Cap and Trade extension passed by Legislature

July 25, 2017 – – The California Legislature remained in Sacramento prior to summer break for an extra week this year and they made the most of it.  The Governor worked a bipartisan deal on Cap and Trade.  The three bill package was hailed as world leading.  AB 398, California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 and market-based compliance mechanisms passed out of the Senate on a 28 to 12 vote, Senator Berryhill (R) voted yes. The bill was then sent back to the Assembly for a final vote, where it passed 55 to 21.

Last year, SB 32 was enacted, extending California’s Global Warming Solutions Act requiring 40% reductions of carbon emissions below 1990 levels by 2030. It is important to note that SB 32 extended ARB’s authority to use command and control mechanisms to regulate greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) into the future, with little consideration given to the costs of that measure to California’s citizens, consumers and economy. SB 32 was opposed by the agriculture industry and the larger job creation community in California because it did not attempt to balance its mandate with its economic impacts.

AB 398 finds this balance by creating a market-based mechanism that allows food processors, regulated under SB 32, to meet their compliance obligations for reducing GHGs in a cost effective manner.

Specifically, AB 398:

  • Maintains current industry assistance levels that help food processors affordably comply with California’s GHG reduction mandate;
  • Develops a mechanism to establish a price ceiling to contain the cost of the sale of allowances purchased by food processors to meet their compliance obligations and limit the increased cost of the Cap and Trade Program to the agricultural industry and consumers;
  • Develop a Compliance Offset Protocol Task Force to create new offset opportunities in California, including in the agricultural industry;
  • Improve accountability of the California Air Resources Board by mandating additional oversight including an annual economic impact report by the Legislative Analyst’s Office;
  • Prioritizing spending of money collected through the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund by creating a specific order of projects to prioritize, starting with reducing air pollutants from stationary and mobile sources, sustainable agriculture and short lived climate pollutants. AB 398 also suspends the State Responsibility Area (SRA) fee as of July 1, 2017, until January 1, 2031.

Along with AB 398. AB 617, Non-vehicular air quality measure that’s a companion to the cap-and-trade bill, has also passed the Senate on a 27 to 13 vote. The bill was sent back to the Assembly for a final vote, where it passed 50 to 23. AB 617 was not supported by agriculture, but it requires community based air monitoring system with mandated air quality improvements.  Also included in the measure was ACA 1.  This measure was promoted by the Republicans and will require a “reset” for the funding portion of cap and trade in 2024.  It is important to note that ACA 1 will need to be voted upon by the general public at the next election and pass by a majority of those voting.

Bills Move Through Second House Committees

June 30, 2017 – – This week there were several key bills heard by committees in each legislative chamber.  All bills must be passed out of the second house policy Committees before July 14th.  Below is a summary of some key bills and outcomes.

SB 49 (Kevin De Leon and Henry Stern) is an expansive environmental measure that is being touted no “backsliding” on federal environmental laws.  The bill would require California to enforce the federal Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act (ESA) and other similar environmental laws and their implementing regulations and policies as were in place on January 1, 2016 or January 1, 2017, whichever version is the most stringent. Additionally, the bill would create a private right of action in state law for citizen enforcement of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and ESA if the citizen suit provisions are removed from these federal laws. SB 49 would also add all species native to California that are listed under the federal ESA to the list of species protected by the California Endangered Species Act. The Senate approved on a 24-13.  The bill has been triple referred to committees in the Assembly. It passed the Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxics Committee this week and is headed for the Judiciary Committee next week.  The association opposes.

AB 313 (Adam Gray) would establish a division of water rights within the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH). Complaints against persons violating provisions of their water diversions would be heard by an administrative law judge in OAH, however decisions would not be final until accepted by the executive director of the State Water Resources Control Board. The Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee on a 5-4 votes and will be heard next in Senate Judiciary Committee.  The association supports.

SB 252 (Bill Dodd) would require new water well permit applicants in critically over drafted groundwater basins to provide their application information to neighbors. It would require cities and counties overlying critically over drafted basins to publicly notice new well permit applications and require these cities and counties to make specific new well permit information available to groundwater sustainability agencies. While concerns about groundwater are universal, the association has opposed the measure along with other ag organizations because local groundwater entities and the counties are working diligently on a comprehensive solution to groundwater the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act and this measure would divert resources with no road to sustainability.

There a two key labor bills that are of concern. Both passed their key committees this week.

SB 63 (Hannah-Beth Jackson) requires an employer with 20 or more employees within a75-mile radius to provide 12 weeks of protected parental leave to bond with a new child after that child’s birth, adoption or foster care placement. This would result in up to 7 months of paid and unpaid leave when combined with other laws.

AB 450 (David Chiu) requires employers to demand search warrants for ICE enforcement and to notify the Labor Commissioner and employees and their representatives about ICE enforcement and its results. AB 450 was amended to remove worksite ICE enforcement from the bill’s notice requirements and to reduce penalty levels to $2000 to $5000 for a first violation, and $5000 to $10,000 for a subsequent violation.

Second Annual Fresno PAC Fundraiser a Big Success

The California Almond Industry Political Action Committee (Almond PAC) on June 29 successfully hosted the 2nd Annual Fresno Fundraiser!  Almond Alliance sincerely thanks all of our sponsors for their generous support. Contribution to the Almond PAC allows the industry to build relationships with the legislature and gain further influence in Sacramento. During the event, Almond Alliance provided our members and contributors with an update on issues we are working on for the industry. Additionally, the Almond Alliance extends our greatest appreciation to the elected officials for their continued support and attendance at the event:  Assembly Members Devon Mathis, Frank Bigelow and Jim Patterson.

Assemblyman Jim Patterson, Todd Winslow, Assemblyman Devon Mathis, Dick Cunningham, Assemblyman Frank Bigelow, Bob Hansen, Guy Newman.
PAC Sponsors:

Campos Brothers Farms

C. F. Koehnen & Sons, Inc.
Der Manouel Insurance Group
Duane Lindsay and Associate

JKB Energy
Paiva Farm Management
Parreira Almond Processing Company

Riverwest Processing

Rolling Hills Nut Company


Platinum Sponsors:

Blue Diamond Growers
Cunningham Ranch, Inc.
Flory Industries
Johnson Farms
Lyons Investments, LP
Montpellier Orchards
Personal Ag Management Insurance
White Crane Ranch
Braden Farms
Don Pedro Pump
Hughson Nut Company
Lyons Land Management, LP
Mapes Ranch, LP
Montpellier Nut Company
Zaiger Genetics