Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.
APRIL 7, 2006
California Farm Bureau Friday Review
AB 1924 Paul Koretz (D-West Hollywood) will be up in the Assembly Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee
in a few weeks. This bill seeks to increase penalties for destroying bird nests and requires that a California
Department of Fish and Game warden certify a nest is abandoned before it could be legally destroyed. CFBF is
opposed to this bill and is working with a coalition of agriculture and business groups to defeat the proposal. In
addition to the wildly inflated penalties included in the bill, there are a number of odd provisions that we have
concerns with; including the loss of privacy for anyone found to be in violation of the measures, the lack of
clarity as to which bird species are covered, and the lack of definition of abandoned nests.
The Assembly Public Safety Committee held a special hearing this week on AB 2110 Loni Hancock (D-
Berkeley) a bill to ban live field coursing. Field coursing is a licensed hunting activity in which groups of
hunters bring their dogs out to chase and kill rabbits. Originally, the bill defined live field coursing as an
untethered dog chasing a rabbit, hare, or fox, which resulted in injury or death to the animal. This definition
caused great concern to CFBF and we initially opposed the bill. However, the author accepted amendments that
narrowed the definition of live field coursing to a competition in which dogs are scored based on their hunting
skills when coursing live rabbits, hares, or foxes. The bill also includes a number of exemptions relating to
dogs used in agricultural operations. With this amendment, CFBF removed its opposition and the bill passed
out of committee on a 4 to 3 vote.
Also up in the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee this week was SB 1342 Wesley Chesbro (D-
Arcata) a bill to extend the length of Timber Harvest Plans (THPs) for operations practicing uneven-aged
management. CFBF is opposed to this bill unless it is amended to include even-aged management and forestry
operations in Santa Cruz counties. The bill passed out of committee on another party line vote of 5 to 2.
Senator Perata’s Heritage Tree bill, SB 1799, passed out of the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee
this week. This year’s bill is extremely similar to the previous heritage tree bill, SB 754 Don Perata (D-
Oakland) the bill defines a heritage tree by age and size and makes it a crime to harvest or harm a heritage tree.
CFBF’s own Larry Maillard traveled to the State Capitol to testify before the committee as a private forest
landowner. Despite Maillard’s eloquent testimony, the bill still passed out of the committee 5 to 2 on a straight
party line vote. Not surprisingly, votes were cast for the bill before the opposition was even given a chance to
testify. The bill now moves to the Senate floor where CFBF will continue to oppose the bill, but expects it to
SJR 16 Mike Machado (D-Linden) came back to life again this week. You might remember that Senator
Machado introduced this resolution last year to urge the federal government to allow private companies to test
all cattle for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE). CFBF opposed this resolution due to the unnecessary
scare tactics the author used to promote the necessity of this resolution. Fortunately the Senate Agriculture
Committee voted 1 to 3 for the bill, so it is now dead.
AB 2763 Pedro Nava (D-Santa Barbara) would create a new category of farm worker housing called relocatable
housing. The measure, supported by Farm Bureau, would define relocatable housing as a manufactured home
or mobile home that would be operated exclusively as migrant farm worker housing on a site during a growing
season and would be removed from the site in the off season. It would have to be operated in compliance with
the habitability, licensing and inspection requirements of the Employee Housing Act. The bill would also
require that the housing be consistent with agricultural land use requirements. AB 2763 provides an innovative
approach to open up more opportunities to help relieve the chronic shortage of safe and sanitary housing for
seasonal farm workers. The measure is also supported by Western Growers, the Grape and Tree Fruit League,
the Wine Institute, Association of Wine Grape Growers, California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, Citrus
Mutual and the Agricultural Council. The bill passed unanimously out of the Assembly Housing Committee.
Be careful filling out any air quality permit paperwork because SB 1205 Martha Escutia (D-Whittier) could
soon cost you a hefty fine after being approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on a 3-1 vote. An extremely
punitive air penalty bill, the Children's Breathing Rights Act, would increase the civil penalties for violations of
any air pollution law, regulation, emission limitation, permit condition, or filing requirements from
nonvehicular sources from $1,000 to $10,000. It would eliminate affirmative defenses and civil liability
provisions relating to violations of air quality laws so it would not make any difference if your mistake was
intentional or not. Starting June 1, 2007, an additional civil penalty of up to $100,000 per day would be
assessed for each violation committed by a serious and chronic violator of nonvehicular air pollution laws.
CFBF is opposed.
AB 3011 John Benoit (R-Palm Desert) would address two important transportation issues of concern to farmers
and ranchers. This measure mandates that foreign trucks entering into California would be required to meet the
same state and federal proof of financial responsibility, maintenance and safety standards that domestic motor
carriers must comply with in order to do business in California.
In addition, this bill creates a very important exemption that allows farmers using the highway system, hauling
their own hay in the course of conducting their farming operation, to secure their hay loads under the same
safety standards that they have used for decades. This exemption can be credited to the California Highway
Patrol’s recognition that the new federal load securement regulations do not specifically address the uniqueness
of this commodity. The new rules are inappropriate for the safe tie-down of this type of load and could create an
unsafe driving condition if farmers are required to comply. AB 3011 will be heard in the Assembly
Transportation Committee on April 17th. CFBF is in support.
Water Quality Fees for Farm Runoff Proposed to More than Double. Last year, The State Water Resources
Control Board established a 12 cents per acre regulatory fee for participants in regulatory programs for irrigated
agriculture adopted by the Central Valley, Central Coast (Southern San Mateo to Santa Barbara County) and
Los Angeles (Ventura and Los Angeles Counties) Regional Water Quality Control Boards. Due to
miscalculations by the State Board regarding the actual number of acres enrolled in these programs, and
overstaffing by the Central Valley Regional Board, the fees collected last year fell well short of the actual cost
of staffing these programs at the three regional boards and the State Board.
Meanwhile, particularly in the Southern San Joaquin Valley counties, we are learning that there are many
hundreds of thousands of acres, if not millions, that do not discharge to surface waters of the state, and should
not have to enroll in or pay into the program.
This year, in order to increase their fee revenue, the State Water Board is proposing to increase the existing 12
cents per acre fee to 31 cents per acre, a 258% increase in fees in one year, to pay for the same program that was
paid for last year. Several Watershed Coalitions, which are actually implementing the Irrigated Lands Program
in the Central Valley, are objecting to paying this increase. They argue that the Central Valley Board has
overstaffed the program, and that if more revenue is needed it should be collected from those who should be
enrolled in the program but have not done so. The State Water Board has not yet set a formal hearing date on
Proposed Water User Fee for Delta Exporters. Assemblymember Dave Jones (D–Sacramento) has introduced
AB 2208. This bill would require the State Department of Water Resources to develop a proposal for a water
user fee that would be charged to those who receive water exported from the Sacramento – San Joaquin River
Delta. The bill would require the DWR to submit a proposal to the legislature by January 1, 2008, which
identifies the various beneficiaries of water exports from the Delta, and, using the ‘beneficiary pays’ principle,
propose a fee structure that provides a steady revenue stream to ensure the continuing viability of the Delta as a
critical piece of conveyance and water supply infrastructure for the state. This bill has been assigned to the
Assembly Water Parks and Wildlife Committee but has not been set for hearing at this time.
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