Capitol Alert


Issue Date: August 13, 2014

Your Guide to Legislation that Impacts California Family Farmers and Ranchers

Legislators are reviewing hundreds of bills this week that need to be acted on before the Aug. 31 deadline. A number of bills being heard in the Senate and Assembly Appropriations Committees were sent to the "suspense file." Bills that have a certain cost associated with them are sent to the suspense file, where they are held until the committee can assess cost and the state's financial situation. The deadline for acting on these bills in committee is Aug. 15.

While action often comes quickly during the end of the legislative session, you can always check the current status of the bills we are watching by clicking on the Farm Team icon at www.cfbf.com and viewing the key bills list.

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 bill provides for a modest increase in the required rescission fees and allows counties to retain half. Farm Bureau is a sponsor of this legislation. AB 2241 is currently on the Senate Appropriations suspense file.

AB 2313 (Nestande, R-Palm Desert) Metal Theft
AB 2313 expands law enforcement's ability to focus on the metal theft epidemic and ensures that existing laws aimed at reducing metal theft are enforced, by creating a Metal Theft Task Force Program. Farm Bureau is a sponsor of this legislation. AB 2313 is currently on the Senate Appropriations suspense file.

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 is awaiting action on the Assembly floor.

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 is currently on the Senate Appropriations suspense file.

AB 1634 (Skinner, D-Berkeley) Cal/OSHA Violations
AB 1634 denies 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 undermines a new appeal process installed last year by the Cal/OSHA Appeals Board to ensure quick abatement of such citations. AB 1634 is currently on the Senate Appropriations suspense file.

AB 1739 (Dickinson, D-Sacramento) and
SB 1168
(Pavley, D-Agoura Hills) Groundwater Management
AB 1739 and SB 1168 rush to solve groundwater-management issues for basins in overdraft 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.Both bills continue to be amended in the Appropriations Committees.

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 is currently on the Senate Appropriations suspense file.

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 is currently on the Senate Appropriations suspense file.

 

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