The Crush - June 2019 - 5


Legislative Update

By Michael Miiller
The California legislative session is two years in duration
coinciding with elections in even numbered years. The first year
of the 2019-20 session is about halfway done as Senate bills are
now in the Assembly and Assembly bills are now in the Senate.
If bills have not yet been approved in their house of origin, those
bills are dead for the year. So, this is a good time for an update on
how issues are progressing.
SB 449 (McGuire, D-Healdsburg) would extend the program
for five years if approved by growers in a referendum in 2020.
The bill also protects grower dollars by prohibiting overhead
costs for research done by the University of California. This will
ensure that dollars invested in research will actually go to the
research and not administrative charges. SB 449 was approved
unanimously by the Senate and by the Assembly Agriculture
Committee. The bill will be heard next by the Assembly
Appropriations Committee and then the full Assembly.

could remove it from budget
deliberations and leave it to
the normal legislative process
to address the issue. The three
approaches are currently
primarily in AB 217 (E. Garcia,
D-Coachella), AB 134 (Bloom,
D-Santa Monica), SB 200
(Monning, D-Carmel) and a
budget trailer bill.
These bills are competing in
how to fund the program (fertilizer, dairy and water taxes vs.
state general fund dollars), how the program would operate (new
enforcement authority by the attorney general vs. regulatory
relief for growers), and the cleanup steps that need to be taken.
A few key bills that would have increased labor costs for
businesses are dead for the year:

CAWG is also pushing for a $5 million augmentation of the
program's funding in the state budget. The budget must be sent
to the governor by June 15. Leaders in the Senate and Assembly
have been helpful thus far, but this is an open and unresolved
budget issue as of June 5.

AB 555 (Gonzalez, D-San Diego) would have expanded
mandatory sick leave from three to five days annually. It was
opposed by virtually all industries due to the high cost and the
abuses being experienced around the state, as no doctor's note is
needed. AB 555 was not taken up on the Assembly floor.

SB 458 (Durazo, D-Los Angeles) would have banned chlorpyrifos
in California. This bill was held in the Senate Appropriations
Committee. However, the California Environmental Protection
Agency (CalEPA) announced that the Department of Pesticide
Regulation (DPR) will regulatorily ban chlorpyrifos in California
by initiating cancellation of the pesticide. This process will take
between six months and two years.

AB 628 (Bonta, D-Alameda) would have extended unlimited
job protected leave to immediate family members of victims of
sexual harassment. Immediate family member is broadly defined.
This bill would create a significant burden on employers and is
clearly ripe for abuse. AB 628 failed passage on the Assembly
floor 36 to 15.

CalEPA and the California Department of Food and Agriculture
also announced that the governor committed $5.7 million in new
funding to support the transition to alternatives to chlorpyrifos,
and will convene a working group to identify, evaluate and
recommend alternative pest management solutions.
The Senate, Assembly and Gov. Newsom have three proposals
to create a program to clean up drinking water and to fund
the program. This is currently before the Budget Conference
Committee. However, it can be resolved there or the committee

SB 135 (Jackson, D-Santa Barbara) would have substantially
expanded California's Family Leave Program. Many industry
groups were very concerned with how this would be funded.
This bill was not taken up on the Senate floor.
A lot can happen between now and Friday, Sept. 13 when the
California Legislature adjourns for the year. But so far, we
have been successful in making our case to key leaders in both
houses and in the Newsom administration. We still have a lot to
accomplish in the months ahead, but we are encouraged by the
support growers have seen in many Capitol offices.

JUNE 2019 / 5

The Crush - June 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Crush - June 2019

The Crush - June 2019 - 1
The Crush - June 2019 - 2
The Crush - June 2019 - 3
The Crush - June 2019 - 4
The Crush - June 2019 - 5
The Crush - June 2019 - 6
The Crush - June 2019 - 7
The Crush - June 2019 - 8
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