There are some important legislative updates that could have an impact on growers after the California Legislature reached its fiscal deadline on May 25th addressing bills with state costs. The Senate and Assembly Appropriations Committees approved several bills related to agriculture which will continue to make their way through the legislative process.
Multiple bills related to pest management were passed in the Assembly. AB 2054 seeks to coordinate a statewide effort to reduce the amount of damage caused by Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer. The bill would require the Invasive Species Council of California and the California Invasive Species Advisory Committee to collaborate with state and local authorities in the development of a cure and other suppression methods. AB 2470 charges the Invasive Species Advisory Committee and Council with preventing the introduction and spread of other invasive species.
The Assembly Appropriations Committee also passed AB 2816. The bill would require the Department of Pesticide Regulation to submit a report to the Legislature before January 1, 2020, evaluating the efficacy of the implementation of the Healthy Schools Act of 2000. The Department would also have to consult with specified entities regarding potential alternatives when recommending a restriction on a pesticide being used near school sites.
There were also two bills related to water that have now moved on to be heard by the Senate. AB 2371 compels the Secretary of the Department of Food and Agriculture to establish rules to require plants be clearly identified and labeled as it pertains to water usage. AB 2545 would redefine the terms “river” and “stream” to exclude smaller streams from Department of Fish and Wildlife jurisdiction, restraining the Department’s oversight authority to only streams that support aquatic life.
In other legislative updates, AB 2166, commonly referred to as the California Farm bill, failed to pass. The bill that would have expanded the current paid sick leave requirements from three days each year to five days each year, AB 2841, also failed to pass.