BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                     AB 862


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          Date of Hearing:  April 29, 2015


                          ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE


                                Henry T. Perea, Chair


          AB 862  
          (Committee on Agriculture) - As Amended April 21, 2015


          SUBJECT:  Department of Food and Agriculture: powers and duties.


          SUMMARY:  Makes additions, corrections and technical but  
          substantive changes to the Food and Agricultural Code as it  
          affects the California Department of Food and Agriculture  
          (CDFA).  Specifically, this bill:


          1)Corrects the reference requiring prior approval from the State  
            Department of "Health Care Services" replacing it with the  
            State Department of "Public Health" (DPH) when dealing with  
            biological control organisms, and adds "environment" to the  
            items that CDFA must show no detrimental impact on when  
            introducing biological control organisms.  


          2)Clarifies and updates terminology, related to the issuance or  
            renewal of a license, certificate of registration or other  
            indicia of authority acts by CDFA, by deleting agency and  
            replacing it with division, office or other entity within  
            CDFA.


          3)Corrects and clarifies the reference of county sealers of  
            weights and measures by adding the terms "county sealers of"  








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            to the reference of weights and measures.


          EXISTING LAW:


          1)Requires the prior approval of the Department of Fish and  
            Wildlife and the State Department of Health Care Services,  
            before CDFA may reproduce or distribute biological control  
            organisms that are not detrimental to the public health and  
            safety, which are known to be useful in reducing or preventing  
            plant or animal damage due to pests or diseases.  CDFA is  
            prohibited from engaging in the production of beneficial  
            organisms when they are available in sufficient amounts from  
            commercial sources.


          2)Existing law authorizes CDFA to issue or renew a license,  
            certificate of registration or other indicia of authority  
            issued pursuant to this code or department of any agency in  
            CDFA.


          3)Existing law provides legislative intent that CDFA, along with  
            county officials and industry representatives, develop and  
            augment from non-state sources the funding for programs of  
            county agricultural commissioners (CAC) and weights and  
            measures.


          FISCAL EFFECT:  Unknown.  Legislative Counsel has keyed this  
          bill fiscal.


          COMMENTS:  


          1)CDFA is charged with the protection of California agriculture  
            from pests and diseases.  Due to the urbanization of our state  








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            and the encroachment of residential and school facilities to  
            farming and ranching operations, CDFA, the Department of  
            Pesticide Regulation and the industry, has looked for  
            alternatives to conventional pesticide materials to address  
            pests and diseases issues.  Naturally occurring pest and  
            disease predators are a viable and useful alternative to  
            commercially available pesticides, and have been used since  
            the early years of statehood.  The original state insectary  
            sat on the Capitol grounds and is now used for the Capitol  
            grounds maintenance operation.



            While natural predatory insects are valuable, it is imperative  
            that such an introduction does not harm our native plants and  
            animals, human health and safety, or our environment.  This  
            bill clarifies and strengthens that requirement by making the  
            proper reference to DPH and adding the requirement that  
            biological control organisms do not have a detrimental impact  
            on that environment.


          2)CDFA is a cabinet level agency within the Governor's  
            administration and is structured with divisions, programs,  
            services and other non-agency references.  This bill clarifies  
            that CDFA only deals with their divisions, programs, and  
            services regarding the issuance or renewal of licenses,  
            registrations or other authorizations within CDFA's  
            organization.


          3)CDFA licenses CAC and sealers of weights and measures.  In  
            many counties the commissioner and sealer are the same, but  
            hold both licenses, which have distinctly separate  
            responsibilities.  CACs are responsible for pest detection,  
            prevention, eradication, inspection, and pesticide regulation.  
             Sealers are responsible for the accuracy of scales, meters,  
            scanners and other items used for commercial measurements or  
            weight instruments used for commerce.  This bill provides for  








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            the correct identity of sealers within this section of  
            statute.


          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:




          Support


          None on file




          Opposition


          None on file




          Analysis Prepared by:Jim Collin / AGRI. / (916) 319-2084