The Crush - August 2019 - 4


California Legislative Year Ends Mid-September
By Michael Miiller
On Aug. 12, the California Legislature returns for the last four
weeks of the 2019 legislative year. In that period, they will need
to reach closure on several issues. If not, the remaining bills will
be put over until 2020, when they can be taken up again.

with the Department of Fair
Employment and Housing.
AB 51 (Gonzalez) would
prohibit binding arbitration in
employment contracts.

Legislators would prefer to deal with the most controversial
issues in 2019, as 2020 is an election year. Many lawmakers,
especially those facing significant opponents on the ballot, would
prefer not dealing with controversy so close to an election.

AB 170 (Gonzalez) would
provide that a company is
liable for sexual harassment by
a contractor.

The Pierce's Disease Control Program has been tremendously
beneficial to California winegrape growers by helping to control
and manage the glassy-winged sharpshooter and other threats
to vineyards. That is why CAWG is supporting SB 449 (McGuire,
D-Healdsburg), which would extend the program for another
five years, if approved by a vote of the growers in 2020. SB 449
has received broad bipartisan support and is not controversial.

AB 673 (Carrillo, D-Los
Angeles) would increase penalties for wage violations.

However, a critical part of that legislation has been how the
University of California (UC) charges the program for research.
That research is entirely paid for with grower dollars. In 2016,
however, UC proposed charging overhead costs of up to 40
percent. An overhead charge of 40 percent could reduce critical
research by as much as $600,000 annually.

SB 1 (Atkins, D-San Diego) would block the effect of any
"rollbacks" by the Trump administration on environmental,
public health and labor regulations.

Over the last few years, CAWG has worked closely with UC to
resolve this issue. We now have a written agreement from UC that
it will not charge the program (and growers) for overhead. This
agreement is ongoing and protects grower funds in perpetuity.
This protection of grower dollars is essential as the program
continues and CAWG is happy to report this agreement from UC.
AB 1783 (R. Rivas, D-Gilroy) is touted as a remedy to California's
ag worker housing problems. However, in reality the bill is
simply an attack on the federal H-2A program. The net effect of
the bill is to reduce funding for ag worker housing and create
additional obstacles for growers to build housing.
Labor issues are always on the agenda in the state Capitol. This
year's challenges include the following:
AB 5 (Gonzalez, D-San Diego) would redefine employees to
include many workers who are arguably independent contractors.
AB 9 (Reyes, D-Los Angeles) would extend the statute of
limitations from one to three years for filing a labor complaint
4 / AUGUST 2019

SB 171 (Jackson, D-Santa Barbara) would require employers to
report annual pay data based on gender and job classification.
Environmental issues are also on the Legislature's agenda. A few
loose ends this year include the following:

SB 54 (Allen, D-Los Angeles) and AB 1080 (Gonzalez) attempt
to address the global problem of discarded plastics that are
later found in our oceans and other areas. However, these bills
create an unrealistic goal of a 75 percent reduction in single-use
packaging by 2030 and allow CalRecycle to develop open-ended
and unforeseen regulations to limit packaging. As more wineries
are moving to nontraditional forms of packaging, these bills are
becoming more important to the industry.
It is doubtful that the Legislature will resolve opposition
concerns and reach consensus on the most controversial bills. It is
likely though that a few terrible bills will land on Gov. Newsom's
desk. Nine months into his administration, Newsom has proven
to have an open door to agriculture and is more pragmatic
than expected in his approach to resolving policy concerns for
Legislation will be landing on the governor's desk in midAugust. He will have until mid-October to act on many of these
bills. Newsom's challenge in the next two months will be to find
a way of respecting the good intentions of many of these bills
while also sending a message to the Legislature that it needs to
resolve reasonable concerns.

The Crush - August 2019

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

The Crush - August 2019 - 1
The Crush - August 2019 - 2
The Crush - August 2019 - 3
The Crush - August 2019 - 4
The Crush - August 2019 - 5
The Crush - August 2019 - 6
The Crush - August 2019 - 7
The Crush - August 2019 - 8
The Crush - August 2019 - 9