Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.
SEPTEMBER 9, 2005
California Farm Bureau Friday Review
Legislation to impose on California employers one of the highest minimum wages rates in the country
is on its way to Governor Schwarzenegger for his possible signature or veto. The measure, AB 48 (Sally
Lieber, D-Mountain View) passed the Senate to the Governor, on a largely partisan vote of 26 to 14
Senator Abel Maldonado, (R-Santa Maria), was the only Republican casting an “aye” vote. The bill
would increase the minimum wage to $7.75 per hour over a two-year period and thereafter would be
increase yearly based on the California rate of inflation.
County Farm Bureau’s and their members are urged to immediately write Governor
Schwarzenegger asking him to veto AB 48. Please refer to the CFBF ACTION ALERT web site
http://capwiz.com/cfbf/issues/?style=D for a sample letter.
Governor Schwarzenegger has vetoed legislation actively opposed by Farm Bureau that would have
required growers to pay their piece-rate employees extra wages on top of their piece-rate earnings for
state-mandated rest periods. AB 755, (Hector De La Torre, D-South Gate), sponsored by the California
Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, virtually identical to legislation introduced last year, was also
vetoed by the Governor.
The Governor stated in his veto message that the provisions of AB 755 would essentially require that
piece-rate workers be paid twice for their rest periods. This is unreasonable and overly burdensome on
After hours of negotiation and endless legislative hurdles, AB 1011 (Barbara Matthews, D-Tracy) was
approved in the last hours of the 2005 legislative session. AB 1011 will insure a fair and open
marketplace so the growers in California will now have the same plant protection tools that the other 49
states are able to use. These important changes will streamline and expedite the registration process of
the Department of Pesticide Registration and insure that pesticide manufacturers who have invested
resources in this state to maintain California only data requirements will receive a share of costs for
producing that data.
AB 1011 will also require retailers that sell home and garden pesticides to be subject to the same
pesticide mill assessment that agricultural users pay on their pesticides. This provision should result in
at least $4 million in additional annual fee revenues. This will allow DPR to track more closely the use
of urban pesticides.
Assembly Member Barbara Matthews worked tirelessly as the author of AB 1011. She is to be
commended for the effort it took to shepherd this important legislation through its many political
challenges. Many thanks are also due the County Farm Bureaus, their members and other agricultural
associations who joined the coalition to support AB 1011 and contacted their legislative representatives.
It received strong bipartisan support in both houses and is fully expected to be signed by the governor.
Despite united opposition from a number of agricultural organizations, including California Farm
Bureau Federation, legislation that will significantly expand the causes of action to impose civil
penalties for pesticide violations was approved by the legislature. The Department of Pesticide
Regulation (DPR) and the California Agricultural Commissioners and Sealers Association spent the last
year jointly developing and adopting an enhanced Pesticide Enforcement Response Policy that will help
ensure consistent application and compliance with statutory and regulatory mandates relating to
The agricultural community asked DPR to take the additional step of adopting this new enforcement
policy as a regulation to avoid the often made claim that policies are “underground regulation” and
therefore unenforceable. The fact that SB 455 (Martha Escutia, D-Whittier) is premature and the
regulations should be allowed to be put in place before further restrictions are put into law fell on deaf
ears during the legislative process. SB 455 reduces the flexibility for county agricultural commissioners
to impose penalties to match the problem.
Please contact Governor Schwarzenegger on the CFBF ACTION ALERT
http://capwiz.com/cfbf/issues/?style=D for a sample opposition letter. Please let the governor
know you oppose SB 455.
SB 453 (Charles Poochigian, R-Fresno), the bill to extend the sunset on the Central Valley Rural Crime
Prevention Program finally passed both houses last night and is on its way to the Governor’s desk. The
bill included an urgency clause, which means it goes into effect immediately upon receiving a signature
by the Governor. All of our members in the Central Valley put significant effort into getting this bill
Now we need to keep up the pressure to ensure a signature by the Governor. Please send letters of
support to the Governor soon. A sample letter is available at CFBF’s ACTION ALERT website
The legislature acted on two water bills opposed by Farm Bureau, defeating one and sending the other
to the Governor’s desk.
During the final hours of the 2005 session, the Assembly decisively defeated SB 646 (Sheila Kuehl, D-
Santa Monica) a water quality fee and enforcement bill, on a vote of 30 in favor and 43 opposed. A
broad bipartisan group of Assembly members opposed the bill, which would have derailed current
collaborative water protection efforts and replaced them with bureaucracy, fees, and penalties.
On the other hand, the Assembly gave approval by a 49 - 27 final vote to Senator Kuehl’s SB 820,
which will require farmers and ranchers statewide to install water meters on their wells and report their
annual groundwater use to the water rights regulators at the State Water Resources Control Board.
While most democrats supported the bill and most republicans opposed, several Republican members,
from the Southern California service area of Metropolitan Water District, were instrumental on
obtaining passage of the bill:
Lynn Daucher (R-Brea), Bill Emmerson (R-Rancho Cucamonga), Tom Harmon (R-Huntington Beach),
Shirley Horton (R-Chula Vista), Jay La Suer (R-La Mesa), and Todd Spitzer (R-Orange).
A few Democratic Assembly members from agricultural districts did not support the bill, with Central
Valley legislators Barbara Matthews (D-Tracy), Nicole Parra (D-Hanford), and Juan Arambula (D-
Fresno) voting No, and Central Coast representatives Simon Salinas (D-Salinas) and Pedro Nava (D-
Santa Barbara) abstaining from the vote.
After passage in the Assembly, SB 820 went back to the Senate for concurrence in amendments taken
in the Assembly. The bill barely passed the Senate on a 21-16 vote, where once again a Southern
California republican, Bob Margett (R-Arcadia) provided the vote necessary for passage. Democratic
Senators Dean Florez (D–Shafter) and Denise Moreno Ducheny (D-San Diego) joined the remaining 14
Republican Senators in voting against the bill in the Senate.
While SB 820 has largely been an environmental activist-backed bill, the efforts of Metropolitan Water
District were decisive in winning passage of the bill in the legislature.
CFBF continues to oppose this bill, and urges farmers to contact the Governor’s Office to ask for
his VETO on SB 820. A sample letter is available at CFBF’s ACTION ALERT website
Two bills opposed by Farm Bureau that did not get to the Governor’s desk were:
• SB 109 (Deborah Ortiz, D-Sacramento) would have imposed both civil and criminal penalties
for air quality violations and double the already large potential penalties and fines. Under
existing law, the recovery of a civil penalty for an air quality violation prevents criminal
prosecution for the same offense. SB 109 would have repealed that provision and would allow
both civil action and criminal prosecution for the same offense.
• SB 999 (Mike Machado, D-Linden) gave authority to appoint representatives to the San Joaquin
Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District that were not accountable to the district’s voters.
The current local appointment system in the San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control
District (SJVUAPCD) requires its members to be accountable because they must be elected city
or county officials.
A bill that was amended significantly in the last two weeks to create a new unfunded statewide
regulatory program to deal with naturally occurring asbestos (NOA) was defeated on the Assembly
floor and became a two year bill. SB 655 (Deborah Ortiz, D-Sacramento) would have had significant
land use and fiscal impacts on the state, including agriculture. Despite the fact that US EPA has yet to
issue the risk assessment associated with casual NOA exposure nor have any testing scenarios been
extrapolated to better understand the potential health effects of long-term exposure, SB 655 would have
created an unfunded CalEPA task force that would have developed project control mitigation measures
to combat the effects of NOA. The task force would have also provided oversight to an unfunded $3
million mapping program to determine where NOA may be present. It should be noted that if NOA is
discovered in the environmental review process of a project, local lead agencies already have the
authority to mitigate the potential health risks.
While Farm Bureau shares the author’s concerns about the potential risks associated with living,
working and playing in areas with naturally occurring asbestos, the fact that certain serpentine rock
formations exist in 44 of our 58 counties does not mean that there is automatically a definable health
hazard to individuals. We reminded lawmakers that farmers and ranchers are all too familiar with the
Legislature creating new regulatory programs without funding, only to find out subsequently that they
will be the ones to pay for the bill through the imposition of “fees.”
The bill fell 10 votes short of the 41 needed for passage and reconsideration was granted, so it will be
considered next year. The opponents to SB 655 suggested that the bill be scaled back to a mapping
program and that appropriate funding be sought in next year’s budget process.
Nutrition was a big focus during this legislative session and led to some last minute wrangling to get SB
281 (Abel Maldonado, R-Santa Monica) passed by both houses. SB 281 creates the California Fresh
Start Pilot Program, which dedicates $18 million to schools to use to purchase fresh fruits and
vegetables for students. This program is one tool that schools can use to help teach students healthy
eating habits and create lifelong consumers of California grown products.
Also on the way to the Governor’s desk is AB 826 (Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara) to create the
California Farm to School Child Nutrition Improvement Program. This bill works to reduce barriers that
prevent successful implementation of direct marketing programs for California farmers to provide their
products to California’s schools. CFBF supported both of these nutrition bills.
Both houses also passed AB 1061 (Barbara Matthews, D-Tracy), which creates a streamlined process
for growers to contest payments to CDFA’s Market Enforcement Branch for claims under $30,000.
CFBF supported this bill.
Senator Machado (D-Linden) decided not to try to jam through his two bills, SJR 16 and SB 905,
dealing with Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy. Both bills try to set up a voluntary testing scheme to
allow beef to be labeled as BSE tested. The federal government does not allow states to create their own
testing protocols and CFBF is opposed to both bills. We’ll be ready to deal with them as soon as the
legislature gets back to work in January.
Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:14 AM Pacific
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