Updated August 27, 2014
Your Guide to Legislation that Impacts California Family Farmers and Ranchers
The Legislature has an Aug. 31 deadline to pass any remaining legislation this session. With a number of big issues left to tackle, legislators are looking for vehicles in which to insert last-minute language or resurrecting bills that had previously sat on the inactive file.
Visit www.cfbf.com and look for the FARM TEAM icon to weigh in on key legislation.
Farm Bureau SUPPORTS this legislation that would help family farms and ranches:
Assembly Bill 2241 (Eggman, D-Stockton) Solar-Use Easements
AB 2241 protects prime farmland by providing an incentive for counties to implement the solar-use easement provisions of the Williamson Act. This Farm Bureau-sponsored bill provides for a modest increase in the required rescission fees and allows counties to retain half. AB 2241 passed out of the Senate 33-0 and awaits action by Gov. Brown.
Senate Bill 1353 (Nielsen, R-Gerber) Williamson Act
SB 1353 repeals the Jan. 1, 2016, sunset on the nine-year and 18-year Williamson Act contracts that require landowners to forgo 10 percent of their property tax relief in a direct payment back to the counties. The 10 percent reduction in program benefits flows exclusively to the counties, letting them recoup 40 percent to 90 percent of their total forgone revenue, and thus allowing them to continue to participate in this voluntary program. Farm Bureau is a sponsor of this legislation. SB 1353 passed out of the Assembly 75-1 and awaits action by Gov. Brown.
Farm Bureau OPPOSES this legislation that would harm family farms and ranches:
AB 1522 (Gonzalez, D-San Diego) Paid Sick Days
AB 1522 requires employers to provide any employee who has worked in California for 30 days with paid sick days for the employee's own illness or that of a family member. AB 1522 awaits action on the Senate floor.
AB 1634 (Skinner, D-Berkeley) Cal/OSHA Violations
AB 1634 denies employers the right to due process by requiring them to immediately abate conditions that Cal/OSHA alleges are a serious, repeat-serious or willfully serious violation of occupational safety and health regulations before the employer can appeal the agency's citation. It also undermines a new appeal process installed last year by the Cal/OSHA Appeals Board to ensure quick abatement of such citations. AB 1634 awaits action on the Senate floor.
AB 1739 (Dickinson, D-Sacramento) and SB 1168 (Pavley, D-Agoura Hills) Groundwater Management
AB 1739 and SB 1168 rush to deal with groundwater management by upending long-standing water rights during the crisis of the current drought. Appropriate protection of groundwater resources for future generations must be carefully thought out, not hurried through a legislative process to meet arbitrary deadlines. AB 1739 and SB 1168 await action on their respective floors.
AB 1897 (Hernandez, D-West Covina) Labor Contracting: Client Liability
AB 1897 holds an innocent farmer or rancher responsible for the employment obligations of an employer with whom the farmer or rancher contracts for labor or services, duplicating laws the Legislature recently enacted to address and prevent the abuse of contracted labor. AB 1897 awaits action on the Senate floor.
AB 2416 (Stone, D-Monterey Bay) Liens: Laborers and Employees
AB 2416 allows any employee, governmental agency or anyone "authorized by the employee to act on the employee's behalf" to record liens on an employer's real property or any property where an employee "performed work" for an alleged, yet unproven, wage claim. AB 2416 awaits action on the Senate floor.
SB 25 (Steinberg, D-Sacramento) Agricultural Labor Relations
SB 25 forces the implementation of an Agricultural Labor Relations Board-imposed contract, even during an appeal. After nearly a year of being on the Senate's inactive file, SB 25 has been amended and is moving in the final days of session. SB 25 must still pass the Assembly and Senate.