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California Farm Bureau Federation Friday Legislative Review


March 17, 2017 With the bill introduction deadline in the rear lights, we now move on to committee hearings, amendments and changes before the legislature leaves for Spring Break on April 6th.

Commodities: AB 1126 (Committee on Agriculture) would allow the continued use of carbon monoxide to control burrowing rodent pests. In 2011, Farm Bureau sponsored legislation to legalize the use of carbon monoxide for rodent control. However, that bill included a sunset that eliminated the use as of January 1, 2018. AB 1126 will extend the allowance indefinitely. The bill was placed on the Assembly Agriculture Committee’s consent calendar this week, where it passed 10-0. Farm Bureau is the sponsor of AB 1126 that now goes to the Assembly Floor.

AB 822 (Anna Caballero, D-Salinas) would require state agencies and institutions to purchase California grown agricultural products so long as the price is no more than five percent higher than products from outside the state. School districts and state universities would be required to purchase California grown products so long as they didn’t cost any more than outside products with no percent threshold requirement. California farmers have significantly higher costs of production due to California’s stringent regulations and our state should support our farmers and farm employees by purchasing products from farmers meeting those high regulatory standards. The Assembly Accountability and Administrative Review Committee approved it 7-0. Farm Bureau is the sponsor of AB 822 that now goes to the Assembly Agriculture Committee.


SB 769 (Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo) would expand and modify the existing SB 850 (Block, 2014) Community College Baccalaureate Degree pilot program. The bill increases the number of programs from 15 to 30 to give the LAO a larger sample size for the 2022 study; removes the pilot program sunset of 2023; removes the “one program per district” limitation and instead of preventing a community college from offering a baccalaureate program already at a UC or CSU, the bill allows it if the community college is at least 100 miles away from a UC/CSU. Farm Bureau believes that every effort should be made on behalf of the students who would go on to receive their Baccalaureate Degree to have the option of completing it at their local community college. We support extending the program indefinitely and expanding it to 30 programs, as it benefits students who live in rural California and are unable for various reasons to go to a state university, either due to the distance, cost, or responsibilities of farming and ranching life. The Baccalaureate Degree pilot program can make the “higher education goal” a reality for those who would not have had the option otherwise. SB 769 will be heard in the Senate Education Committee April 5. Farm Bureau supports.

SB 370 (Robert M. Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys) would clarify the standard of review for energy efficiency improvements for agricultural equipment and industrial facilities, providing certainty about measurement of the performance of the improvements that have been made. Current evaluation processes are ambiguous about how the measurement is conducted and creates a risk of after the fact re-calculation of utility incentives for improvements made by agricultural electric and natural gas customers. SB 370 will be heard in the Senate Energy, Utilities & Communications Committee on April 4. Farm Bureau supports.

Water: AB 975 (Laura Friedman, D-Glendale) would expand the extraordinary values for 1,362 miles of rivers designated as wild and scenic under the California Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, as well as expand current protections to include the river and adjacent lands within one-quarter mile on each side of the river. The Assembly Natural Resources Committee approved it down party lines, 7-3. Farm Bureau opposes. SB 252 (Bill Dodd, D-Napa) would require new water well permit applicants in critically over drafted groundwater basins to provide information about their application to their neighbors. It would require cities and counties overlying critically over drafted basins to publicly notice new well permit applications. SB 252 will be heard in the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee next week. Farm Bureau and other agricultural organizations oppose the measure as written.


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