Buy Clean California Act: Carbon Emission Limits for State Procurement

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California has taken a significant step in aligning its procurement expenditures with its vanguard climate change policy. On October 15, 2017, Governor Jerry Brown signed A.B. 262, the Buy Clean California Act (Chapter 816, Statutes of 2017). Beginning in 2019, the state’s Department of General Services (DGS) is to establish maximum carbon emission levels for “eligible building materials,” consisting of carbon steel rebar, flat glass, mineral wool board insulation and structural steel. At that time, state agencies may only award contracts to bidders certifying that their sources of these materials meet the standard.

This legislation was supported by manufacturers that have invested heavily in emission reduction processes, along with labor unions and environmental organizations. The Brazilian firm Gerdau Steel, having made expensive upgrades to the only California steel mill and its other facilities, greeted the signing by saying the act will “level the playing field” against sources that have greater emissions from manufacturing and transportation.

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All Eyes Are on the Construction of the New Farm Bill

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Every time the National Farmers Union board meets, the state presidents each get a few minutes to report on the top issues in their area, a collective checking of the pulse of the farm sector nationwide.

“Pretty much the entirety” of the discussion is the agricultural slump, says NFU president Roger Johnson. “There is deepening concern about the economic outlook.”

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NAFTA Isn't Dead Yet, But Trump's Vision Of One-On-One Trade Deals May Be

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The fourth round of trade talks between the United States, Canada, and Mexico, which concluded Tuesday, were as contentious as they were expected to be. U.S. negotiators tabled a raft of controversial proposals. Mexican and Canadian negotiators refused to take the bait; they did not storm off in protest. But there was a decision by all three parties to postpone the next scheduled round of talks.

Negotiations will pick up in Mexico City Nov. 17-21, rather than resuming at the end of October. This delay came with an acknowledgment that it would be impossible to conclude this renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement by the end of the year and that the talks would spill over into at least the first quarter of 2018.

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USDA Withdraws GIPSA Rule

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture Oct. 17 announced it is withdrawing the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration interim final rule regarding the scope of the Farmer Fair Practices Rules of the Packers and Stockyards Act, and will not finalize the rules.

The rules, often called the Farmer Fair Practices Rules, were intended to enhance the power of livestock growers in relationships with buyers and processors.

While the GIPSA rules on Unfair Practices and Undue Preferences in Violation of the Packers and Stockyards Act won’t be finalized, GIPSA’s proposed rule on Poultry Grower Ranking Systems is still under consideration.

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California Signs Legislation to Prevent School Lunch Shaming

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Sacramento- Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, announced on Thursday that Gov. Jerry Brown has signed his legislation to stop schools from publicly shaming or embarassing students by either denying them lunch or providing a snack instead because their parents haven't paid lunch fees.

SB 250 ensures that school officials do not delay or deny food to hungry students as punishment for unpaid school meal fees, and it directs schools to establish a process for notifying their families about unpaid fees and collecting them.

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