During a floor session Monday, the Assembly debated a bill that would set guidelines for when olive oil producers could use the name California on their labels.
Republican Asm. James Gallagher of Yuba City blasted the proposal.
“This will be the first time in history that we pass a bill that is targeted towards exactly one business,” said Gallagher. He argued the company at the heart of the legislation, California Olive Ranch, has been employing local residents and contracting with local growers for more than 20 years.
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Gallagher’s neighbor in the Sacramento Valley, Asm. Cecilia Aguiar-Curry of Winters pushed back, saying the company has been exploiting a simple loophole in state law with its blended products that puts local growers at a disadvantage. She asserted this sort of misleading commercial speech is not protected by the Constitution but acknowledged the legislative council will not be able to confirm that statement until later this summer.
The Assembly passed the measure 51-5, sending it to the Senate.