Archive for July 20, 2009

Ag Related California Legislation

The following bills are of sigificant importance to California Agriculture.

AB 243 (Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara) passed out of the Senate Public Safety Committee 7–0 on Tuesday.

This bill would require the courts to prohibit anyone convicted of certain crimes against animals from owning an animal for five or ten years, depending on the severity of the crime. Assembly Member Nava took amendments in the committee allowing livestock or poultry owners the ability to petition the court for an exemption from this prohibition as long as they can show that the prohibition would impose an economic hardship on their livelihood and that they can properly care for the animals they own. The amendments also place the burden of proving that livestock or poultry owners do not meet the standards set forth for an exemption on the prosecutor. These amendments provide the proper protections for livestock and poultry owners convicted of minor crimes against animals, to prevent them from losing their businesses. Certainly, the amendments make the bill more ag friendly, but many questions still remain as to the overall impact. The bill now moves to the Senate Appropriations Committee. This bill requires close monitoring.

The Assembly Appropriations Committee placed SB 250 (Dean Florez, D-Shafter) on its suspense file this week.

Senator Florez did not present on the bill, however the committee gave opponents the opportunity to provide testimony against the bill, prior to its being placed on suspense. Senator Florez has still not amended the bill to exempt dogs used by hunters, farmers, and ranchers, despite his promise to Senator Wolk. This bill currently requires all dogs and cats in California to be spayed or neutered, unless the owner obtains an “intact” permit for the dog, or keeps the cat indoors at all times. If the dog owner has been cited for certain pet related violations, they are ineligible to obtain an intact permit. Included in the list of violations, is allowing a dog to run at large. Oppose this bill until an exemption for working dogs used on California’s farms and ranches is included. The Assembly Appropriations Committee will likely take up its suspense file the week of August 24th.

The Assembly Appropriations Committee passed SB 448 (Fran Pavley, D-Santa Monica) out of committee with a unanimous vote of 16–0 on Wednesday.

This bill would create a California Safe Harbor Agreement program providing landowners, who choose to participate, incidental take coverage for species listed under the California Endangered Species Act when they expand or improve habitat for these species. The bill was amended last week to add language protecting the confidentiality of proprietary business information of participants and protecting participants from potential liability if individuals are injured on the property while completing surveys or other requirements of the program. These amendments allow for support of SB 448. The bill now moves to the Assembly Floor.

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