Farm Bureau challenges seven bills
Capital Press 8/21/07
The California Farm Bureau said it and its members plan to
fight a number of bills moving through the state Legislature
that will harm family farmers and ranchers.
A statement issued by the California Farm Bureau said the
organization already has delivered letters to legislators
about seven bills that it says will make it more difficult for
farmers to provide "safe, affordable food and farm products in
a sustainable manner."
"Consumers depend on California farmers and ranchers for the
products they need every day, and farmers depend on state
government to establish policies that allow us to thrive,"
California Farm Bureau President Doug Mosebar said in a
written statement. "Family farmers and ranchers will make sure
our policymakers understand how these proposals would harm
The Farm Bureau statement urged legislators to vote down the
following seven bills:
- Senate Bill 180 (Migden, D-San Francisco): Strips farm
employees of their right to a secure, secret-ballot election
by substituting an unprotected process known as "majority
- SB 719 (Machado, D-Linden): Undermines government
accountability by expanding the San Joaquin Unified Air
Pollution Control Board to include appointed members who would
be neither accountable to district residents nor elected by
- SB 974 (Lowenthal, D-Long Beach): Threatens the business
climate by imposing new taxes on all containerized cargo
moving through California ports, with the resulting increase
in shipping costs putting the state's farmers and ranchers at
a competitive disadvantage.
- Assembly Bill 8 (Núñez, D-Los Angeles): Imposes a tax on
farmers, ranchers and other small employers to fund
health-care coverage for those who do not purchase it
- AB 377 (Arambula, D-Fresno): Holds farmers responsible for
illegal activities of farm labor contractors, over which
farmers have no control, by requiring contractors to disclose
on employees' pay stubs the name and address of the farm that
secured the contractor's services;
- AB 1100 (Ruskin, D-Redwood City) and SB 63 (Migden, D-San
Francisco): Threatens the availability of production practices
by requiring meat or milk from cloned animals or their progeny
to be labeled, essentially banning new technology with
benefits to farmers, ranchers and consumers.
Sandy Elles, executive director of the Napa County Farm
Bureau, said protecting agriculture-friendly business is
always a consideration for the organization.
In Napa County, she said they're concerned about the progress
of SB 180, which limits farmworker voting rights in the
process of voting for labor union representation.
She said she hopes the bill doesn't pass the legislature
because the democratic and fundamental right of elections
needs to be protected.
The Farm Bureau reported that it will tabulate legislators'
votes on each of the priority bills and will keep track of
those votes on its legislative scorecard, which is meant to
help constituents evaluate their individual representatives.
Elizabeth Larson is based in Lucerne. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.