AB 125 The Equitable Economic Recovery, Healthy Food Access, Climate Resilient Farms and Worker Protection Bond Act
With bipartisan support, our coalition of 17 sponsors, backed by 143 supporting organizations, has advanced this groundbreaking $3.3 billion bond proposal through the Assembly Ag Committee. We are now safely at rest in the Resources Committee until next year when final bonds on the 2022 ballot will be shaped. In the interim, our team is working with our author, Robert Rivas, to request $772 million in state investments for the 2021-22 budget. All four planks (farmworkers, food system infrastructure, healthy food access and regenerative agriculture) would receive funds. No coalition has ever so boldly asked to invest with such a holistic and equitable lens to heal our food system. Please add your voice! The Governor included some of our priorities, some with larger amounts than we had requested, but key equity investments like regional food infrastructure are left out. We are pressing for their inclusion. TAKE ACTION! Make your voice heard in this campaign, please click here.
Healthy Stores Refrigeration Grant Program
Working with California Assembly Budget Committee Chairman, Phil Ting, our strongest champion for many years, we are seeking $15 million to provide grants for refrigeration units that will be placed in corner stores across the state. The Governor is requesting $20 million. The refrigeration units will be used to make fresh produce, California meat and dairy products more accessible in places where healthy food is hard to access. We worked with Mr. Ting to launch the program in 2018-19. It was a smashing success, aiding 40 of California 58 counties. We want to hit all counties in the next round.
California Nutrition Incentive Program (CNIP)
Back in 2016, with Assemblymember Phil Ting, ROC spawned creation of the matching grant program managed by the Office of Farm to Fork at CDFA. CNIP provides the local match funds required by USDA grants for the same purpose. Nutrition incentives make fresh produce affordable at farmers markets, corners stores and grocers by allowing the market to match the amount a shopper spends on fresh produce. We join our primary allies in this work, Ecology Center, in supporting Mr. Ting’s request for another $20 million to continue this highly successful program. The Governor is offering only $15 million. We need your help. TAKE ACTION! Hit this link to make your voice heard.
Health Equity Fund
AB 1038 We are part of a Public Health Institute led coalition to create a health equity fund pilot program that would invest $180 million in several communities to reveal how to prevent disease and lower health care expenditure for the state. Assemblymember Mike Gipson is the author of the bill and now a budget request. Nutrition incentives, school food and other nutrition access initiatives guided by communities are part of the ask. This is synergistic with Mr. Ting’s request described above and our AB 125 requests.
Status of other priority bills
AB 350 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act Ombudsman. The bill would create a three-year program to fund technical advisors or “ombudsmen” to support farmer implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (2014) requirements meant to protect California’s precious aquifers from overdraft by agriculture. Passed to the Assembly Floor. We hope the next budget will include this policy for 2021. Carlos Vallapudua author. TAKE ACTION! Click this link to support this bill!
AB 368 Food Prescriptions. The bill would create a pilot program to demonstrate value of Medi-Cal funded produce prescriptions in Alameda, Fresno, and San Bernardino counties. Killed in Assembly Appropriations. We hope it might get funded through the health equity fund described above. Rob Bonta author.
AB 434 Public lands: grazing leases This bill would provide ranchers with longer-term leases if they agreed to robust monitoring and practiced livestock grazing that delivers ecosystem benefits: sequester carbon, build soil, reduce wildfire fire fuels and provide habitat to threatened and endangered species. Pushed into 2022 to allow further amendments. Robert Rivas author.
AB 831 Amendments to section 114378.1 of the California Retail Code Introduced by Assembly Committee on Health, the bill would support California’s fisher folk operating via retail fish markets. It will enhance the ability of the public to purchase seafood in a more customer-friendly format, making local seafood even more readily available. Passed out of Assembly and now before Senate Committee on Health.
AB 888 Mobile slaughter operations sheep, goats and swine. The bill would help small and midsize producers process and market animals. Passed to the Assembly Floor. We are supporting its movement to the Assembly floor in June. Marc Levine author.
AB 1009 Farm to School Food Hubs. The bill would create three pilot food hubs to provide school food. Passed to the Assembly Floor. We are advocating that the food system investments outlined by the Governor will include this. Richard Bloom author.
AB 1163 Local government: taxation: prohibition: groceries. The bill would end the prohibition of local sugary beverage taxes that was forced by Big Soda back in 2018. If they chose, local communities could once again vote on sugary beverage taxes to fund investments in food and other systems that improve public health. Blocked by Chair of the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee. See this article to understand how the beverage industry controls the Legislature. Adrin Nazarian author.
SB 2 Peace officers: certification: civil rights. The bill would increase accountability for law enforcement officers that commit serious misconduct and violate a person’s civil rights. Passed to the Senate Floor. Although outside our wheelhouse, ROC supports SB 2 because the racial harms in this state must end. There can be no peace unless there is justice. Without the justice and peace that cultivate trust among the people of this state, we cannot fully achieve or food system goals. Steven Bradford and Toni Atkins authors.
SB 107 CalFresh. The bill would simplify the CalFresh application for many older adults and people with disabilities to applicants and participants can complete the application and recertification interview processes by phone. Now in the Senate Floor process. Scott Wiener author.
SB 240 Income tax: credits: food banks. The bill extends the sunset date of the Healthy Food Donation Bank Tax Credit for donations of food five more years to January 1, 2027, providing incentive for farmers to donate food that might otherwise go to waste. Passed to the Senate Floor. Susan Eggman author.
SB 364 Pupil meals: Free School Meals For All Act of 2021. The bill would establish a mechanism to provide free school meals for all California K-12 students while promoting access to healthy, freshly prepared food grown by California farmers. Placed in Suspense File in Senate Appropriations. We expect it to succeed because the Governor included funding for this bill in his budget proposal. Susan Skinner author.
SB 606 Workplace safety: violations of statutes: enterprise-wide violations: employer retaliation. The bill would address the need for stronger enforcement measures to keep California’s workers safe as we continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Passed to the Senate Floor. Lena Gonzales author.