in the KNOW

July 10, 2015

Bill to Increase Minimum Wage Passes Assembly Committee

California State Capitol

California State Capitol

During a lively Assembly Labor and Employment Committee hearing on July 8, SB 3 was approved out of the committee. SB 3, by Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), raises the minimum wage to $11 per hour in January 2016 and increases it to $13 per hour beginning July 2017. SB 3 then raises minimum wage according to inflation in subsequent years.

Ag Council and numerous other ag and business groups are advocating against this measure given that SB 3 imposes more costs onto the business community in California and limits job growth. California’s minimum wage is currently $9 per hour and will be raised to $10 in January 2016 under the existing law passed by the Legislature in 2013.

The debate in committee took a dramatic turn when Chair Roger Hernandez (D-West Covina) cut-off a witness from speaking and then did not allow Vice-Chair Matthew Harper (R-Huntington Beach) to speak after he had been recognized. Chair Hernandez physically reached over to turn off Assemblyman Harper’s microphone during the hearing and then asked Capitol security to remove the microphone from the dais. To watch a video clip of the incident, click HERE.


SB 3 passed the Senate and continues to move through the Assembly legislative process. To express your opposition to SB 3 to your Assembly representative, click HERE.

Bill Gutted & Amended to Publicly Shame Commercial & Industrial Water & Energy Use

AB 1520 was recently amended from a civil rights bill to a bill requiring public disclosure of commercial, industrial and institutional water and energy usage. The bill essentially shames manufacturers, food processors and others for their water and energy usage by making the information public.

AB 1520 is a Judiciary Committee bill where Assemblyman Mark Stone (D-Scotts Valley) is the chair. Ag Council and other ag and business groups are strongly opposing the bill, which will be considered in the Assembly Judiciary Committee on July 14. To read a copy of the opposition letter, click HERE.

“Call Before You Dig” Legislation Moves Through Committee

SB 119 establishes enforcement provisions relating to excavation violations under the 811-Call Before You Dig program. The bill is authored by Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo). Ag Council continues to participate in conversations to develop amendments to SB 119, along with others in the ag community, to address the unique nature of agriculture. Our work is focused on limiting the circumstances around which farmers must call 811.

SB 119 was approved out of the Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee on July 6 and is under consideration in the Assembly Judiciary Committee on July 13.

Air Resources Board Approves Rice Cultivation Carbon Offset Protocol

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) approved a new protocol for rice growers in late June, which represents the first ever carbon offset protocol for crop-based agriculture in a compliance market. This means rice growers who implement conservation practices to reduce methane emissions can create and sell a greenhouse gas (GHG) credit, commonly referred to as a “carbon credit.” Regulated California companies needing to reduce their emissions under California’s cap-and-trade program can now buy rice growers’ carbon credits.

This voluntary rice GHG protocol includes two practices:
 1) Dry seeding — A seeding technique that delays the on-set of continuous flooding at the beginning of the growing season.
2) Early drainage — Draining water from rice fields at the end of the growing season earlier than traditional rice cultivation practices.

Detailed information related to ARB’s action is available HERE.

Notice of Funding Availability – Prop 1B Goods Movement Emission Reduction Program

In light of regulations coming out over the next several years pushing the freight sector toward zero and near-zero emissions, the Air Resources Board (ARB) is incentivizing the use of new technologies, such as charging infrastructure and electric and fuel cell equipment, by making funds available through the Prop 1B Goods Movement Emission Reduction Program.

Ag Council encourages our members to seriously consider applying for this program to obtain funds to install advanced technologies and proactively get ahead of regulations. The notice of funding availability is posted on ARB’s website HERE.