in the KNOW

March 2, 2013

Legislators Introduce New State Measures

More than 1,300 Assembly bills and just over 800 state Senate measures were filed in the Legislature before the bill introduction deadline of February 22.  Bills will not be acted upon until 30 days have passed from the date of introduction, with the exception being the Budget Bill.

Below are a few measures in areas of interest to our members, along with a brief summary derived from the text of the bills. Ag Council staff is either engaged in or watching these measures closely given the potential impact on our members. The list is not comprehensive.

State bills continually change throughout the legislative process and–given it is early in the legislative year–outcomes will likely not be known for several months.

Ag Measures

California Food, Farms and Jobs Act-AB 38
Author: Speaker Perez (D-Los Angeles)
AB 38 states it is the intent of the Legislature to enact a bill to improve state programs supporting local and regional farm and food system infrastructure, expanding access to healthy foods  and creating new job growth and economic development by boosting the number of direct and retail markets.

Market Milk Stabilization and Marketing Plan-AB 31
Author: Dr. Pan (D-Sacramento)
AB 31 would require a specific formula to establish the price for class 4b market milk that includes a dry whey value factor that is no less than 80 percent of the dry whey value used in federal milk marketing orders in establishing minimum producer prices. AB 31 also authorizes every plant that purchases class 4b market milk to deduct a dry whey credit.

Direct Marketing; Certified Farmers’ Markets-AB 996
Author: Assemblyman Dickinson (D-Sacramento)
AB 996 would make it unlawful for a person to purposefully make a statement, representation, or assertion about the sale or availability of ag products that is false, deceptive or misleading. Such a violation would be a misdemeanor.

Labor Bills

Confidentiality Privilege for Unions-AB 729
Author: Assemblyman Hernandez (D-West Covina)
This bill would provide union agents a privilege to refuse to disclose confidential information—regardless of whether the information was divulged during communication between the employee and union agent—if obtained in the course of his or her professional duties while acting in a representative capacity.

Read a SacBee article about the bill HERE.

Farm Labor Contractors-SB 168
Author: Senator Monning (D-Carmel)
SB 168 states that a successor to any farm labor contractor (FLC) that owed wages or penalties to a former employee of the predecessor FLC (whether the predecessor was a licensee or not) would be liable for those wages and penalties if the successors meet specific criteria.

Climate Change Legislation

Global Warming Offsets-AB 153
Author: Assemblywoman Bonilla (D-Concord)
The Air Resources Board is authorized under the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 to include the use of market-based compliance mechanisms. This measure would require the state board by January 1, 2014 to adopt a process for the review and consideration of new offset protocols, if the Board exercises its authority to use market-based compliance tools.

Prop 65 Bills

Prop 65 was approved by voter initiative in 1986 and requires warning signs or labels where there is risk of exposure to substances that cause cancer or reproductive harm.

Chemical Exposure-SB 650
Author: Senator Lieu (D-Torrance)
SB 650 is currently a placeholder bill, called a “spot bill,” regarding Prop 65 and more details will be forthcoming on this measure as a proposal is developed.

Chemical Listing-AB 227
Author: Assemblyman Gatto (D-Burbank)
AB 227 states that those in violation of the warning requirements of Prop 65 would have 14 days after receiving notice to demonstrate that the violation has been corrected.

Please do not hesitate to contact Ag Council at ph. 916.443.4887 if you have questions about any of the above bills. As the legislative process moves forward, we will keep you apprised of these and other bills.

Dry Conditions Persist

A snow survey conducted this week by the Department of Water Resources (DWR) reveals water content in snowpack is 66 percent of average for this time of year. This is the driest January and February on record since 1920, according to DWR.

DWR Director Mark Cowin said, “Near record dry weather combined with pumping restrictions to protect Delta smelt are making this a gloomy water supply year. This scenario is exactly why we need an alternative water conveyance system as proposed in the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to both protect fish species and give California a reliable water supply.”

The State Water Project’s main storage reservoir, Lake Oroville, is at 80 percent of its 3.5 million acre-foot capacity. Shasta Lake, the Central Valley Project’s major reservoir, is at 79 percent of its 4.5 million acre-foot capacity.

Click HERE to read the full statement by DWR.