BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



          SENATE COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES AND WATER
                             Senator Fran Pavley, Chair
                                2015 - 2016  Regular 

          Bill No:            SB 746          Hearing Date:    April 14,  
          2015
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          |Author:    |Wolk                   |           |                 |
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          |Version:   |February 27, 2015                                    |
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          |Urgency:   |No                     |Fiscal:    |No               |
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          |Consultant:|Angee Doerr                                          |
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                         Subject:  Food safety:  grist mills


          BACKGROUND AND EXISTING LAW
          In 2011, AB1589 was passed by the California legislature and  
          signed into law. This bill stated that it was "imperative that  
          the state commit to a long-term goal of adequately and  
          sustainably funding and maintaining California's state park  
          system to protect these irreplaceable resources and to preserve  
          California's legacy for the benefit of all Californians. To this  
          end, it is necessary that the state identify new revenue  
          strategies that will move the state toward that goal, and affirm  
          a state policy that park closures are to occur only as a last  
          resort, and only after all reasonable alternatives have been  
          pursued."

          Towards this end, the Parks Forward Initiative was created.  
          Within the Initiative, an independent panel of experts,  
          citizens, and advocates, called the Parks Forward Commission,  
          was designated to assess the state park system and recommend  
          substantial improvements. Specifically, they were tasked to  
          address the "financial, operational, cultural, and population  
          challenges facing state parks to ensure the system's long-term  
          viability, functionality, and relevance."

          In February, 2015, the Parks Forward Commission released its  
          Final Recommendations. This report suggested, amongst other  
          actions, a "rededication to working with park partners" and a  
          focus on innovative ways to increase revenue. 







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          There is precedent in the law for generating revenue through the  
          sale of "historically authentic" goods at state historical  
          units, such as the Bale Grist Mill. "Certain agricultural,  
          mercantile, or other commercial activities may be permitted if  
          those activities are a part of the history of the individual  
          unit and any developments retain or restore historical  
          authenticity" (PRC 5019.59).  Several species of citrus, for  
          example, are grown at the California Citrus State Historic Park.

          Although the current bill refers to historic grist mills in  
          general, the only location that would qualify for the exemptions  
          stated is Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park. This park  
          includes the mill and its 36-foot water wheel, which are  
          protected as a state historic landmark, as well as Pioneer  
          Cemetery and the site of the first church in the Napa Valley. It  
          is currently being managed through a partnership between Napa  
          County Regional Park and Open Space District and the nonprofit  
          Napa Valley State Parks Association.

          A nearly identical bill, SB 170 (Wolk), was vetoed. The issues  
          raised in the Governor's veto message are being addressed by the  
          author's office, and are reflected in this bill.

          PROPOSED LAW
          This bill would allow the Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park to  
          sell flour produced onsite by providing for a specific exemption  
          from existing requirements for processed food and retail food  
          facilities. This exemption would begin January 1, 2018.

          ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT
          According to the author, "Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park is  
          a flour mill that predates California's statehood. The historic  
          construction of the mill prevents it from being altered to  
          comply with the standards for a food processing facility or a  
          retail food facility. Even with the two exemptions provided in  
          SB 746, all grains milled at the facility would meet applicable  
          federal food adulteration standards for cleanliness and safety."

          The author continues, "originally selected for closure along  
          with 69 other state parks, Bale Grist Mill is now operated  
          through a partnership between the Napa County Regional Park and  
          Open Space District and the Napa Valley State Parks Association.  
          Allowing milled flour to be sold for human consumption will help  








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          generate revenue necessary to maintain the park and preserve  
          this unique facility for future visitors."  
           
          The Napa County Regional Park and Open Space District adds, "the  
          bill would exempt the unique, National Register of Historic  
          Places-listed Bale Grist Mill from the state's processed and  
          retail food registration requirements. This would allow grain  
          produced at the grist mill to be sold to park visitors for human  
          consumption. Such sales are an important component of our  
          long-term strategy to preserve the landmark mill and introduce  
          the public to life in the 19th century, without taxpayer  
          subsidy."

          ARGUMENTS IN OPPOSITION
          None Received

          COMMENTS
           Would allow flour to be sold for consumption  . This bill would  
          allow the Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park to sell flour  
          produced onsite without requiring the flour be labeled "not fit  
          for human consumption", by providing for a specific exemption  
          from existing requirements for processed food and retail food  
          facilities. 

           Why was last year's bill vetoed?  A nearly identical bill was  
          vetoed by the governor at the end of the 2014 legislative year.  
          The veto message indicated that the proposed start of the  
          exemption did not provide enough time for best management  
          procedures to be developed. This bill would provide more time  
          for that work to be completed, and the author continues to work  
          with the Department of Public Health and the Department of Parks  
          and Recreation on the issue.

           Dual-referred to Health Committee.  This bill has been  
          dual-referred to the Senate Health Committee. Health and Safety  
          Code and food safety related issues or concerns will be  
          addressed by that committee.



          SUPPORT
          City of Napa
          Napa County Regional Park and Open Space District 









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          OPPOSITION
           None Received

          
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