Capitol Alert

Issue Date: September 17, 2014

Your Guide to Legislation that Impacts  California Family Farmers and Ranchers 

Gov. Brown has just two weeks to sign or veto the remaining legislation that was approved by the Legislature in the final weeks of the session.

There are a number of important issues still awaiting action. If you have not yet sent a letter to the governor on the groundwater management or labor bills, visit and click on the Farm Team icon.

We are continually updating the Capitol Alert section on our website as the governor takes action on bills. Visit for up-to-date information.

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.

Signed 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.

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

Awaiting action by Gov. Brown:
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 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 failed passage in the Senate 13-15.

Amendments made to remove opposition:
AB 1634 (Skinner, D-Berkeley) Cal/OSHA Violations
AB 1634 was a bill that denied 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 undermined a new appeal process installed last year by the Cal/OSHA Appeals Board to ensure quick abatement of such citations.

Signed by Gov. Brown:
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 was signed 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.

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

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