Republican Assemblymember James Gallagher is proposing $100 million in relief for small businesses that support agriculture and are struggling after drought and flooding. It would add to $75 million the administration has yet to dole out.
“We don't often come asking for help,” said Taylor Roschen, a lobbyist at Kahn, Soares & Conway for the California Rice Commission, during a recent hearing on Assembly Bill 1044. California Farm Bureau policy advocate Chris Reardon described the bill as a lifeline for agriculture as well as the rural hospitals, restaurants and community centers that suffer alongside the industry. He added that areas under floodwater may not be able to plant for another three years.
While the bill sailed through its first committee with unanimous support, it faces a major gauntlet next week for fiscal bills. Appropriations committees from both houses will decide the fate of hundreds of bills. The biannual event offers a convenient opportunity for Democratic leaders to quietly kill unsavory legislation.

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On Friday the Gov. Gavin Newsom will release his revised budget proposal for the coming fiscal year. His projections for a deficit will likely be higher than originally projected in January, given independent estimates, meaning some spending could be further clawed back, though the administration currently plans to distribute the $75 million in grants this summer. Newsom could also incorporate Gallagher’s bill into the budget plan.
The deficit will also weigh heavily on Newsom’s signing pen in September, when hundreds of bills begin stacking on his desk. Many of the veto statements he issued last year warned that the state must remain fiscally prudent amid an economic downturn.