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May 15, 2009

California Farm Bureau Federation Friday Review of Bills

SB 413 (Denise Ducheny, D-San Diego) would have required waste dischargers, including some permitted
agricultural operations to pay an annual fee to update water quality control plans, also known as basin plans.
The basin plans were developed in 1975 to qualify California for federal funding, to update water treatment
facilities. Through bond funding, the state paid for contractors to develop the basin plans and they have not been
adequately funded since. Farm Bureau arranged discussions between the author and other farm and business
organizations about possible amendments that could facilitate funding basin plan amendments without a
mandatory fee. As a result of discussions and the authorís willingness to listen and understand concerns, the bill
has been pulled by the author and is now a two-year bill.

AB 64 (Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles and Paul Krekorian, D-Burbank) was extensively amended subsequent to
its hearing in the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources. AB 64 is the Assemblyís omnibus renewable
portfolio standard legislation to increase the requirement to procure at least 33% of the electricity for customers
from renewable energy resources by 2020.

Much of the language that prompted Farm Bureau to take an oppose position on the bill has been removed from
the bill. That language would have established the Renewable Infrastructure Authority. The Authority would
have been given very broad powers and the use of eminent domain to implement them. In lieu of the Authority
the bill would establish an Energy Planning and Infrastructure Coordinating Committee (EPIC Committee),
which will be tasked with identifying appropriate areas for renewable generation and designating and ranking
transmission corridors. Farm Bureau is currently assessing the new language to determine how the bill would
affect current transmission planning. Discussions have begun about how to coordinate the Assembly version
and two Senate versions of the renewable portfolio standard legislation. The bill is awaiting a hearing in the
Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Labor and employment-related legislative measures Farm Bureau is following continue to progress through the
legislative process:

AB 793 (Dave Jones, D-Sacramento), which would dramatically amend state law to expand workplace
discrimination causes of action, was passed in the Senate on May 14. AB 793 specifies that the statute of
limitations restarts with each pay period even if the original discriminatory policy was instituted years or
decades ago, opening new avenues for discrimination lawsuits.

AB 854 (Juan Arambula, D-Fresno) which would require a Farm Labor Contractor to certify there are no court
judgments or Labor Commissioner orders related to unpaid wages against him or her when seeking renewal of
his or her state FLC license, is pending before Assembly Appropriations and is on the Suspension suspension.
Farm Bureau remains neutral at this time.

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              Page Updated: Saturday May 16, 2009 01:28 AM  Pacific


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