in the KNOW

June 16, 2016

Ag Overtime Revived as a Gut & Amend Bill

405767101The ag overtime wage measure has returned as a gut and amend bill, AB 1066, in the California State Legislature. AB 1066 has the same author, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), as the previous measure that failed in the Assembly. AB 1066 is pending in the Senate and will be referred to a policy committee for consideration at a later date.

We oppose this effort to revive the ag overtime measure via a gut and amend bill. The ag community, including Ag Council, our members, and many ag and other partner organizations worked together to build the needed bipartisan opposition to the ag overtime bill, and it failed passage in the Assembly on June 2, 2016.

By gutting and amending a bill in the Senate, Assemblywoman Gonzalez is able to resuscitate the legislation. In a gut and amend bill, a measure is amended to remove the current text in its entirety, and the bill language is completely replaced with new text. In this instance, Assemblywoman Gonzalez amended an education bill pending in the Senate and replaced the language with the ag overtime text. This type of action is common as the Legislature nears the end of the legislative session in August and pressure builds to move bills.

As background, AB 1066 would repeal the current overtime wage law in California for agricultural workers, which pays overtime after 10 hours and 60 hours in a week, and phase in a new overtime pay law for agricultural workers culminating in a requirement to pay overtime after eight hours in one day or 40 hours in a week by 2022. The bill is sponsored by the United Farm Workers.

The changes to ag overtime proposed in AB 1066 would be imposed on top of the $15 minimum wage law passed by the Legislature and signed into law this year. When combined, these changes place significant economic pressure on agricultural and rural areas in our state. AB 1066 adds another regulatory burden onto California agriculture, makes it difficult to remain competitive against other states and nations by increasing production and labor costs, and may result in shorter shifts for workers leading to lower take home pay.

Ag Council will keep you apprised of this issue as we continue our efforts to oppose the bill in the Legislature.