The Crush November 2023 - 4

By Michael Miiller
A few weeks ago, Governor Newsom met his deadline to
act on legislation, thereby bringing an end to the 2023
legislative year. Because 2023 is the first year of a twoyear
legislative session, reporting on legislative results
thus far is a bit like reviewing the scorecard for the front
nine of an 18-hole round of golf. Things went well, and
we may want to stop in the clubhouse for a beverage, but
there are still nine holes to go.
With that in mind, below is a brief summary of the sand
traps we avoided, the creek that created trouble, and the
52' putt that dropped in for an eagle - all of which made
up the 2023 legislative year.
All in all, it was mostly a good year for growers on water
issues. CAWG-sponsored SB 659 (Ashby, D-Sacramento)
was signed into law. This bill will put California on a path
to substantially increase the state's groundwater recharge
efforts through a long-term plan to provide a reliable
supply of water for growers.
CAWG also pushed back on several bills that would have
either threatened existing water rights or created new
regulatory hurdles to drilling new water wells. Those bills
were substantially amended to address grower concerns
or were put on hold until 2024.
There were several bills sponsored by labor unions
that were either substantially scaled back, or vetoed.
Governor Newsom vetoed the following bills which
were opposed by CAWG because of cost concerns for
employers or unworkability of the bill.
* SB 799 (Portantino, D-Burbank) would have
provided unemployment insurance benefits for
striking workers (who chose to be unemployed).
* SB 627 (Smallwood-Cuevas, D-Los Angeles) and
AB 1356 (Haney, D-San Francisco) would have
created new rehiring and notice requirements for
employers relative to layoffs.
Newsom also vetoed AB 316 (Aguiar-Curry, D-Winters)
which was pushed by the Teamsters to keep autonomous
semi-trucks off California highways.
However, Newsom signed SB 616 (Gonzalez, D-Los
Angeles), which guarantees employees five days per year
of paid sick leave, up from three days previously. The bill
initially proposed seven days of leave annually.
Newsom signed SB 553 (Cortese, D-San Jose) which
provides workplace safety standards for protecting
employees from workplace violence.
Page 4 | November 2023
Pest Management
Unfortunately, AB 363 (Bauer-Kahan, D-Orinda) was
signed into law to allow the Department of Pesticide
Regulation (DPR) to conduct a new evaluation of the use
of neonicotinoid pesticides and to then create new control
measures based on that evaluation. It is unclear what, if
anything, DPR will do with this new authority or how that
authority fits into DPR's Sustainable Pest Management
Unfinished Business
CAWG co-sponsored AB 1024 (Aguiar-Curry, D-Winters)
which is intended to streamline the process for creating
irrigation ponds using stream flow diversions during
storms. This bill was placed on hold while we continue
working with regulatory agencies to address their
Additionally, CAWG co-sponsored AB 54 (Aguiar-Curry,
D-Winters) to create a program in CDFA and provide
funding for research into smoke taint and how wildfires
affect winegrapes. That bill was held due to cost concerns
for the state. CAWG will continue pushing for this muchneeded
CAWG also sponsored SB 375 (Alvarado-Gil, D-Jackson)
to provide employers with financial relief from the cost of
compliance with COVID-19 workplace safety standards
(yes, they are still in place). Ironically, that legislation
was also held due to cost concerns for the state, while
employers are expected to continue shouldering those
costs through the end of 2024.
As we look at the year ahead, we anticipate some of the
above issues coming back again. Priority legislation in
2024 will likely address the following:
* Extending the Pierce's Disease Control Program
* Increasing Minimum Wage
* Expanding UI Benefits & Increasing UI Taxes
* Increasing the Mill Tax Assessment on Pesticides
* New Restrictions on Water Wells
* Continued Threats to Water Rights
* Making it Easier to Build Ag Worker Housing
* Identifying and Funding Alternatives to Open Ag
As we leave the clubhouse, we know that the back nine of
the 2023-24 legislative session includes some challenges.
In taking on these challenges, CAWG is carrying a full bag
of clubs, we have an extra sleeve of balls, and the Dalai
Lama is our caddy.
So we got that going for us. Which is nice.

The Crush November 2023

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Crush November 2023

The Crush November 2023 - 1
The Crush November 2023 - 2
The Crush November 2023 - 3
The Crush November 2023 - 4
The Crush November 2023 - 5
The Crush November 2023 - 6
The Crush November 2023 - 7
The Crush November 2023 - 8
The Crush November 2023 - 9
The Crush November 2023 - 10
The Crush November 2023 - 11
The Crush November 2023 - 12
The Crush November 2023 - 13
The Crush November 2023 - 14