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20

News & Views Magazine

Edition 1, 2015

By Trudi Hughes and John Larrea

CLFP Government Affairs Directors

Legislative Update

The California Legislature is in its first year of a two year

session. Nearly 2,500 bills have already been introduced

in 2015, CLFP has identified approximately 110 bills

that may affect the food processing industry. The key bills

and issues that CLFP is following include groundwater

resources, food labeling mandates, energy and

labor bills.

Groundwater:

There are several “clean-up” measures to the Sustainable

Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) that was passed

and signed by Governor Brown last year.

AB 1390 (Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville) would make

groundwater rights adjudication system more efficient.

SB 20 (Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills) would make well

construction reports, including altered, abandoned or

destroyed well reports (well logs) available to the public.

Well logs are already required to be submitted to the

Department of Water Resources and are available to the

appropriate public agencies. For example, groundwater

management agencies already have access and utilize this

information to better manage their groundwater locally.

With the passage of SGMA last year this bill is unnecessary

and impedes local groundwater management agencies

ability to implement the SGMA. CLFP opposes this bill.

Three measures have also been introduced that would

designate groundwater recharge as a beneficial use

of water. The State Water Resources Control Board

defines beneficial use of water to include domestic use,

irrigation, power generation and municipal and industrial

use. These bills would allow water rights to include

groundwater recharge as a beneficial use which is an

important change to state law. AB 647 (Susan Eggman,

D-Stockton), AB 937 (Rudy Salas, D-Bakersfield) and AB

228 (Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres) would address the issue.

Food Labeling Measure for Sweetened

Beverages:

Senator Monning (D-Carmel) introduced Senate Bill

(SB) 203, which would establish the Sugar-Sweetened

Beverages Safety Warning Act, which would prohibit

the distribution and sale of sugar-sweetened beverages

in California unless the beverage container or multipack

bears a safety warning per the following: "STATE OF

CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with

added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and

tooth decay."

CLFP opposes this measure and argued that the state

should not attempt to dictate personal health choices

of the public through arbitrary and confusing labeling

requirements. It needs to be made clear that obesity

and related diseases, such as diabetes, have multiple

risk factors, including genetics, age, and stress. Dealing

with these health issues is more complicated than

simply mandating a warning label be placed on a sub-set

of beverages.

SB 203 defines "sugar-sweetened beverage" as any

sweetened beverage that has added caloric sweeteners

and contains 75 calories or more per 12 fluid ounces.

While the bill exempts 100% natural fruit or vegetable

juice, with no added caloric sweeteners, it still

encompasses many of CLFP members’ fruit and vegetable

juice based products. A warning label on juice products

sold in California will give consumers the false impression

that there is a food safety concern with consuming these

products.

Further, this proposed expensive and unnecessary

California only labeling requirement would put food