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California Farm Bureau Federation Friday Legislative and Governmental Update

February 5, 2016

AB 67 (Lorena Gonzales, D-San Diego) requires grocery and retail employers to pay twice an employee’s regular rate of pay if the employer requires the employee to work on Thanksgiving. Prior versions of AB 67 would have required payment of twice the regular rate of pay on Christmas as well. AB 67 failed to garner the required 40 votes to pass the Assembly in June 2015, and was placed on the inactive file. AB 67 was amended on January 25, 2016 to limit its application to retail and grocery stores and to exempt employers of 500 or fewer employees. With these amendments, AB 67 passed the Assembly on a 43-22 vote on January 27.

The State Water Resources Control Board (Water Board) held a Water Quality Fees Stakeholder Meeting this week. The meeting began with an overview of the condition of the 2015-15 Waste Discharge Permit Fund (WDPF) and 2016-17 budget cost drivers. The WDPF houses funds for nine programs which include the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System, Storm Water, Waste Discharge Requirements (or General Orders), Land Disposal w/o Tipping Fees, Land Disposal with Tipping Fees, 401 Certification, Confined Animal Facilities, the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program and Cannabis.

The Water Board’s goal is to maintain a 5 to 10 percent reserve in the overall fund, which is currently at 10.9 percent. Because the reserve is a bit high and the Storm Water Program over collected, the Storm Water Program will likely see a reduction in fees this year. Although there is no projected fee increase for the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program this year, staff stated the program is underfunded by $260,000.

The Water Board staff will hold another Water Quality Fees Stakeholder Meeting in June and another update on the WDPF later this summer. The Water Board is expected to adopt the 2016-17 fee schedule in September.

The Water Board suspended monthly reporting requirements this week for statement holders in the Delta and the Sacramento and San Joaquin watersheds. As part of the integrated emergency drought response, the Water Board issued an information order last year requiring affected statement holders to report their water diversions for each month by the fifth day of the succeeding month through September 13, 2016.

In light of the current conditions, but mindful of the on-going long-term drought, the Water Board is exercising their discretion to temporarily suspend the requirement for monthly reporting for the month of January, which would otherwise be due today, February 5th. The Water Board will continue to monitor conditions and will make future decisions with respect to monthly reporting as conditions develop.


The Water Board will consider adopting two resolutions at their February 16th meeting. One resolution directs staff to develop beneficial uses pertaining to tribal tradition and cultural subsistence fishing. The other resolution would establish the human right to water as a core value and top board priority and provide guidance to staff and the Regional Water Quality Control Boards concerning its implementation.

Tribal Resolution: http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/board_decisions/adopted_orders/resolutions/2010/rs2010_0062.pdf 

Human Right to Water Resolution: http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/board_info/agendas/2016/jan/010516_2_with_draft_resolution.pdf



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