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AB 2222 (Anna Caballero, D-Salinas) that would add new responsibilities to public advisory committee and interagency task force of the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) and require them, before June 1, 2009, to identify and recommend to the Legislature funding options to extend the comprehensive groundwater monitoring program until January 1, 2016. The bill would require the SWRCB, in consultation with the advisory committee and interagency task force, to evaluate information obtained through the monitoring program and submit a report to the Legislature by January 1, 2010. The report would discuss contaminated groundwater that serves as a primary drinking water source, and recommend ways to better protect, restore, and improve groundwater and to enhance public access to information on groundwater conditions. CFBF worked with the Western Growers Association, California Cattlemen’s Association, California Chamber of Commerce, and the author to address concerns. CFBF concerns were addressed.

AB 2270 (John Laird, D-Santa Cruz) that would authorize local agencies operating sewer systems to take action to control residential salinity inputs, including from water softeners, to protect the quality of the waters of the state was approved with amendments. Prior to taking such an action, the State Water Resources Control Board or a regional water quality control board would have to make a finding that control of residential salinity input will contribute to achieving water quality objectives. In areas of the state where salinity levels are high and adversely affect commodities this measure would assist local agencies meet their water quality standards. CFBF supports this measure.

AB 2716 (Fiona Ma, D-San Francisco) to require employers to furnish one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked for use in the event of the employee's illness, illness of a family member or instances of sexual assault or domestic violence was approved by the committee. An employee would be eligible to accrue leave after 7 days of employment; the employee would be eligible to use this leave after 90 days service, and leave would carry over from year to year and from one instance of seasonal employment to the next. CFBF has joined virtually the entire employer community in California in opposition to AB 2716. Efforts to engage the bill’s sponsor and author in discussions on the bill have so far been fruitless.

AB 2763 (John Laird, D-Santa Cruz) to require the Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) to develop a comprehensive protocol for responding to the invasion of non-native pest species, to notify affected communities, and to select the appropriate methods for eradication, control or management of the pest species. This measure is a product of the Light Brown Apple Moth eradication program.

Farm Bureau’s sponsored bill, AB 2168 (Dave Jones, D-Sacramento), passed out of the Assembly on the consent calendar. This bill will allow farmers to sell processed agricultural products, such as jams, dried fruits, olive oil, etc. at their farm stands without being classified as Retail Food Facilities and therefore, subject to all of the requirements under the California Retail Food Code.  The bill now moves to the Senate.  

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