Jan. 10, 2013
Almond Board
Almond Board of California Legislative Report: Update on Issues Affecting California's Almond Industry

California Legislature

  • State Sen. Galgiani to lead agriculture committee - - State Sen. Cathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton) will be chairwoman of her chamber's agriculture committee in the 2013-14 session, President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg announced.  Galgiani, whose district includes part of Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties led the Assembly Agriculture Committee before her election to the Senate last month.  She is the only senator from the Northern San Joaquin Valley to preside over a committee. “Agriculture is vitally important to the Central Valley,” she says. “I can continue to be on the forefront of confronting the many challenges facing the industry now and in the future.” Galgiani replaces Republican Sen. Anthony Canella of Ceres, who will serves as vice-hair. Other committee members are Sen. Tom Berryhill (R-Modesto), Sen. Ted W. Lieu (D-Redondo Beach), Sen. Michael J. Rubio (D-Bakersfield) and Sen. Lois Wolk (D-Davis.)

  • Stockton Assemblywoman will chair Assembly Ag Committee - - New leadership assignments were announced by Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez. The Assembly Agriculture Committee will be chaired by freshman Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton) who served on the Stockton city Council. The committee vice-chair is Assembly member Kristin Olsen (R-Modesto.) Other committee members are Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), Brian Dahle (R-Redding), Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) and Mariko Yamada (D- Vacaville.)

  • Assembly committee assignments made - - Several state Assembly committee assignments of interest to the agricultural community have been announced: Marc Levine (D-San Rafael), Chair, Select Committee on Agriculture and the Environment; Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield), Chair, Select Committee on Regional Approaches to Addressing the State's Water Crisis; Adam Gray (D-Merced), Chair, Joint Legislative Audit; Ben Hueso (D-San Diego), Chair, Water, Parks and Wildlife and Marc Levine (D-San Rafael ), Chair, Select Committee on Agriculture and the Environment:

  • Key Senate committee assignments made - - Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg has released the full Senate committee roster for the 2013-2014 legislative session. Key committee assignments of interest to the almond industry are: Agriculture: Galgiani (Chair), Cannella (Vice Chair), Berryhill, Lieu, Rubio, Wolk. Environmental Quality: Rubio (Chair), Gaines (Vice Chair) Calderon, Corbett, Fuller, Hancock, Jackson, Leno, Pavley. Natural Resources and Water: Pavley (Chair), Cannella (Vice Chair), Evans, Fuller, Jackson, Lara, Monning, Rubio, Wolk.

  • Gov. Jerry Brown calls special elections for 2 vacant state Senate seats - - Gov. Jerry Brown has declared special elections to fill the state Senate seats vacated last week when Democratic Sens. Juan Vargas of San Diego and Gloria Negrete-McLeod of Chino resigned to join Congress. The primary election for both seats will be held March 12 and, if no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote,  the runoff election will be held May 14. That allows those elected to be seated in time for the state Senate vote on the state budget.

Congress

  • Denham, LaMalfa officially named to House Ag Committee - - House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas has officially named two California Congressmen to the committee. Lucas named second-term Rep. Jeff Denham of Atwater and freshman Rep. Doug LaMalfa of Richvale to the panel. The other California representatives on the committee are Jim Costa (D-Fresno), Gloria Negrete McLeod (D - Chino) and Juan Vargas (D- San Diego).

  • State Sens. Negrete McLeod, Juan Vargas resign to take House seats - - Democratic Reps.-elect Gloria Negrete McLeod and Juan Vargas stepped down from the California Senate in early January as they were sworn in as members of the U.S. House of Representatives. A spokesman for Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg confirmed that both members have submitted their letters of resignation. Negrete McLeod, of Chino, ousted Democratic Rep. Joe Baca in the Inland Empire's 35th Congressional District, while Vargas won election in San Diego's open 51st Congressional District.
     

  • Cochran selected as Senate Agriculture Committee ranking member - - Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) asserted his seniority and was selected to take over as ranking GOP member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. The current ranking member, Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., said that Sen. Cochran “has his full support” and that "seniority is a well-respected and historic privilege in the U.S. Senate." Cochran received the unanimous support of Republican committee members. Next, the full Senate Republican Conference must approve the selection in the coming weeks.

EPA

  • EPA Administrator Jackson stepping down - - EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, the Obama administration's chief environmental watchdog, is stepping down after nearly four years. Jackson, 50, did not point to any particular reason for her departure. Historically, Cabinet members looking to move on will leave at the beginning of a president's second term. Mary Nichols, chair of the California Air Resources Board, has surfaced as a possible replacement, according to Peter Schlegel, director of the energy and environment team for the American Farm Bureau. Dale Moore, deputy director for public policy at the American Farm Bureau Federation said he has heard two names surface as possible replacements for Jackson: current EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe, and Kathleen McGinty, former head of President Clinton's Council for Environmental Quality.

Air Quality

  • Air board issues reminder on diesel truck exhaust emission rules  - -The state Air Resources Board has issued a reminder that new regulations governing the emission of diesel exhaust from 2000 to 2004 model year trucks over 26,000 pounds gross vehicle weight rating go into effect Jan. 1, 2013. ARB is sending reminder letters to those who own one or more diesel powered trucks or buses that fall under the regulation. Penalties start at a minimum of $1,000 per violation per month and increase significantly over time. Last year, similar requirements took effect for 1996-1999 model year engines and nearly $2 million in fines were assessed in the first nine months of 2012. Many owners of agricultural trucks applied for and qualified for an exemption. However, many agricultural truck owners either did not qualify or did not apply for an exemption and they are subject to these requirements. The ARB notes that it may take a month or longer to have a verified soot filter installed if one is needed. More information on how to comply with the truck and bus regulation is available at www.arb.ca.gov/truckstop,  by calling 1-866-6DIESEL and via email at 8666DIESEL@arb.ca.gov.

Water

  • Snow pack looks good, but dry January is looming - - Officials with the Department of Water Resources measured more than 4 feet of accumulation near Echo Summit in El Dorado County on Jan 2, 2013, which is about normal for this time of year, said Frank Gehrke, head of California's cooperative snow survey program. On this date last year there was only 0.14 inches of snow. Electronic readings show the water content of the snow ranging from 131 percent of average in the southern Sierra to 133 percent in the north. Based on current conditions, the DWR estimates it will deliver 40 percent of the 4 million acre-feet of water requested through the State Water Project, which supplies water to 25 million Californians and a million acres of farmland.

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