The California Farm Bureau Federation (CFBF) supports a program of reasonable regulation the legislative deadline approaches. While appreciating the importance of safety and health in agricultural production, CFBF advocates for a more sensible approach to regulation and enforcement.
“In a vast majority of cases the employer means well and just wants to comply with the law, and wants to understand it,” said CFBF Manager of Government and Legal Affairs Jim Houston, “and the consideration afforded to business owners and small employers is scant.”
A continually changing regulatory landscape can make it increasingly difficult for growers to navigate what is required of them. Larger farming operations can afford to help mitigate some of the complications by hiring someone dedicated to meeting compliance thresholds. Smaller, family-owned farms do not typically have the luxury of being able to afford to hire an extra employee for regulatory purposes. The complexity of regulatory expectations is one of driving factors behind CFBF’s efforts because “compliance is very difficult, or it takes a lot of paperwork, it takes a lot of time,” Houston stated.
One of the focal points for reasonable regulation is derived from what the money generated from those regulations is being used for. The fees collected and held in special funds have grown from $32 billion to $60 billion over the past eight years, an increase of more than 87 percent. At the same time, the general fund only increased by 46 percent to $130 billion. The general fund also has significantly more stringent guidelines when it comes to spending as opposed to special funds. “Not to say that we don’t need special funds, or we don’t need regulation, but when you see a number like that it’s hard to not conclude that maybe it’s a little much,” noted Houston.
The legislative introduction deadline is Friday, February 16 and is the last day that measures can be introduced for 2018. “This is the last year of what’s called the ‘biennial session,’ so any bills that were introduced last year have to make it out of their house of origin,” Houston stated. CFBF is continuing to monitor the legislative process.
Listen to the interview below.