June 7, 2012
Almond Board
Almond Board of California Legislative Report: Update on Issues Affecting California's Almond Industry


  • 2012 Farm Bill officially introduced in the Senate - - On May 24, 2012, the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act, S. 3240, was officially introduced in the United States Senate. Following the introduction, Chairwoman Stabenow released two summary documents relating to the Bill. The first document is a summary of titles in the 2012 Farm Bill, and the second document is a 57 page section-by-section analysis of changes in the 2012 Farm Bill. To view the two documents, click here and see the summary section.

  • Farm Bill debate gets underway on Capitol Hill - - The Senate version of the 2012 Farm Bill passed a crucial test Thursday, June 7, 2012 when 90 Senators voted in favor of bringing the bill to the floor for further consideration. The 2012 Farm Bill, formally designated S. 3240, passed the cloture vote by an overwhelming margin of 90-8. The measure now proceeds to the full Senate floor for debate and amendments, a process that could take several weeks before a final vote is taken.

State Legislature

  • Heat labor bill passes Assembly despite heavy farm opposition - - A heat illness bill that its opponents call the “sue your employer” bill passed the Assembly 41-27 ton May 31, 2012.  AB 2346 by Assemblywoman Betsy Butler (D-LA) establishes fines up to $200,000 for farmer violations and contains “bounty hunter” provisions that encourage employees and legal aid groups to sue employers even though stiff penalties against violators already exist under existing state heat regulations. “AB 2346 would warp the state’s heat illness regulations in ways that no farmer can implement,” said Assemblyman Bill Berryhill (R-Stockton) in debating the bill May 31 on the Assembly floor. “It simply attacks an entire industry. This, make no mistake, is an attack on farmers.” In 2005, California was the first state in the nation to adopt heat illness regulations. The regulation was strengthened in 2010 to include high heat provisions for five industries including agriculture. In a recent press release, California Division of Occupational Safety and Health Chief Ellen Widess said, “We are pleased that years of continuous outreach, education and enforcement have resulted in fewer worker deaths and illnesses from exposure to heat.” 

  • Brown's revised budget cuts $2.5 million from CDFA - - The revised budget proposal that Gov. Jerry Brown submitted this week would cut an additional $2.5 million from the state Department of Food and Agriculture and make changes in timber harvest plans. The proposal also envisions a tax on lumber that would support regulatory activities. The reduction to CDFA would be in addition to the $31 million in general fund dollars already slashed from the coffers of the agency responsible for agricultural plant and animal health, pest prevention and food safety programs. Previous cuts primarily affect programs relating to border control stations, pest prevention and food safety, the governor's office explained in its budget statement. The CDFA would still receive about $62.5 million from the general fund in fiscal 2012-2013.

  • California Legislator Voting Record on-line - - For the first time, you can look up the voting record of every state legislator in California. Wondering how often your legislator broke party ranks, abstained or switched sides? Enter the last and first name of the lawmaker you're researching to see how he or she voted, or enter a bill number to see how every legislator voted on it. The online database is located at http://www.sacbee.com/votingrecord/


  • New faces at State Water Resources Control Board - - Gov. Brown announced on May 11, 2012 the appointments of Felicia Marcus and Steven Moore to the State Water Resources Control Board. Marcus, 56, of Emeryville, has been western director at the Natural Resources Defense Council since 2008 and was executive vice president and chief operating officer at the Trust for Public Land from 2001 to 2008. She served as regional administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the western U.S. from 1993 to 2001. She has been a member of the Delta Stewardship Council since 2010. Moore, 45, of Sausalito, has been a civil and sanitary engineer at Nute Engineering since 2006 and has been a member of the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board since 2008. He served in multiple positions at the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board from 1999 to 2006 and 1992 to 1996, including resources control engineer.

Air Quality

  • Assembly passes controversial 'cap-and-trade' auction measure - - The Assembly on May 30, 2012 passed legislation to regulate and restrict how money generated by California's new "cap-and-trade" program of marketing carbon emissions can be spent. Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez carried the measure, Assembly Bill 1532, which passed by a vote of 47-26. The bill marks a major step toward implementing "cap and trade," which places a limit on various pollution generators but allows that cap to be exceeded through the purchase of credits from businesses that fall below their cap. The program stems from Assembly Bill 32 to require California to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. AB 1532 would apply to an estimated $1 billion expected to be generated from cap-and-trade auctions in 2012-13. Revenues are expected to grow significantly in future years. AB 1532 would authorize funds generated by the auction of "cap and trade" credits to be spent on projects promoting clean energy, low-carbon transportation, natural resource protection, and for research, development and deployment of innovative technologies to promote cleaner air. 

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