Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.
JUNE 2, 2006 California Farm Bureau Friday
With the June 2nd deadline for bills to be approved in their house of origin, the fate of many of this year’s
legislative proposals was decided this week. Some measures were killed by being held in the Appropriations
Committee in each house, while others were either defeated or simply not taken up on floors of the Senate or
Assembly. Those approved by their house of origin still have to pass muster in the second house. Here is what
happened to some of the bills important to California’s farmers and ranchers.
AB 1870 (Sally Lieber, D-Mountain View) would add a visible smoke test to the current vehicle inspection and
maintenance (smog check) program by January 1, 2008. Current Smog Check procedures could allow a
smoking vehicle to pass as the test only measures exhaust emissions and not the particulate matter (PM) found
in visible tailpipe smoke. AB 1870 will close this loophole as smoking vehicles emit a total of 1.6 tons per day
of PM in California. The bill passed the Assembly 64-11. CFBF supports.
AB 2063 (Keith Richman, R-Northridge) was held in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. This CFBF
supported bill would have allowed a school district to receive average daily attendance (ADA) revenue for
students participating in agricultural youth leadership programs sanctioned by an extension program of the
University of California.
AB 2479 (David Cogdill, R-Modesto) would reauthorize the Weed Management Area (WMA) program and
allow $2.5M to be continuously appropriated from the General Fund. The WMA program, administered by the
California Department of Food and Agriculture, is a prime example of how state funds can be leveraged for
extensive local efforts to control and eradicate noxious weeds. Funding for this very successful program ended
in 2004. Every dollar provided by the state at the onset of the program in 2000 was matched 3-1 over through
federal matching funds, grants, private donations, and volunteer work. The Assembly unanimously approved
the measure. CFBF supports.
AB 2840 (John Benoit, R-Palm Desert) required a study be conducted prior to the adoption of any regulatory
changes in the manner in which automobile insurance rates are calculated. This Farm Bureau supported bill
resulted from proposed changes by the Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi that would increase insurance
premiums in 52 out of 58 counties, some as high as 30 percent in rural and suburban areas. The bill was held in
the Assembly Appropriations Committee. There was an attempt by the author to amend an urgency clause into
the bill to spare it from this week’s deadline, but as of this writing it is not known if the committee adopted the
SB 729 (Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto) is a comprehensive revision of the state's water quality control statutes, few
of which would affect agriculture directly. California Farm Bureau has expressed concerns to the author over certain provisions of the bill, and is working with the author's office to address these concerns. The Senate
passed SB 729 on a vote of 21-12.
SB 1205 (Martha Escutia, D-Whitter) the Children's Breathing Rights Act would increase the civil penalties for
violations of any air pollution law, regulation, emission limitation, permit condition, or filing requirements from
nonvehicular sources from $1,000 to $10,000. The bill is based on the false premise that certain businesses
choose to violate existing air rules while accepting fines as the cost of doing business. Starting June 1, 2007, an
additional civil penalty of up to $100,000 per day would be assessed for each violation committed by a serious
violator of nonvehicular air pollution laws. SB 1205 passed the Senate 21-13. CFBF opposes.
SB 1252 (Dean Florez-D-Shafter) will add an additional layer of civil penalty up to $25,000 per violation to be
administered by the state or any of the 35 California air districts for any discharge of particulate matter in
violation of current local, state or federal ambient air quality standards, rules or regulations or permit
conditions. Existing law already provides sufficient penalty provisions for violating state air quality statute and
regulations. In addition to being excessively punitive by allowing a regulator to impose two fines for the same
violation, SB 1252 increases the violation threshold to $50,000 in 2010. SB 1252 was approved 22-13 in the
Senate. CFBF opposes.
SB 1310 (Sheila Kuehl, D-Santa Monica) would require large forest landowners (over 50,000 acres) to adopt
sustained yield plans for their timber operations. This bill also makes wholesale changes to the Nonindustrial
Timber Management Plan (NTMP) program by allowing landowners with up to 10,000 acres to adopt NTMPs.
However, these new NTMPs would have significant new restrictions and standards placed upon them.
Additionally, the provisions of the bill would not only apply to new NTMP applications but to existing NTMPs
as well. The bill passed the Senate on party line votes of 24-14. CFBF is opposed.
SB 1379 (Don Perata, D-Oakland) would enact the Healthy Californians Biomonitoring Program. The
legislation has an erroneous presumption that there is a cause-effect relationship between the detection of a
chemical in a person and adverse health outcomes. An approach that relies on biomonitoring data as the sole
indicator for public health intervention will be faulty and would lead to an unwise use of limited state resources.
SB 1279 was approved by the Senate 23-13. CFBF is opposed.
SB 1535 (Kuehl) would require the Department of Fish and Game to implement its comprehensive Wildlife
Conservation Strategy. The bill also includes a provision to increase fees paid to the Department of Fish and
Game for Timber Harvest Plans (THP). CFBF has expressed its opposition to this provision because timber
operators already pay significant fees to the Department for review of THPs and streambed alteration
agreements included in THPs. This bill also passed the Senate 24-14.
SB 1640 (Kuehl) would establish a statewide requirement for monitoring and reporting groundwater levels in
groundwater basins. If local governments, special districts, or voluntary cooperatives do not carry out the
monitoring, then the Department of Water Resources (DWR) will conduct the monitoring, and charge local well
owners for the costs. The type of information provided by this requirement could be helpful to farmers and
ranchers, particularly in disputes with growing urban communities over groundwater resources. However, the
implementation of this effort through a state mandate and the ability of the DWR to impose its costs on rural
communities are serious concerns. SB 1640 passed the Senate 25-13. Farm Bureau will oppose the bill as it
proceeds through the Assembly unless significant amendments are taken to address these concerns.
Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:14 AM Pacific
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