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Capitol Alert

Issue Date: September 10, 2014

Your Guide to Legislation that Impacts California Family Farmers and Ranchers 

The Legislature worked early into the morning on Aug. 30 to complete the business of the 2013-14 legislative session. This was the make-or-break deadline for bills advancing to Gov. Brown. Below, you will find a full account of what transpired with key bills in the final days of the legislative session.

Despite more than 2,200 letters being sent from FARM TEAM members, the groundwater-management bills passed and are headed to the governor. While your Farm Bureau staff was able to achieve some amendments that help take the edge off the bills, the legislation remains detrimental to farmers, ranchers and landowners, creating a new, comprehensive regulatory program. We remain opposed and are asking Gov. Brown to veto the three bills.

The governor has until Sept. 30 to sign or veto remaining legislation, so our work is far from done. Visit 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:

Awaiting action by Gov. Brown:
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.

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.

Farm Bureau OPPOSES this legislation that would harm family farms and ranches:

Awaiting action by Gov. Brown:
AB 1739 (Dickinson, D-Sacramento) Groundwater Management
SB 1168 (Pavley, D-Agoura Hills) Groundwater Management
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.

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, and amendments were approved in the Assembly, 47-24.

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, and amendments were approved in the Senate, 22-12.

Failed passage in the Legislature:
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.

Amendments made to remove opposition:
AB 1634 (Skinner, D-Berkeley) Cal/OSHA Violations
AB 1634 as written would have restricted employers' rights to appeal Cal/OSHA citations, but was amended to narrow its scope and to avoid revising an expedited hearing process for serious Cal/OSHA violations. Following the amendments, Farm Bureau and other employer groups removed opposition and the bill was sent to the governor.

Signed by the governor:
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, and amendments were approved in the Assembly, 52-25.

Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation when reprinting this item.

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