voting lawmakers to the board at ARB, creates six-year term limits for ARB members and establishes a new legislative oversight committee. AB 197 directs ARB to consider the social costs of GHGs and requires a focus on climate change programs in disadvantaged communities. Ag Council opposed AB 197 because it undermines the cost effectiveness requirement under the current system and does not contain meaningful oversight of ARB going forward. Status: Governor Brown signed the bill into law.

AB 2223 (Gray)
Position: SUPPORT
Status: STALLED

The bill appropriates up to $10 million in funding from the General Fund to incentivize dairy methane reduction projects including: digesters, solids separation, and conversion to scrape manure management systems. Status: The bill stalled, however, AB 2223 gave critical attention to the need for incentive funding for methane reductions on dairies. The effort also paved the way to securing the $50 million in greenhouse gas reduction funding approved and signed into law for dairy and livestock methane reduction projects.

EXCAVATION/CALL BEFORE YOU DIG

SB 661 (Hill)
Position: NEUTRAL
Status: SIGNED INTO LAW

The measure makes changes within the “811 Call Before You Dig” program to improve safety to protect the public and workers when excavating near underground facilities, such as oil pipelines, natural gas lines and fiber optic cables. Ag Council and other ag organizations participated in discussions to ensure an understanding of the nature and frequency of agricultural excavations during bill negotiations. Status: SB 661 was signed into law. Clean-up legislation is now being discussed to clarify issues relating to the new annual continuous excavation ticket created in SB 661, which will be available to those operating on ag land.

FOOD WASTE/FOOD LABELS

AB 2725 (Chiu)
Position: OPPOSED
Status: FAILED

The bill requires food manufacturers that use a quality date to use the phrase “best if used by” on the product by July 2017, which imposes a California-only standard not required by other states. Such action creates an unnecessary California mandate to address food waste concerns when the private sector is already working collaboratively to provide solutions. Status: After a significant lobbying effort against the bill, AB 2725 did not have the votes needed for passage in the Assembly Committee on Health.

LABOR

AB 1066 (Gonzalez)
Position: OPPOSED
Status: SIGNED INTO LAW

After failing passage in the Assembly, the ag overtime measure was revived in a gut and amend measure in the Senate by the bill author, Assemblywoman Gonzalez. This action resuscitated the ag overtime bill (see AB 2757 below) and was permitted by the leadership in the Legislature. Status: AB 1066 passed the Legislature and was signed by Governor Brown on September 12.

AB 2757 (Gonzalez)
Position: OPPOSED
Status: FAILED in Asm. 
& revived in a gut & amend

Phases in a new overtime wage law for agricultural workers requiring overtime in California after eight hours in one day or 40 hours in a week instead of the current payment of overtime after 10 hours in a day and 60 hours in a week. Status: Ag groups and other organizations mounted a strong opposition effort, and the bill failed in the Assembly on June 2. A gut and amend bill to implement new ag overtime rules, AB 1066 (see above), was later passed and signed into law.

SB 1167 (Mendoza)
Position: OPPOSED
Status: SIGNED INTO LAW

SB 1167 directs Cal/OSHA to adopt an unwarranted blanket standard regarding indoor workers with the intent to protect them from heat-related illness and injury. The bill hamstrings the authority of Cal/OSHA to develop the appropriate scope of a regulation by forcing a one-size-fits-all standard onto California businesses. Cal/OSHA already has the ability to implement heat illness regulations, which includes a more collaborative stakeholder process. Status: Governor Brown signed SB 1167 into law in September.

SB 654 (Jackson)
Position: OPPOSED
Status: VETOED

SB 654 mandates new protected maternity and paternity leave in California leading to higher costs and burdens on employers with as few as 20 employees and exposes businesses to litigation. SB 654 requires six weeks of protected employee leave to bond with a new child within one year of birth, adoption or foster placement. The six weeks of leave is in addition to existing leave allowing employees up to four months of protected leave due to pregnancy. As a result, the measure would lead to over five months of protected leave for some employees. Status: Ag Council opposed the bill in the Legislature and requested a veto from the governor. The governor vetoed the bill in September.

SB 878 (Leyva)
Position: OPPOSED
Status: STALLED

SB 878 mandates a seven-day notice of an employee’s schedule. If the schedule is changed, SB 878 subjects employers to investigations, penalties and litigation. Status: The bill was held in the Senate Committee on Appropriations and did not move forward in time to meet the deadline to pass bills.

NATURAL RESOURCES

AB 2162 (Chu)
Position: OPPOSED
Status: STALLED

AB 2162, the Oak Woodlands Protection Act, mandates that a Fish and Game permit be obtained for the removal an oak tree. The permit is subject to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). An oak removal plan approved by a licensed forester would also be required. Status: Given the property rights concerns and significant opposition to the bill, it was removed from committee consideration and stalled.

PESTICIDES

SB 1282 (Leno)
Position: OPPOSED
Status: FAILED IN SENATE

SB 1282 mandates the Department of Pesticide Regulation to label seeds and plants for retail sale that have been treated with a neonicotinoid pesticide. The measure is not based in science and threatens agriculture given that neonicotinoids are used to fight pests that transmit serious diseases threatening agricultural commodities. Status: The ag community actively lobbied against the bill, and it failed to pass the Senate when considered.

AB 2596 (Bloom)
Position: OPPOSED
Status: STALLED

AB 2596 bans the use of rodenticides (anticoagulants), with limited exceptions, leaving many agricultural facilities and warehouses vulnerable to rodents, which can transmit diseases. Status: An ag coalition, including Ag Council, strongly opposed AB 2596, and the bill was removed from committee hearing consideration by the author.

PUBLIC SAFETY – CARGO THEFT PREVENTION

AB 2805 (Olsen)
Position: SUPPORT
Status: VETOED, but Gov directed administrative action

AB 2805 establishes the California Agriculture Cargo Theft Crime Prevention Program to promote coordination with the goal of catching suspects and preventing future cargo thefts. Agricultural thefts are causing millions in losses. Status: Governor Brown vetoed the bill stating the goals can be accomplished administratively without statute. However, the governor said, “Agricultural cargo theft is a growing problem in California, worthy of prioritization.” He then directed the CHP Commissioner and the Secretary of the State Transportation Agency to “examine ways to improve enforcement in this area and carry out the goals of this bill.”

WATER

SB 1317 (Wolk)
Position: OPPOSED
Status: STALLED

Bans any new groundwater extractions from probationary basins and those in critical overdraft. Mandates local entities to create a process by Jan. 2018 to issue groundwater extraction permits for the development of groundwater extraction in high or medium priority basins. SB 1317 dictates additional requirements to the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) and undermines the local control element critical of SGMA. Status: Thanks to a solid opposition effort by an ag coalition, including Ag Council, a hearing was cancelled in the Assembly due to the lack of support.

AB 1520 (M. Stone)
Position: OPPOSED
Status: STALLED

AB 1520 mandates industrial, institutional and commercial water and energy use be made public information.  The intent of the measure is to shame businesses and provide an avenue for protest without knowing regulatory requirements or how certain industries use water. AB 1520 is not needed given that local agencies can already fine businesses up to $10,000 for water conservation violations. Status: After a strong lobbying effort in opposition of the bill, AB 1520 did not have enough votes for passage in the Senate and the bill was placed on the inactive file.