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California Farm Bureau Federation Friday Legislative Review
July 1, 2016
SB 32(Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills) would extend the stateís current greenhouse gas (GHG) program to 2030. Current statute gives the state until 2020 to reduce GHG emissions to 1990 levels. SB 32 would establish a new target of 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 with no oversight by the Legislature and unfettered authority by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to achieve the new GHG reduction goal. SB 32 was approved by the Assembly Natural Resources Committee on a partisan vote of 6-2. Farm Bureau opposes.
SB 1383(Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens) would allow the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to regulate methane emissions from livestock operations based on a draft plan developed by CARB that sets completely unrealistic goals for methane emission reductions and will drive dairies out of California. Farm Bureau opposes. SB 1383 was approved by the Assembly Natural Resources Committee on a vote of 6 - 1. Farm Bureau opposes.
Education:SB 1123 (Connie Leyva, D-Chino) extends the sunset for an additional five years on the option for students to fulfill a high school graduation requirement by successfully completing a career technical education (CTE) course. The law has allowed students to gain practical skills and valuable work experience through CTE courses. Additionally, CTEís practicality and hands-on instructional methods have proven to keep students engaged in their academics and prepare them for career success. The measure passed out of the Assembly with a 79-0 vote and has been sent to the Governor for his signature. Farm Bureau supports.
AB 2206(Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara) This bill resurrects language from SB 1043 (Allen) that would provide broad new requirements for the Air Resources Board to adopt policies, such as a renewable gas standard, which could increase the cost of natural gas. CFBF joined several other agricultural organizations in opposition to AB 2206 as it had to SB 1043. The bill is seen as an effort to establish a mandate for the use of renewable gas, which would also include synthetic natural gas. Opposition to the bill is based on projected costs that would result from ARBís likely implementation approach to the directives in the bill, instead incentives for the development and advancement of bio-methane projects at 2
dairies, landfills, and wastewater treatment agencies are recommended. The bill was to be heard in the Senate Environmental Quality Committee on June 29th, but was withdrawn from the agenda at the last minute. Since the deadline for review of bills by policy committees was July 1, without a rule waiver the bill is finished for the year.
AB 2630 (Rudy Salas, Jr., D-Bakersfield) This bill would add language to the Public Utilities Code to prioritize certain renewable energy projects and accompanying transmission lines based on certain parameters. With the June 20 amendments CFBF was able to go on record in support of the bill, as it added back language to reference the importance of placing projects on marginal land and captured the recently released findings of the University of California at Berkeley and the Governor's Office of Planning and Research multi‐party stakeholder convening. Sponsored by San Luis & Delta‐Mendota Water Authority and the Westlands Water District, the bill now prioritizes the findings of the Convening which resulted in the report "A Path Forward: Identifying Least-Conflict Solar PV Development in Californiaís San Joaquin Valley." The prioritization for projects is focused on retired farmlands within the Westlands Water District. As part of Westlandsí effort to manage its drainage impacted lands and resolve litigation with the United States Bureau of Reclamation, it has agreed to permanently retire not less than 100,000 acres of land from production. While Westlands can no longer irrigate those lands, renewable energy projects are an appropriate use for it. The bill passed in the Senate Energy, Utilities & Communications Committee on a 6 to 0 vote, with 5 not voting. It heads to the Appropriations Committee next. Labor and Employment:
AB 1066(Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego) (formerly AB 2757, defeated by the Assembly on June 2 and revived via a gut-and-amend on June 14) will eliminate the current 10 hour per day overtime threshold for agricultural workers and phase-in a requirement for overtime pay after 8 hours in a work day or 40 hours in a work week over a four-year period beginning January 1, 2017. AB 1066 was passed by the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee on June 29 on a party-line 4-1 vote. AB 1066 is expected to be heard next by the Appropriations Committee on August 1. Farm Bureau opposes.
AB 2261(Roger HernŠndez, D-West Covina) would permit the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) to issue a citation against an employer who it believes has discharged or retaliated against an employee in violation of any requirement of the Labor Code, with or without an employee complaint. AB 2261 passed the Senate Judiciary Committee to the Senate Appropriations Committee by a 5-2 vote on June 29. AB 2261 is expected to be heard by the Appropriations Committee in August 1. Farm Bureau opposes.
SB 702(Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg) allows pear packers in Lake County to continue to employ 16 and 17-year old workers for up to 10 hours/day and up to 60 hours/week during peak harvest season when schools are not in session upon approval by the Lake County Board of Education. State law would otherwise permit employment of 16- and 17-year olds up to 8 hours per day and up to 48 hours per week when schools are not in session. SB 702 passed the Assembly Labor & Employment Committee on June 22 by a unanimous vote and was referred to the Assembly Appropriations Committee. Farm Bureau supports. 3
Natural Resources:AB 2148 (Chris Holden, D-Pasadena) would restrict the use of drones on land owned by the Department of Fish and Wildlife and Department of Parks and Recreation. Early on in the legislative process Farm Bureau succeeded at getting language in to the bill that would allow limited drone use over these lands by neighboring agricultural landowners. This provision would ensure that no permit was necessary if a neighboring farmer flew a drone over the edge of these lands while using a drone on their own property. Last week the bill was amended to prohibit the use of drones in the taking or to assist in the taking of wildlife. This new language would prohibit the use of drones to haze birds off of agricultural lands or to use drones to track wildlife that had injured or killed livestock.
The Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee further amended AB 2148 during the billís hearing this week and eliminated the provisions that allowed access by neighboring agricultural landowners. Farm Bureau is working to put that language back into the bill as well as get amendments that would allow drones to be used to address depredating wildlife. The bill passed out of the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee 6-2.
AB 2087(Marc Levine, D-Marin) would authorize the Department of Fish and Wildlife to approve regional conservation frameworks that allow for pre-approved mitigation by project proponents. The authorís goal is to improve the mitigation process for project impacts to fish, wildlife, and plants. Farm Bureau has concerns with the impacts regional conservation frameworks could have on landowners identified in the frameworks. The Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee passed AB 2087 with a vote of 6-2 this week.
AB 2029(Brian Dahle, R-Bieber, Richard Gordon, D-Menlo Park, and Jim Wood, D-Healdsburg) would expand the Forest Fire Prevention Pilot Project, also known as the "La Malfa" exemption, which currently allows limited harvest of trees that are less than 24-inches in diameter in certain counties for fire prevention purposes. AB 2029 expands the exemption to trees less than 26-inches, allows the building of roads less than 600 feet with slopes of less than 40 percent, extends the program to 2023, and expands the program to the following Counties: Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Del Norte, El Dorado, Fresno, Humboldt, Inyo, Kern, Lassen, Madera, Mariposa, Mendocino, Modoc, Mono, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Sonoma, Tehama, Trinity, Tulare, Tuolumne, and Yuba. To gain passage out of the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee, Assemblymember Dahle accepted amendments that require CalFire and the Board of Forestry to complete a report on the trends, compliance, and effectiveness of the exemptions to Timber Harvest Plan requirements. The expansion of the Forest Fire Prevention Pilot Project wonít take effect until the report, which is due by December 31, 2017, is released. Farm Bureau supports AB 2029, which passed out of the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee this week with a vote of 7-0. Transportation: AB 1960 (Tom Lackey, R-Palmdale) that proposes a narrowly-tailored exemption which would exempt farmers and ranchers from the BIT (Biennial Inspection of Terminal) program passed out of the Senate Transportation Committee on June 28 with a 10-0 vote. This exemption applies to pickups and/or pickup and trailer combinations used solely in agriculture not-for-hire, with a total gross combined weight rating of the pickup and trailer that does not exceed 26,000 pounds and the pickup having a GVWR of less than 16,000 pounds. AB 1960 will be heard on August 1 in the Senate Appropriations committee. The measure Farm Bureau supports. 4
Water:AB 1704 (Bill Dodd, D-Napa) would require the State Water Resources Control Board to consult with the Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) to establish general conditions that simplify the issuance of registrations in a cost effective and environmentally protective manner for small irrigation use. The measure passed out of the Senate Natural Resources Committee 8-0 this week. Farm Bureau is supportive of the intent to simplify and reduce the regulatory burden of permitting small irrigation ponds.
AB 1755(Bill Dodd, D-Napa) would enact the Open and Transparent Water Data Act, requiring the Department of Water Resources, by January 1, 2018, to create, operate and maintain a statewide integrated water data platform. The measure passed out of the Senate Natural Resources Committee 8-0 this week. Farm Bureau has remained actively engaged with the author, discussing areas of concern.
AB 2357(Brian Dahle, R-Bieber) would clarify that only small livestock stockponds that are filled by a year-round diversion for storage are subject to the SB 88 Emergency Regulations adopted by the State Water Board earlier this year. The measure was pulled by the author after Farm Bureau, California Cattlemenís Association and Assemblyman Dahle negotiated an agreement with the State Water Board to draft clarifying language stating that the regulationís measurement requirements do not apply to small livestock stockpond registrations and certificates (10 acre feet or less annual diversions), but instead can estimate their monthly diversion amounts in their annual reporting.
AB 2438(Marie Waldron, R-Escondido) would simplify the construction of recycled water pipelines by exempting projects less than eight miles long from CEQA, helping to increase the accessibility of recycled water for agricultural use in some areas where water supplies have been reduced. The Senate Natural Resources Committee rejected the measure 2-3-2. Farm Bureau supported.
AB 2909(Marc Levine, D-San Rafael) would require the State Water Resources Control Board and the Department of Water Resources to develop and implement an expedited 30-day review process for reoccurring water transfers of one year or less. The measure passed out of the Senate Natural Resources Committee 5-4 this week. Farm Bureauís clarifying amendments were accepted.
SB 554(Lois Wolk, D-Davis) would eliminate the July 1, 2018, sunset on the current authorization of a 75 percent state cost-share in the Delta levee maintenance or improvement program. Without this measure the state reimbursement would be reduced to 50 percent. The measure was heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee and placed on the suspense file. The determination to approve this bill to continue in the legislative process or hold it in committee will be made after the Legislature returns from summer recess in August. Farm Bureau supports.
SB 1317(Lois Wolk, D-Davis) would have required a city or county overlying a high or medium priority water basin to establish a process by January 1, 2018 for issuing a groundwater extraction (groundwater well) permit and prohibit issuing new agricultural irrigation well permits in the 21 critically overdrafted basins. The measure was pulled from the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee hearing by the author after it appeared the votes were not there to move the measure forward. Farm Bureau was actively opposed.
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