Capitol Alert

Issue Date: September 24, 2014

Your Guide to Legislation that Impacts  California Family Farmers and Ranchers 

Gov. Brown has until Sept. 30 to take final action on the bills passed by the Legislature before the two-year legislative session ended on Aug. 31.

Despite more than 1,000 letters sent by our grassroots activists through Farm Team, the governor signed the three groundwater-management bills.

The fate of a number of key bills impacting farmers and ranchers remains in the governor's hands. For example, there is still time to send a letter to the governor encouraging vetoes of Senate Bill 25 regarding Agricultural Labor Relations Board contracts and Assembly Bill 1897 regarding employment obligations when using a labor contractor, by visiting and clicking on the Farm Team icon.

Ag Alert® will be on hiatus next week (Oct. 1), which means the next edition of Capitol Alert will appear in print in the Oct. 8 issue. In the meantime, please visit or and read the online version of Capitol Alert for up-to-date information on bill signings and vetoes.

Farm Bureau SUPPORTS this legislation that would help family farms and ranches:

Signed by the governor:
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:

Vetoed by the governor:
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.

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 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. Together, the bills require certain groundwater basins to be covered by groundwater management plans within five or seven years; the State Water Resources Control Board would be empowered to establish plans in areas that fail to meet the deadline.

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.

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.

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

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