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in the KNOW

September 12, 2015

“That’s a Wrap” for the Legislature

State Capitol - Photo Credit : Reuters

State Capitol – Photo Credit: Reuters

On September 11, the California State Legislature wrapped up the 2015 regular session with the Assembly concluding after midnight, and the Senate finishing-up just prior to the Assembly.

As usual, it was a dramatic ending, with one major climate change measure stalling and another significantly pared-down in order to garner final approval. In addition, a deal on the regulation of marijuana in California came together while the special session on transportation funding remains pending with work continuing in the coming months to find a path forward to fund ailing transportation infrastructure in California. Also, a resolution denouncing Donald Trump – due to his comments about immigrants – even made its way through the State Senate.

With the Legislature adjourning , please read on for an overview of the measures Ag Council has been involved in over the past several months on behalf of our members, as well as the status of those bills.

Antibiotics

SB 27 by Senator Hill (D-San Mateo)

  • Addresses antibiotic resistance in humans via changes in how medically important antibiotics are used in livestock & poultry – provisions include the following:
    • Requires a veterinary prescription or a veterinary feed directive for medically important antibiotics used in livestock and poultry
    • CDFA to develop a voluntary monitoring system in coordination with the federal government to gather information on sales and use of medically important antibiotics and then review whether there is any correlation between use and findings of antibiotic resistance
    • CDFA must also develop stewardship guidelines for medically important antibiotics
  • Position: Neutral
  • Status: Approved by Legislature and heading to Gov. Brown’s desk

Climate Change

SB 32 by Senator Pavley (D-Agoura Hills)

  • Mandates further reductions to greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) specifically requiring that the Air Resources Board take action to lower GHG emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 and then 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050
  • Position: Opposed
  • Status: SB 32 did not have the votes to pass and will be considered next year

SB 350 by Senator de Leon (D-Los Angeles)

  • By 2030, the bill:
    • Raises the existing Renewable Portfolio Standard to 50% power generation from renewable fuels
    • Requires a 50% increase energy efficiency in buildings
  • The section requiring a 50% reduction of petroleum-based fuels was eliminated from the bill in order to garner enough votes for passage – many ag & business groups opposed the petroleum provision, including Ag Council
  • Position: No position after the petroleum reduction mandate was removed
  • Status: Passed by Legislature and signed by Governor Brown on October 7, 2015.

AB 1496 by Assemblyman Thurmond (D-Richmond)

  • Requires the Air Resources Board (ARB) to complete a comprehensive study of Short Lived Climate Pollutants, including an analysis of methane
  • Author accepted an amendment pursued by Ag Council and others to remove the provision in the bill that would have given authority to the ARB to reclassify methane as an air pollutant
  • Without the amendment, ARB would have been given the authority to bypass the existing science-based process required to reclassify methane, which includes an extensive public process
  • Position: Neutral with the ag amendment accepted by the author
  • Status: Passed Legislature and awaiting Gov. Brown’s consideration

AB 1288 by Assemblywoman Atkins (D-San Diego)

  • AB 1288 is a last minute “gut & amend” bill to expand the current Air Resources Board (ARB) membership from 12 to 14 and requires the two new members to be individuals who work directly with pollution burdened and vulnerable populations
  • Unlike other ARB members, AB 1288 does not require that the two new individuals have any experience, interest, and proven ability in the field of air pollution control
  • Position: Opposed and veto requested
  • Status: Approved by the Legislature and pending before Governor Brown where Ag Council and others have requested a veto

Excavation
SB 119 by Senator Hill (D-San Mateo)

  • Excavation/811-Call before you dig measure relating to the safety of subsurface installations
  • Among other provisions, requires an advisory committee in consultation with CDFA to address the long-term treatment of ag to ensure safe ag practices around high priority subsurface installations, such as natural gas infrastructure
  • Position: Neutral due to amendment stating that ag is treated as a unique industry with input from CDFA
  • Status: Approved by Legislature & sent to Gov. Brown for consideration

Fish & Wildlife


AB 1201 by Assemblyman Salas (D-Bakersfield)

  • Directs the Department of Fish and Wildlife to develop a science-based approach to address the predation of protected species by predators in the Delta
  • Position: Support
  • Status: Stalled in the Assembly Appropriations Committee

Food Labeling

ABX2-14 by Assemblyman Gatto (D-Silver Lake)

  • Bill would label food that is irrigated with water from the oil extraction process
  • After being provided with the facts about this issue, the author gave his commitment that the bill will not move forward
  • Position: Opposed
  • Status: Bill was not referred to policy committee and was not considered before the end of the legislative session

Labor


AB 561 by Assemblywoman Campos (D-San Jose)

  • Limits due process at the Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) by requiring an employer, seeking a review of an ALRB decision, to post a bond in the amount of the entire economic value of the order as determined by ALRB
  • Position: Opposed and veto requested
  • Status: Passed by Legislature and sent to Gov. Brown for his review where Ag Council and others have requested a veto

AB 1513 by Assemblyman Williams (D-Ventura)

  • Voluntary “safe harbor” for employers paying piece rate to affirmatively defend against claims for failure to pay employees for rest and recovery periods and non-productive time
  • Position: This measure arose at the end of the legislative session, and Ag Council expressed support, if amended – however – requested amendments were not taken in the waning days of the session, so Ag Council did not take a position on the bill.
  • Status: Passed the Legislature and is on its way to Gov. Brown

SB 406 by Senator Jackson (D-Santa Barbara)

  • Significant expansion of the California Family Rights Act creating a separate 12 week protected leave of absence for employees
  • Increases costs, risk of litigation and is out of conformity with federal law by expanding the type of family members (in-laws, grandparents, grandchildren, siblings, etc.) for whom leave may be taken
  • Position: Opposed and veto requested
  • Status: Passed Legislature and sent to Gov. Brown’s desk where Ag Council and others have requested a veto

SB 3 by Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco)

  • Minimum wage increase to $13 by 2017
  • Position: Opposed
  • Status: Stalled in the Assembly Appropriations Committee

Water

AB 1390 by Assemblyman Alejo (D-Watsonville)

  • Improves the efficiency of groundwater adjudications during the court process – procedural bill that does not alter water rights
  • Position: Support
  • Status: Passed by Legislature and sent to Gov. Brown’s desk where Ag Council and others will ask that he sign the bill

SB 226 by Senator Pavley (D-Agoura Hills)

  • Ensures adjudication process does not conflict with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act – procedural measure that does not interfere with water rights
  • Position: Support
  • Status: Approved in the Legislature and awaiting Gov. Brown’s consideration where Ag Council and others will urge him to sign the bill