California Farm Bureau Federation Friday Review
AB 186 (Maze, R-Visalia and Galgiani, D-Tracy) passed the
Senate Public Safety Committee on a 5–0 vote this week. This bill
extends the Central Valley Rural Crime Prevention Program to 2012.
The program is currently set to expire in 2009. CFBF supports
programs to reduce the incidence of rural crime and improve
recovery rates of stolen goods. The Central Valley Program has
allowed the County Sheriffs in the eight Central Valley Counties
to hire deputies focused on rural crime investigation. The bill
now moves to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Assemblymember Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) has decided to drop his
bill that would allow Native American tribes and “tribal groups”
to immediately cancel Williamson Act contracts on their newly
acquired land. AB 2860 had been amended significantly since its
first hearing in the Assembly Agriculture Committee. Originally,
the measure would have made contracts null and void if the
Williamson Act was taken into federal trust status. As amended,
the bill would have allowed housing, infrastructure and people
serving event centers in the heart of exclusive agricultural zones
by automatically presuming that such uses would outweigh the
purposes of the Williamson Act.
Farm Bureau opposed both versions of the bill. We reminded the
committee, that with all due respect to the tribal sponsors, we
would oppose any measure that seeks to expedite the cancellation
procedure for a Williamson Act contract, regardless of its
beneficiaries. This is due to the fact that the enforceability of
the land use restrictions contained in the contract is critical to
the constitutionality of the preferential property tax treatment
provided by the program. The California Supreme Court ruled that
for the Williamson Act to be constitutionally valid under Article
XIII, Section 8, immediate cancellation of a contract should be
limited to extraordinary circumstance only. (Sierra Club v.
SB 1404 (Lowenthal, D-Long Beach) was amended again April 22. The
new amendments will require any wholesale establishment or
distributor that sells plants in containers of 5 gallons or less
to provide a label indicating the approximate water use of each
plant for six climate zones. There is an exception for stock that
is sold directly to growers. The bill passed out of the Senate
Agriculture Committee on a 3-1 vote and will be heard next in
Senate Appropriations. CFBF is opposed.
Having received no opposition, AB 2714 (Keene, R-Chico) continues
to move through the legislative process on consent. This bill
addresses the “loss of load” issue presented by the incidental
loss of hay or straw chaff from trucks hauling hay on the highway.
The bill has been amended to reflect CFBF’s work with Keene, his
staff and the California Highway Patrol to draft appropriate
language to amend the California Vehicle Code to alleviate this
problem. CFBF sponsored the bill.
SB 1663 (Denham R-Merced) has been significantly amended. The
language that would have created an exemption for farmers and
ranchers from the waste and used tire hauler registration
requirements was stripped from the bill. The new language will
make grant money available (from existing funds) to provide
financial assistance to farmers and ranchers for the
transportation and disposal of used and waste tires and for the
cost of removal and disposal of illegally dumped tires. The grant
program will become inoperative 2012. CFBF is in support.
AB 2402 (La Malfa, R-Chico) passed out of the Assembly
Appropriations Committee on 17-0 vote. This California Trucking
Association sponsored measure will extend the amount of time that
a commercial motor carrier can be stopped, parked, or left
standing within a roadside rest area or viewpoint. Federal
regulation requires a 10-hour rest period for commercial truckers,
current California law only allows for parking in a rest area or
similar location for 8 hours before towing or citation. CFBF is in
Legislation that will require manufacturers that sell pesticide
products in California to establish or participate in a
container-recycling program is moving easily through the
legislative process. Not only did the Senate Environmental Quality
Committee approve SB 1723 (Maldonado, R- Santa Maria) unanimously
on a 7-0 vote, but the Chairman of the Senate Environmental
Committee, Joe Simitian (D- Palo Alto), also became a co-author.
Currently, growers must triple wash empty pesticide containers and
contact their county agricultural commissioner to conduct an
inspection to insure they have been cleaned properly. The
recyclers that are available and certified to take the clean,
empty containers are extremely limited throughout the state. Thus
the ability for growers to take their containers to a recycler in
a timely or efficient manner does not exist for the majority of
California growers. By requiring manufacturers to participate in
the recycling programs, SB 1723 would help insure that more
recycling programs would be available and accessible to growers.