BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                    AB 1826


                                                                    Page  1





          Date of Hearing:  May 11, 2016


                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS


                               Lorena Gonzalez, Chair


          AB  
          1826 (Mark Stone) - As Amended April 26, 2016


           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
          |Policy       |Agriculture                    |Vote:|10 - 0       |
          |Committee:   |                               |     |             |
          |             |                               |     |             |
          |             |                               |     |             |
          |-------------+-------------------------------+-----+-------------|
          |             |                               |     |             |
          |             |                               |     |             |
          |             |                               |     |             |
          |-------------+-------------------------------+-----+-------------|
          |             |                               |     |             |
          |             |                               |     |             |
          |             |                               |     |             |
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 


          Urgency:  No  State Mandated Local Program:  YesReimbursable:   
          Yes


          SUMMARY:


          This bill overhauls the State Organic Program (SOP), including  
          changing the SOP fee structure and granting a larger  
          administrative role to accredited certifying agencies.  








                                                                    AB 1826


                                                                    Page  2





          Specifically, this bill: 


          1)Makes the following changes to the California Organics  
            Products Advisory Committee (Committee): 


             a)   Requires the Committee to advise the Secretary of  
               California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) on  
               education, outreach, and technical assistance for organic  
               producers.


             b)   Changes the makeup of the Committee by adding a  
               representative from an accredited certifying agency, and  
               reducing from two members representing consumers to one. 


          1)Defines the scope of SOP as follows: 


             a)   States that the purpose of SOP is to promote  
               coordination of federal, state, and local agencies in the  
               implementation of the National Organic Program (NOP),  
               expand, improve, and protect the production of organic  
               products, and provide technical assistance education,  
               outreach, and guidance. 


             b)   Authorizes CDFA to establish procedures, in consultation  
               with the Committee, for a number of activities, including  
               inspections, responding to complaints, technical  
               assistance, reimbursement of county agricultural commission  
               activities, and legal proceedings. 


             c)   Revises the information required for registration by  
               deleting detailed descriptions of facilities and locations  
               and instead requires an address or parcel number and  








                                                                    AB 1826


                                                                    Page  3





               establishes a list of organic product categories.  


          1)Changes and consolidates the fee structure for producers,  
            handlers, and processors, and authorizes an accredited  
            certifying agency to submit those registration fees and  
            applications on behalf of the applicant.


          2)Establishes the following requirements for accredited  
            certifying agencies: 


             a)   Establishes a licensing fee that is not to exceed $500  
               for accredited certifying agencies operating within  
               California.


             b)   Requires any accredited certifying agency to make  
               specified records available to the Secretary or county  
               agricultural commissioner within three days of a request.


          1)Replaces the detailed listing of required records to be kept  
            by a producer, handler, or retailer with the requirement that  
            accurate and specific records are kept as required by the  
            Secretary, in consultation with the Committee.


          FISCAL EFFECT:


          1)One-time administrative costs of approximately $100,000 for  
            CDFA to reprogram the current online registration system and  
            database, which will allow CDFA to restructure the application  
            process, data collection and assignments, and fee schedule.  
            (Department of Food and Agriculture Fund)










                                                                    AB 1826


                                                                    Page  4






          2)Ongoing annual revenue loss in the range approximately  
            $150,000 from the new fee schedule. (Department of Food and  
            Agriculture Fund)
          COMMENTS:


          1)Purpose. According to supporters, this bill will bring more  
            consistency to the state and federal organic programs by  
            reducing the required paperwork for farmers and reducing the  
            cost of filing with SOP. Supporters contend that much of the  
            paperwork requirements and fees are duplicative of NOP. 


          2)Background. Federal, state, and local agencies are all  
            involved in the regulation of organic products. California's  
            SOP was created under the California Organic Foods Production  
            Act of 1990. California's program was in operation before the  
            US Department of Agriculture (USDA)'s NOP was fully  
            implemented in 2002.  





            Under current law, CDFA, through the SOP, registers and  
            enforces organic provisions related to raw agricultural  
            products. SOP's enforcement activities are coordinated with  
            the Department of Public Health, who regulates the processing  
            or handling of processed products, the USDA's NOP, and county  
            agriculture commissioners, who registers local producers and  
            handlers. Currently, SOP's activities include program  
            administration; county biologist training; spot inspections;  
            residue testing and sampling; complaint investigations;  
            registration; and, providing information and guidance to the  
            California organic industry.  











                                                                    AB 1826


                                                                    Page  5







            The federal NOP program recognizes SOP as a state organic  
            program and has delegated enforcement of federal organic  
            standards and regulations to SOP. 


          


          Analysis Prepared by:Luke Reidenbach / APPR. / (916)  
          319-2081