State lawmakers have introduced a measure that would ban new confined animal feeding operations in the state along with any expansions on existing facilities. Violators would be fined up to $10,000 a day, and businesses with less than $100,000 in revenue would be exempt.
"Although we can’t and shouldn’t replace it overnight, we can cease its expansion to give room for more worker and consumer-friendly operations to develop," said Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian of Sherman Oaks, in a statement. “These operations have a notorious track record of poor working conditions where health and safety are sacrificed for the maximum profit."
The bill's sponsor is Direct Action Everywhere, composed of animal rights activists that agricultural trade groups have labeled as domestic terrorists. The group was accused of potentially spreading virulent Newcastle disease and COVID-19 by entering facilities and stealing livestock.
The proposal was filed last week along with hundreds of other measures ahead of a Friday deadline for new bills in this legislative session. It is light on details and has yet to be scheduled for a hearing.
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The Los Angeles Democrat has already been butting heads with livestock groups this session over a proposal to incentivize plant-based options in school meals. The second author on the bill, Asm. Alex Lee of San Jose, has gained recognition for a controversial wealth tax proposal.
Meanwhile, Republican Senator Shannon Grove’s new bill would repeal the provisions of the 1975 act that formed California’s Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB), handicapping the agency that protects farmworkers, with the promise of new legislation in 2023 to abolish it outright and reallocate those funds to developing farmworker housing.
The conservative lawmaker from Bakersfield has been a strident critic of the labor board during her long tenure in the Legislature. She recently grilled the ALRB attorney over perceived bias and delaying a final verdict on a case that involved a 2013 union election at a packing house.