At the Capitol, September 2023

California Legislature Adjourns for 2023

The California legislature adjourned for the 2023 session on Thursday, September 14th marking the deadline for all prospective bills to be passed and moved to the Governor’s desk. A record number of bills came to the State Assembly this session, multiple of which Blue Diamond monitored and advocated on. This year’s top issues included sustainability, water and water rights, labor, and crop protection. The Governor will have until October 14 to sign or veto legislation approved.

Below are several key bills that passed the legislature and are heading to the governor’s desk.

SB 253 – Climate Emissions Reporting

Status: Passed the Legislature; Awaiting Governor’s Signature
This bill mandates carbon emissions reporting using Scope 3 models to measure carbon emissions, which do not consider sustainability practices. The bill was amended to delay implementing scope 3 reporting to those non-reporting from 2027–2030.

SB 261 – Greenhouse Gas Emissions Disclosures

Status: Passed the Legislature; Awaiting Governor’s Signature
Governor Newsom announced his intention to sign SB 261 into law. The law would require companies which generate a billion dollars or more and operate in California to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions and requires the adoption of measures to reduce and adapt to that risk by January 1st, 2026.

SB 389 – Investigation of Water Rights

Status: Passed the Legislature; Awaiting Governor’s Signature
Authorizes the SWRCB to investigate the validity of a water right claim, issue information orders for the purposes of such investigations, and enforce unauthorized water use as trespassing.

AB 363 – Pesticides

Status: Passed the Legislature; Awaiting Governor’s Signature
This bill demands a reevaluation of the impact that nonagricultural use of neonicotinoid pesticides for protection of outdoor ornamental plants, trees, and turf has on pollinating insects, aquatic ecosystems, and human health, and requires adoption of any necessary control measures to protect the latter by July 2026.

SB 616 – Workforce

Status: Passed the Legislature; Awaiting Governor’s Signature
Increases employer-provided paid sick leave from three to five days.

Blue Diamond Hosts USTR Ambassador Katherine Tai at Sacramento Facility

Group photo of BDG team members and Ambassador TaiEarlier this month, on September 8, Blue Diamond had the honor of hosting United States Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai at its Sacramento facility. As a member of the President’s cabinet and Chief spokesperson and negotiator for US trade, bringing Ambassador Tai’s attention to the issues of the Cooperative and the almond industry was a very valuable opportunity. Joining the Ambassador was California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross and Director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Development, DeeDee Meyer.

Following a facility tour and almond tasting, Secretary Ross organized an industry-wide roundtable at the Sacramento facility. Industry representatives voiced their top trade issues and concerns to Ambassador Tai, Secretary Ross and Director Meyers. Discussion at the roundtable focused primarily on tariff and non-tariff barriers for agriculture.

USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Service Visits Blue Diamond, Sacramento

Group photo of tour group in orchardLast month, Blue Diamond hosted a group of USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) officers and staff for a two-day tour of the Sacramento facility and almond orchards. The group of 20 learned about Blue Diamond’s manufacturing processes, sustainability efforts, and innovation process from Blue Diamond experts. The following day the delegation traveled to Salida where they toured several grower orchards and had the opportunity to witness harvest and sustainability practices, including shaking and sweeping, and whole orchard recycling.

FAS is an integral part of the USDA as it manages US agricultural programs overseas such as market development, trade agreements and negotiations. Because trade is critical to Blue Diamond, the opportunity to educate those representing United States’ agriculture is incredibly helpful and important to bolster the trade of almonds.

Government Shutdown Deadline Approaches

US Capitol buildingTensions in Washington, D.C. continue to rise as the deadline approaches for Congress to avoid a government shutdown. The current budget will expire this weekend on September 30, the end of the government’s fiscal year. Speaker McCarthy attempted to bring a stopgap bill to the floor Friday, but it did not receive the votes needed to pass. The lack of votes come as hardline conservatives refuse to budge on their requests for deep spending cuts, while some declared they would not support a temporary spending measure under any circumstances.

Meanwhile, the Senate has made some headway in continued government funding by working toward passage of a bipartisan stopgap bill, which would extend federal spending until Nov 17. The Senate measure has already been rejected by Republicans who control the House of Representatives. GOP representatives have said it would likely be amended to include a GOP border security package and reduce funding for Ukraine.

If no deal is reached, on October 1, the government will shut down meaning millions of federal employees and active service members will stop receiving paychecks, national parks may close, and airports could see disruptions or delays. The White House and federal agencies are in full preparation mode for the likely looming shutdown.

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