The 2013 legislative year for the California State Assembly is now in the books. Legislators completed their work in Sacramento last Thursday and now the spotlight focuses on the governor to see which bills he will sign and veto. Bills that did not make it out of the Legislature this year can easily be revived in January when the session reconvenes. In addition to bills listed below, WG supported several bills that help reduce the roadblocks in getting money to small disadvantaged communities with drinking water challenges due to nitrate and other contaminants.
AB 8 (Perea) Support: This bill extends the current authorization for the Carl Moyer Program until 2024. Grants through the Carl Moyer Program will be an essential component of California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) tractor rule. Carl Moyer funding has helped thousands of growers reduce their costs when replacing diesel agricultural equipment. WG is requesting that it be approved by the governor.
AB 10 (Alejo) Opposed: The governor and legislative leaders agreed to a minimum wage increase in the waning hours of this year’s legislative session. AB 10 raises the minimum wage by $1.00 on July 1, 2014 and an additional $1.00 on January 1, 2016. Although the governor has already committed to signing AB 10, WG’s Tom Nassif has communicated the Association’s opposition to the governor, noting the economic harm that will occur to farmers who cannot pass higher wage costs on to buyers. In addition, Nassif has informed the governor that this wage increase undermines the bipartisan negotiated agreement on farm worker wages passed by the U.S. Senate as part of its immigration reform bill, and that approval of AB 10 will “affect agriculture’s position on the House immigration bill.”
AB 60 (Alejo) Support: This bill would grant undocumented immigrants the opportunity to apply for a driver’s license. Legislative leadership was supportive of the bill and the governor has indicated that he will sign it into law.
AB 69 (Perea) Opposed: This bill would place a tax on fertilizer to address nitrate issues in groundwater. The bill was held in the Senate and is now a two-year bill.
AB 571 (Gatto) Support: This bill appropriates $5 million from the General Fund to the Citrus Disease Management Account in the Department of Food and Agriculture Fund. The funding will be used to aid in the research and development of citrus disease prevention. WG is requesting that it be approved by the governor.
AB 1330 (Speaker John Pèrez) Opposed: This bill would have doubled civil and criminal fines and penalties on permitted facilities located within designated Environmental Justice (EJ) communities. The bill is based on the flawed CalEnviroScreen tool which does not prove cause and effect. The bill was held in the Senate and is now a two-year bill.
SB 25 (Steinberg) Opposed: This bill expands mandatory mediation (essentially binding arbitration) under the Agricultural Labor Relations Act to renewal contracts. In practice, unions will only need to wait out the required negotiation period in order to force the employer into binding arbitration. The bill also makes it virtually impossible for an employer to obtain an appellate court injunction against an arbitrator’s imposed contract. SB 25 was held in the Senate and is now a two-year bill.
SB 168 (Monning) Neutral: This bill would make a farm labor successor to any predecessor farm labor contractor that owed wages or penalties liable for those wages and penalties under certain circumstances. WG and industry partners worked with Sen. Monning to limit the scope of the bill and more narrowly define the circumstances under which the successor farm labor contractor would be liable. The bill is on the governor’s desk.
SB 726 (Lara) Neutral: Late amendments were added to this bill in the final week of session that called for CARB to identify existing and new control measures to reduce emissions from agriculture and other industries. Following short and intense lobbying, the amendments were dropped and WG was able to remain neutral on the bill. The bill is on the governor’s desk.
Please contact WGA’s Matthew Allen at (916) 446-1435 if you have any questions.
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