While a number of bills failed to pass appropriations committees last week, many others took amendments that diluted the impact of the measures.
Among those was legislation to establish a stockpile of N95 respirators dedicated for ag workers to protect against smoke during wildfires. The amendments strike out the creation of a new stockpile and instead grant ag workers access to the state’s existing stockpile.
The committee also added a provision that a farmworker labor organization would serve on the state’s PPE advisory committee. When the state handed out masks in 2020, labor groups as well as ag organizations picked up the supplies at county ag commissioner offices to distribute to workers.
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The governor’s May budget revision includes an additional $400 million for COVID-19 activities, including PPE purchases. The California Climate and Agriculture Network criticized the budget for not including a direct purchase of PPE for farmworkers.