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MARCH 31, 2006 California Farm Bureau Friday Report

The Assembly’s Budget Subcommittee on State Administration approved the funding for the
Williamson Act Subvention program on a 4 to 0 vote on Wednesday, March 29th. Chairman Rudy
Bermúdez (D-Norwalk), Juan Arambula (D-Fresno), Chuck DeVore (R-Irvine), and Mike Villines (R-
Fresno) all supported the Governor Schwarzenegger’s recommended General Fund appropriation of
$39,606,000. This action along with the Senate’s concurrence last week means that the item should not
be a conference item in June.

Three labor-sponsored measures, to increase the state minimum wage and then automatically increase it
thereafter to the rate of inflation, passed their first policy committees on straight partisan votes. The first
measure, SB 1162 by Senator Gil Cedillo, (D-Los Angeles), passed the Senate Labor and Industrial
Relations Committee on a 3 to 1 vote. It would increase the state minimum wage from the current level
of $6.75/hour to $7.25/hour on September 1, 2006, and a second increase to $7.75/hour on July 1, 2007,
and each January 1 thereafter, it would automatically be adjusted to the rate of inflation.

A similar measure, but without automatic adjustments, was refused passage by the committee. The bill,
SB 1167, Abel Maldonado (R-Santa Maria), would have increased the wage to $7.75 by July 1, 2007.
The Schwarzenegger Administration supported it. The Assembly Labor and Employment Committee
then took action and passed two measures similar to SB 1162. The first was AB 1835, by Assembly
Member Sally Lieber (D-Mountain View) and the second AB 1844, by Assembly Member Ed Chavez
(D-La Puente).

One or all three of the bills could eventually end up on the Governor’s desk. He has clearly indicated he
would veto any bill that has automatic inflation adjustment provisions. He already vetoed similar
measures in 2004 and 2005. Farm Bureau is actively opposing the Cedillo, Lieber and Chavez bills on
the basis that farmers and ranchers cannot simply pass on automatic wage increases to consumers. If
anything, the legislature should be looking for ways to relieve challenges associated with farming in
California. Based on long-standing policy, Farm Bureau opposes minimum wage increases unless they
are on a uniform national basis so that California farmers can compete with their counterparts in other

The concept of establishing a California biomonitoring program has been before the Legislature for the
past several years. In each case, the coalition that has opposed the proposal has publicly stated that
biomonitoring can provide unique exposure information to physicians, scientists, and health officials to
help understand what people are exposed to in air, water, food, soil, dust or other environmental media.

The collection of biomonitoring data - as part of a carefully designed and implemented research program
- can enhance our understanding of exposures, and with further study, health outcomes. Unfortunately,
every proposal has been flawed for a number of reasons.

A large coalition, including California Farm Bureau Federation, opposed SB 1379 Don Perata (D-
Oakland) this week in the Senate Health Committee because of the following concerns:

• Lack of a health risk framework for interpreting the biomonitoring results and for communicating
these results;
• The absence of science based criteria for developing the program;
• The lack of clarity in the role of the advisory panel;
• The legislation’s erroneous presumption that there is a cause-effect relationship between the
detection of a chemical in a person and adverse health outcomes.
• The legislation is not needed, as it does not recognize Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s
direction to the Health and Human Services Agency and Environmental Protection Agency to
begin to develop a science-based, comprehensive approach to this issue.
SB 1379 was approved on a 5-2 vote and will be heard next in the Senate Environmental Quality
Committee on April 17.





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