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California Farm Bureau Federation Friday Review
of bills and laws, July 17, 2009
It is the 15th day of the state issuing IOU’s and there is no agreement yet on a plan to balance the state
budget. There are concerns about a further decline in the state’s credit rating status and how that will
jeopardize California’s access to infrastructure bond markets. However, it is believed agreement by the Big
Five may be at hand and a budget voted on early next week. The remaining significant budget hang up
relates to how to apply the state’s very complicated school finance law with Democrats wanting repayment
of any education shortfalls and the governor not wanting to do so without a constitutional amendment.
Hopefully next week’s Friday Review will include a report on a budget agreement and approval of same by
the legislature. More to come.
AB 243 (Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara) passed out of the Senate Public Safety Committee 7–0 on Tuesday.
This bill would require the courts to prohibit anyone convicted of certain crimes against animals from
owning an animal for five or ten years, depending on the severity of the crime. Assembly Member Nava took
amendments in the committee allowing livestock or poultry owners the ability to petition the court for an
exemption from this prohibition as long as they can show that the prohibition would impose an economic
hardship on their livelihood and that they can properly care for the animals they own. The amendments also
place the burden of proving that livestock or poultry owners do not meet the standards set forth for an
exemption on the prosecutor. Farm Bureau believes that these amendments provide the proper protections for
livestock and poultry owners convicted of minor crimes against animals, to prevent them from losing their
businesses. These amendments allow Farm Bureau to remove its opposition and take a neutral position. The
bill now moves to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
The Assembly Appropriations Committee placed SB 250 (Dean Florez, D-Shafter) on its suspense file this
week. Senator Florez did not present on the bill, however the committee gave opponents the opportunity to
provide testimony against the bill, prior to its being placed on suspense. Senator Florez has still not amended
the bill to exempt dogs used by hunters, farmers, and ranchers, despite his promise to Senator Wolk. This bill
currently requires all dogs and cats in California to be spayed or neutered, unless the owner obtains an
“intact” permit for the dog, or keeps the cat indoors at all times. If the dog owner has been cited for certain
pet related violations, they are ineligible to obtain an intact permit. Included in the list of violations, is
allowing a dog to run at large. Farm Bureau remains opposed until an exemption for working dogs used on
California’s farms and ranches is included in the bill. The Assembly Appropriations Committee will likely
take up its suspense file the week of August 24th.
The Assembly Appropriations Committee passed SB 448 (Fran Pavley, D-Santa Monica) out of committee
with a unanimous vote of 16–0 on Wednesday. This bill would create a California Safe Harbor Agreement
program providing landowners, who choose to participate, incidental take coverage for species listed under
the California Endangered Species Act when they expand or improve habitat for these species. The bill was
amended last week to add language protecting the confidentiality of proprietary business information of
participants and protecting participants from potential liability if individuals are injured on the property
while completing surveys or other requirements of the program. With these amendments Farm Bureau is
now supporting SB 448. The bill now moves to the Assembly Floor.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today appointed former Assemblymember Jerome Horton to the state
Board of Equalization (BOE). He fills the seat left vacant by Judy Chu who was just elected Tuesday to
Congress in a special election. Horton is a moderate Democrat. His appointment will require confirmation by
both houses of the legislature. Once confirmed he can serve until 2010 and then would be eligible to run for a
full term. He previously worked as staff member for the tax board for two decades. The BOE oversees
property taxes, collects sales taxes and handles income tax appeals cases. It is composed of four members
elected by districts and the state controller.
Page Updated: Sunday July 19, 2009 05:45 AM Pacific
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