Ag Today January 31, 2018

State Assembly Rejects Bill to Increase Pesticide Fines

Legislation that would expand the enforcement power of California’s pesticide regulator and increase penalties for farming companies that violate the state’s agricultural chemical laws failed in the state Assembly late Monday.

Assembly Bill 1419, authored by Assemblyman Bill Quirk, D-Hayward, would have given the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) the authority to issue $25,000 fines for serious violations of the laws. Currently, county agricultural commissioners can levy fines up to $5,000.

The legislation needed 41 votes to pass but got only 35. The bill garnered significant support from Democrats in committee, but 18 members of the party voted against it or declined to vote when it got to the Assembly floor.

“I was surprised by the number of colleagues who did not vote for this bill that is meant to protect farmworkers,” said Quirk in an emailed statement Tuesday.

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