State Issues Update
Executive Orders From The Governor:
- Detailed Timeline Governors Executive Order and Actions
- On March 4th, Governor Newsom declared an official state of emergency.
- On March 19, 2020 Governor Newsom issued an Executive Order putting into place the Memorandum On Identification Of Essential Critical Infrastructure Worker During COVID-19 Response which states, “Everyone to stay home except to get food, care for a relative or friend, get necessary health care, or go to an essential (critical) job. If you go out, keep at least 6 feet of distance.” It can be read here https://covid19.ca.gov/img/N-33-20.pdf
- Call for the closure of bars, wineries, breweries and pubs, except for venues that are currently authorized to provide off sale beer and wine. Bars, breweries, pubs, and wineries that include meals provided by a full kitchen should follow the restaurant guidance below if they provide delivery or pick-up options.
- List of agricultural activities deemed essential
- March 24, 2020 Governor Newsom announced that President Donald Trump has approved California’s request for a presidential Major Disaster Declaration to bolster California’s COVID-19 emergency response efforts. The Major Disaster Declaration makes federal funding available to state, tribal and local governments for emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance.
- (3/27/2020) Governor Newsom issued an executive order banning the enforcement of eviction orders for renters affected by COVID-19 through May 31, 2020. The order prohibits landlords from evicting tenants for nonpayment of rent and prohibits enforcement of evictions by law enforcement or courts. It also requires tenants declare in writing, at least 1 week before rent is due, that the tenant cannot pay due to COVID-19. A copy of the Governor’s executive order can be found here.
California Department of Food & Agriculture Resources
- Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has also built a dedicated landing page to provide resources for the food and agriculture sector that can be found HERE.
- CDFA blog highlighting US Homeland Security definition of critical infrastructure sector, which includes working in the food and agriculture sector. Planting Seeds blog: https://plantingseedsblog.cdfa.ca.gov/wordpress/?p=20949
- Due to recent events with COVID-19, CDFA has extended the acceptance period for applications from dairy and livestock operators for its Dairy Digester Research and Development Program (DDRDP) and Alternative Manure Management Program (AMMP). The new grant application deadline is 5 p.m. PT, April 27, 2020, which is a 30-day extension. Prospective grant applicants are encouraged to visit the DDRDP and AMMP webpages for additional information about the programs and grant requirements.
- CDFA has posted a guidance and best practices document for livestock markets.
Market Enforcement Branch
- Important information for producers if a contract has been cancelled or they have not been paid in full by vendors, as a result of COVID-19.
California Farm Bureau State Action Items
- Request the State of California to suspend implementation of new regulations and halt regulatory proposals being considered by state agencies that affect agriculture. Letter to Governor Newsom.
- Farm Bureau has been successful in petitioning the Newsom Administration to exempt transporters of agricultural products from licensing and hours-of-service requirements for the time being.
- Farm Bureau has interceded on behalf of farmers’ markets to ensure that they may remain open as an essential service to the community with the guidance issued by the Department of Public Health.
- Farm Bureau is working to reverse or mitigate the directive that shuts down wineries and allow for them to continue business but under revised protocols.
- Provide regulatory relief of AB 5 to permit flexibility for providers of agricultural services not included in the definition of agriculture in Wage Order 14 (Section(2)(D), excluding (2)(D)(8)), at least until July 1, 2021, to allow various free-lancers to provide much needed services like equipment repair, chemical application, timber harvesting services and the like on a contract basis.
- Asking lawmakers to support, the California Agricultural Overtime Premium Tax Credit Act, AB 2956 (Rivas), which will encourage farm employers to increase the income of farm employees by relieving them of the financial burden of paying overtime wage premiums.
- Continue to ease California’s transportation regulations in order to maintain timely delivery of perishable commodities, supplies and equipment needed for the COVID-19 emergency response. We appreciate the governor’s issuance of Executive Order N-31-20 which ensures the maximum flexibility for the transportation of perishable goods so that Californian’s have a sustainable supply of fresh agricultural products in our grocery stores.
- Ensure that health and food safety employees and law enforcement officials responsible for border protection stations, ensuring food safety compliance, and local officials carrying out county agricultural functions remain working even under “shelter in place” conditions.
- Ask that the State Water Resources Control Board to work with all stakeholders and sister agencies such as the Department of Fish and Wildlife to implement functional flows through the voluntary settlement agreements for the immediate benefit of species, the environment, communities and agriculture that rely on their legal water rights for survival.
- Stay State Water Resources Control Board recommendations to further increase water quality fees. The board increased water quality fees on agricultural operations the past several years, including irrigated agriculture, dairy and other confined animal feeding operations and anticipates the need for an incremental fee increase this year again.
- Stay State Water Resources Control Board recommendations to further increase water rights fees.
- (3/30/3020) California Farm Bureau and Milk Producers Council submit letter to Gov. Newsom concerning trespass and potential disruption of critical industry by animal rights groups during governor’s COVID-19 shelter in place order.
- (4/15/2020) Cal Chamber and CFBF coalition letter to Gov. Newsom requesting a pause on non-essential state regulatory functions that will not impact measures designed to protect imminent harm to human health. Specifically urging the Governor to issue an Executive Order temporarily suspending all pending new rulemaking, as well as any rules or amendments first taking effect after the stay-at-home order of March 19, 2020, not urgently needed to protect public health, for all state agencies and commissions for at least six months. Read letter HERE.