In a slew of bills signed and vetoed Monday, Assembly Bill 2043 gained the governor’s approval. The bill gives Cal/OSHA more regulatory muscle to enforce COVID-19 safety guidance for farmworkers.
AB 2043 faced fierce opposition from ag groups. Cal/OSHA is currently pursuing similar provisions in a new regulation. The author of the bill is the new Assembly Ag chair, Asm. Robert Rivas of the Salinas Valley.
After a two-year endeavor to pass Senate Bill 559, the governor vetoed the measure yesterday. The bill initially proposed $400 million for repairing the Friant-Kern Canal, until the Assembly Appropriations Committee slashed the funding and reduced SB 559 to a proposal for further studying the issue.
“We need to evaluate, develop and identify solutions and funding that provide water supply and conveyance for the entirety of the state, not one project at a time,” Newsom wrote in his veto statement.
He added that his Water Resilience Portfolio is already “holistically assessing” all of the state’s water problems.
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Newsom also vetoed SB 1102. The bill would have required agricultural employers to notify H-2A guestworkers of their labor and housing rights. The bill later added provisions for paid travel time, lighting requirements and tenancy rights.
In his veto message, Newsom applauded the bill for attempting to create “accessible and easy to understand notifications.” He complained that it departs from previous H-2A notice requirements and locks in standards for the labor department. Newsom shared that he would instead direct the department to “develop and maintain a template contemplated in this bill” for H-2A employers.