Updated September 2, 2014
Your Guide to Legislation that Impacts California Family Farmers and Ranchers
The Legislature worked early into the morning of Aug. 30, to complete the business of the 2013-14 legislative session. The end of August was the make-or-break deadline for bills advancing to Gov. Brown. Below you will find an account of what transpired with key bills in the final days of the legislative session.
While the Legislature has adjourned, there is still work to be done: Gov. Brown has until Sept. 30 to sign or veto remaining legislation.
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 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 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 passed the Senate 22-8; amendments were approved in the Assembly 52-25, and the bill now moves to the governor.
AB 1634 (Skinner, D-Berkeley) Cal/OSHA Violations
As a result of amendments adopted on Aug. 25, Farm Bureau removed its opposition to this bill and now has no position on it.
AB 1739 (Dickinson, D-Sacramento), SB 1168 (Pavley, D-Agoura Hills) and SB 1319 (Pavley, D-Agoura Hills) Groundwater Management
AB 1739, SB 1168 and SB 1319 rush to deal with groundwater management by casting a cloud over 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 passed the Senate 26-11 and the Assembly 47-28; SB 1168 passed the Assembly 47-27 and the Senate 25-10; and SB 1319 passed the Assembly 48-26 and the Senate 24-10. All three bills now move to the governor.
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 passed the Senate 22-12; amendments were approved in the Assembly 47-24, and the bill now moves to the governor.
AB 2416 (Stone, D-Monterey Bay) Liens: Laborers and Employees
AB 2416 would have allowed 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 failed passage in the Senate 13-15.
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 was amended in the final days of session. SB 25 passed the Assembly 42-25; amendments were approved in the Senate 22-12, and the bill now moves to the governor.