Friday, May 20, 2022

Fiscal Committees

Fiscal Committees Consider Nearly 1,000 Bills

Over 700 measures have moved to Assembly and Senate floors. On May 19, the Appropriations Committees in the State Legislature considered close to 1,000 bills on a multitude of policy issues to decide whether to move bills forward or hold them in the fiscal committees. The Appropriations Committees are where controversial or politically problematic issues are often shelved, so the outcome is eagerly anticipated by many.

Over 200 bills stalled in the Senate and Assembly Appropriations Committees and more than 700 are proceeding to the Assembly and Senate chambers for a floor vote.

Please read on for the outcome of several bills of interest to Ag Council members and note this is a brief snapshot of legislation and not an overview of all bills the association is engaged in and tracking.

Buy American

SB 1308 (Caballero) Buy American food procurement in schools

Strengthens Buy American policy by setting a standard for school food procurement staff to follow. The bill supports California food production and agricultural jobs and ensures safe and healthy food in schools by closing a loophole in the federal Buy American requirement.

SB 1308 is sponsored by Ag Council and the California Canning Peach Association, and Ag Council strongly supports its passage.

Status – Passed unanimously in the Senate Appropriations Committee and pending consideration by the full Senate.


AB 2201 (Bennett) Undermines local control of groundwater permits

Ag Council opposes this measure because it creates a permanent statute to undermine the local control provided to Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), which recognizes that every groundwater basin is unique. Also, Governor Newsom issued a March 2022 executive order with provisions addressing groundwater permits during the drought emergency.

Status – AB 2201 was approved in Assembly Appropriations Committee and is awaiting a vote in the Assembly.

Help OPPOSE AB 2201 by easily sending a message to your member of the Assembly via Ag Council’s “Engage” page HERE. The details are already provided, and it just takes a few clicks.


AB 2146 (Bauer-Kahan) Neonicotinoid pesticides

By January 1, 2024, the bill requires the director of the Dept. of Pesticide Regulation to prohibit the sale, possession, or use of neonicotinoid pesticides, except for use on an agricultural plant.

Though Ag Council appreciates that agricultural use can continue under the bill, Ag Council is opposing AB 2146 because it will make it more difficult to fight pests in California and leave agriculture more vulnerable.

Status – Passed the Assembly Appropriations Committee and pending consideration on the Assembly floor.

Tax Exemption

AB 1951 (Grayson) Sales and use tax exemption for manufacturing equipment

Implements a sales and use tax exemption in California for the purchase of manufacturing and R&D equipment. AB 1951 expands investment and production opportunities by broadening the current partial exemption to a full sales and use tax exemption on manufacturing equipment for purchases not exceeding $200 million.

Ag Council supports this measure given agriculture and food processors could benefit from the innovation, growth, and job creation the bill would bring to California.

Status – Passed Assembly Appropriations Committee and awaiting consideration on the Assembly floor.


AB 2095 (Kalra) Public disclosure of labor & employment issues

Mandates that employers publicly disclose information regarding labor and employment issues for employees across the entire company. The information would be used to label employers as “high road” or “low road” and subject them to a loss of state opportunities and incentives.

Ag Council opposed AB 2095 because it would have created an extensive database to enable litigation attorneys to use the information for lawsuits or public relations campaigns.

Status – Held in Appropriations Committee and not moving forward.

SB 1162 (Limon) Employment, publishing salaries and wages online

Requires a private employer with 100 or more employees to submit a pay data report to the Dept. of Fair Employment & Housing and each private employers’ pay data report would be published on a website available to the public.

Ag Council is opposing SB 1162 and working with a coalition specifically requesting the removal of the section requiring the pay data of private employers be published online, noting a similar bill was vetoed by former Governor Brown because its “ambiguity could be exploited to encourage more litigation.”

Status – Approved in the Senate Appropriations Committee and moving to the Senate floor.

AB 2183 (Stone D) Ag labor relations – card check

Card check legislation sponsored by the United Farm Workers (UFW) crafted to bypass the secret ballot election process. Ag Council opposes this measure because it takes away the right to a secret ballot for agricultural workers when deciding union representation.

Similar measures have been vetoed three times by three different governors in recent years, including Governor Newsom.

Status – Approved by Assembly Appropriations Committee and will be considered on the Assembly floor.

Source: Agricultural Council of California