Sen. Melissa Hurtado of Sanger pulled SB 559 ahead of floor votes on Wednesday, shelving the water infrastructure bill for the year. The action put the last nail in the coffin after a committee stripped the measure of funding provisions worth nearly $800 million.
Farm and water organizations immediately issued statements decrying the Assembly’s gutting of the bill. The Friant Water Authority worried that ignoring the infrastructure needs would have devastating effects. California Citrus Mutual President and CEO Casey Creamer argued that “California cannot afford to waste even a single drop of its limited water resources” as it faces droughts.
“The move to strip SB 559 of its funding demonstrates the clear intent of the Assembly to drive food production out of California,” said California Fresh Fruit Association President Ian LeMay.
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Similarly, Western Growers President and CEO Dave Puglia said that “the Assembly’s leaders leave no uncertainty as to the future they want for the farms, farmers, farmworkers and communities of the San Joaquin Valley.” He argued that farmworkers “will lose the most” when farmers cannot irrigate.
Puglia shared his gratitude for Hurtado as well as for “those who stood with her even as their leaders gave them, and all of us, the middle finger.”