Time to Take Action
Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.

MARCH 30, 2007 California Farm Bureau Friday Review - Current bills

AB 186, by Assembly Member Bill Maze (R-Visalia), was placed on the Assembly Appropriations Committee Suspense File this week. All bills with a fiscal impact to the state of greater than $150,000 are placed on the Suspense File and ultimately, leadership decides which bills are allowed off of the Suspense File. AB 186 would extend the sunset date for the Central Valley Rural Crime Prevention Program (CVRCPP) to 2012. Currently, the program is set to expire in 2009. CFBF supports this bill. Not included in AB 186 but important for the CVRCPP, the Governor’s proposed budget for 2007/08 would include $4.143 million to support the CVRCPP, which is an increase from the $3.343 included in the 2006/07 budget.

AB 844 by Assembly Member Tom Berryhill (R-Modesto) will be amended shortly to include language that CFBF has developed to address the increasing rate of metal thefts in California. The proposed language requires scrap metal recyclers to:

(1) make payments to scrap metal sellers by check after a 10 day holding period,

(2) hold scrap metals purchased for 15 days unless they keep on file a photograph or video of the scrap metal purchased, and

(3) record a physical description of the scrap metal seller or keep a photograph or video of the seller.

Once the bill is amended it will be referred to a policy committee for its first hearing. Look for more information in upcoming Friday Reviews.

Senator Florez’s (D-Shafter) package of bills dealing with food safety and leafy green vegetables passed out of the Senate Agriculture Committee this week. CFBF expressed it’s opposition in what was a very animated hearing of SB 200, SB 201, and SB 202.

SB 200 originally provided broad quarantine authority to the new Department of Public Health (DPH) and required growers to obtain licenses from DPH before growing leafy green vegetables. Based on amendments that Senator Florez provided to the committee verbally, it appears that SB 200 now would coordinate an inspection system by both DPH and the Department of Food and Agriculture. The bill also changes the Department of Health Service’s current embargo authority and designates risk factors used to prioritize inspections. Additionally, the quarantine and the licensing provisions were removed from the bill. SB 200 passed out of committee on a party line vote of 3-2.

SB 201 originally placed leafy green growing practices in statute and required all growers to adhere to these practices. The bill included a prohibition of the use of water from creeks, tributaries, and streams for irrigation. Senator Florez offered to amend the bill to remove the restrictions on water use after realizing that this prohibition would essentially eliminate the use of all surface water for irrigation. He also amended the bill to eliminate its authority if a Marketing Order for leafy greens is adopted. This bill passed out of committee on a party line vote of 3-2.

SB 202 originally required leafy green growers and handlers to create a trace back system using Julian dating, create a recall coordination team, and conduct an annual mock recall. Senator Florez has amended this bill to allow a wider range of trace back systems and require the mock recall to occur not less than biennially. This bill passed out of committee 4-1, with Senator Denham voting no.

None of these proposed amendments were in writing, which made for a very interesting yet confusing hearing. Senator Florez and Senator Maldonado’s staff will be drafting these amendments, which should be available next week. Once the amendments are available CFBF will review the new language to determine whether or not our position on any of the bills will change.

Assembly Member Rick Keene (R-Chico) introduced AB 735, “The Employer Security and Accountability Act,” at a press conference held on March 29th. The bill would require all non-U.S. citizens working in California to obtain a special state work permit (CWP).

At the current time we believe the measure, would force California employers to violate federal prohibitions against (1) inquiring about an employee’s or job applicant’s citizenship, (2) asking them for particular types of documentation of their employment eligibility; and (3) discriminating against them based on their national origin or citizenship by requiring employment-eligible (i.e., legal) aliens to have a permit that U.S. citizens wouldn’t need.

Additionally it could affect the constitutional doctrine of federal supremacy that a state cannot authorize what the federal government prohibits. Although AB 735 “would allow undocumented immigrants three years to work in the state,” the employment of an employment-ineligible (i.e., illegal) alien with a CWP would still violate federal law.

AB 735 could have unintended consequences of deterring employment by creating a new state penalty of $10,000 for hiring without a CWP. The measure also calls for a whistleblower hotline for the reporting of employers suspected of hiring unauthorized workers. Farm Bureau will be working with the author to better understand his intent and to address our concerns.
Home Contact


              Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:14 AM  Pacific

             Copyright © klamathbasincrisis.org, 2007, All Rights Reserved