in the KNOW

July 31, 2013

Prop 65 Update

Prop 65 Pre-Regulatory Workshop

Attendees at the workshop included advocates for food, business, consumer, and environmental organizations, as well as attorneys who litigate Prop 65 cases and many other representatives.

Gov. Jerry Brown-photo by Randall Benton courtesy of The Sacramento Bee

Gov. Jerry Brown-photo by Randall Benton courtesy of The Sacramento Bee

The workshop comes on the heels of Governor Jerry Brown’s Prop 65 reform package announced in May. Ag Council supports the Governor’s interest and work on this important issue. However, areas of concern do exist. Of particular concern for Ag Council, several attendees at the workshop advocated for on-product warning labels. Ag Council and others in the food production and processing sector are concerned that, with enhanced Prop 65 warnings, litigation could be increased. In addition, many of our members’ products have limited space available for warnings.Given this, we support alternatives to on-product labeling, such as referring customers to a website at the point of sale. We will be sure to keep our members apprised of this and other important regulatory issues surrounding Prop 65.

Click HERE for a copy of the slides presented by OEHHA at the workshop.

Governor’s Stakeholder Group

Ag Council is a member of the Prop 65 stakeholder group convened by Governor Jerry Brown and state regulatory officials. Ag Council is actively involved in these detailed discussions about the areas of proposed legislative and regulatory reform.

The Prop 65 stakeholder group has met to discuss litigation reform/attorney’s fees and the group is now discussing warnings. The next area of discussion is Maximum Allowable Dose Levels (MADL) and other remaining topics.

Ag Council will continue to strongly represent our members’ interests as these efforts continue at the state level.

To read an op-ed detailing how Prop 65 impacts Ag Council’s members, click HERE.

Vidak Wins Senate Seat – Does this Impact the Supermajority?

Andy Vidak--photo courtesy of www.vidakforsenate.com

Andy Vidak–photo courtesy of www.vidakforsenate.com

Republican Andy Vidak won the July 23 special election for state Senate District 16 against Democrat Leticia Perez. The San Joaquin Valley district includes parts of Fresno, Kern, and Tulare Counties and all of Kings County. According to the Secretary of State’s website, Vidak won with 52 percent of the vote over Perez’ 48 percent.Vidak resides in Kings County and grows cherries.  He is also a rancher who raises cattle in Tulare County.

The results of this race now leave state Senate Democrats hanging onto a supermajority with 27 votes–a bare minimum needed to retain the current two-thirds supermajority. With a supermajority, the political party in power is able to more easily increase taxes, override vetoes, and place constitutional changes on the ballot before voters.

The special election took place due to the resignation of former Senator Michael Rubio in February. Vidak is finishing out Rubio’s term, which expires in November 2014. To continue serving in the Legislature, Vidak will need to run again in November 2014 in Senate District 14 (the district number changes due to the new district maps approved by the California Citizens Redistricting Committee).

In the Assembly, Democrats no longer hold a supermajority as a result of two vacancies that will not likely be filled prior to the end of the legislative session this year.

Ag Council Welcomes New Member – CHS

CHS_LogoAg Council is pleased to announce CHS Inc. as a new member. CHS is a leading global agribusiness owned by farmers, ranchers and cooperatives across the U.S. CHS helps farmer-owners and other stakeholders grow their businesses through domestic and global operations.

On becoming an Ag Council member, John Engelen, Vice President of Government Affairs said, “On behalf of CHS, I am looking forward to working with Ag Council and lending our support as it highlights the important role played by farmer owned coops in sustaining California agriculture.”

CHS is a Fortune 100 company supplying energy, crop nutrients, grain marketing services, livestock feed, food and food ingredients, along with business solutions including insurance, financial and risk management services. The company operates petroleum refineries/pipelines and manufactures, markets and distributes Cenex® brand refined fuels, lubricants, propane and renewable energy products.

Find out more about CHS by clicking HERE.

Legislature in Recess

The state Legislature continues its summer recess, which began earlier in July. The Assembly resumes hearings and legislative activity in the Capitol on August 5 and the Senate returns on August 12.

Ag Council will resume a regular newsletter schedule when the Legislature returns.

In the meantime, in case you missed Ag Council’s previous newsletter with coverage of water fees in the state budget and the status of a fertilizer tax, click HERE for an update.

White House Immigration Report

Amidst the immigration debate in Congress, the White House has released an economic report, “The Economic Benefits of Fixing our Broken Immigration System.”

The report provides information on how the immigration reform bill approved by the U.S. Senate strengthens the economy, boosts the nation’s Gross Domestic Product, increases productivity, decreases budget deficits and promotes job growth.

The report also reveals the cost of short term ag production losses if immigrant labor is eliminated.

Click HERE to read the report.

Fertilizer Inspection Board Vacancies

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) recently announced three vacancies on the Fertilizer Inspection Advisory Board, which advises CDFA’s Fertilizing Materials Inspection Program to safeguard that the fertilizing materials sold to consumers are safe, effective and of the quality guaranteed by the manufacturer.

Two vacancies are for individuals holding a fertilizer license or are a representative of a licensed fertilizer firm. The third vacancy is for a public member. Advisory Board members serve a three-year term of office, and the positions are unpaid. However, traveling expenses are reimbursable.

Applicants should hold a current fertilizing materials license or be a representative of a licensed firm. To apply, send a brief resume to California Department of Food and Agriculture – Feed, Fertilizer, and Livestock Drugs Regulatory Services Branch, 1220 N Street, Sacramento, CA 95814, Attn: Maria Hicks or via email maria.hicks@cdfa.ca.gov.

The deadline to apply is September 1, 2013.  Click HERE for more information.