CFJC Policy Priorities

The Community Food and Justice Coalition supports the work of our partners and community leaders on the ground. After hosting community events, community workshops, and listening sessions around California and with partners across the country, compiling information from our Public Policy Survey, and discussing focus areas with our organizational members and partners, CFJC has identified our policy priorities for 2013.

The below policy priorities support CFJC’s Policy Principles, and may change throughout the year to provide continuous support to our community partners and legislative champions. Please check back frequently for updates. For questions related to the below policy priorities or CFJC’s policy work moving forward, please contact Jessy Gill at jgill@cafoodjustice.org or (510) 547-1547. This list was last updated April, 2013.

California State Legislation

AB 4 – TRUST Act
Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), 17th District

Co-sponsored by Asian Law Caucus, the National Day Labor Organizing Network, California Immigrant Policy Center, ACLU of California, and MALDEF, Assemblymember Ammiano introduced the TRUST Act. The TRUST Act limits unfair, costly detentions of aspiring citizens in local jails for deportation purposes – people who would otherwise be released. Over 93,500 Californians have been taken from their families and deported due to the controversial federal deportation program “Secure Communities” program (S-Comm), more than any other state. The bill recognizes that we should not deport today those who could be on the road to citizenship tomorrow under immigration reform.

AB 5 – Homeless Person’s Bill of Rights and Fairness Act
Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), 17th District

Assemblymember Ammiano introduced AB 5, a bill that would stand against locally passed laws that target mostly homeless people for crimes such as sleeping, standing, sitting, and even food-sharing in certain locations. This is happening in various municipalities in California and all over the country. AB 5 provides that no person’s rights, privileges, or access to public services may be denied or abridged because he or she is homeless, has a low income, or suffers from a mental illness or physical disability.

AB 10 – Minimum Wage: annual adjustment
Assemblymember Luis Alejo (D-Salinas), 30th District

Assemblymember Alejo introduced AB 10 early December of 2012. AB 10 would raise the state minimum wage and provide for an annual adjustment to the hourly minimum wage to maintain employee purchasing power.

AB 38 – Office of Farm to Fork
Assemblymember Perez (D-Los Angeles), 53rd District

Assemblymember Perez introduced AB 38 December 3, 2012, and was amended in Assembly March 19, 2013. AB 38 would establish the Office of Farm to Fork the department to, among other things, work with various entities, including the agricultural industry and other organizations involved in promoting food access, to increase the amount of agricultural products available to schools and underserved communities in the state. This bill would improve state programs that support local and regional farm and food system infrastructure, expanding access to healthy foods for consumers, and creating new job growth and economic development through increasing the number of direct and retail markets.

AB 60 – The Safe and Responsible Driver’s Act
Assemblymember Luis Alejo (D-Salinas), 30th District

Assemblymember Alejo introduced AB 60 in January of 2013. AB 60 would provide a DMV-issued California driver’s license to anyone who can show proof of tax payment, regardless of immigration status. Assemblymember Alejo stated that “the Safe and Responsible Driver Act improves safety on our roadways because it will ensure that immigrants that pay taxes will be eligible for a driver’s license with insurance requirements.” According to the DMV study, “compared to licensed drivers, those who drive without a valid license are nearly three times more likely to cause a fatal crash relative to their exposure.” To reduce fatal crashes and improve public safety we need a system that better manages and controls the unlicensed population.

AB 134 – No Hunger for Heroes Act
Assemblymember Ben Hueso (D-San Diego), 80th District

Sponsored by San Diego Hunger Coalition, Assemblymember Hueso introduced AB 276, which would eliminate barriers to CalFresh nutrition assistance for active-duty military families and veterans. AB 276 will allow veterans to participate in the CalFresh Employment and Training program (CalFresh E & T) on a voluntary basis, and requires the state to ask the USDA to exclude counting the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) in consideration of the CalFresh application and benefits for military households, returning to pre-2011 rules. Currently the minimal assistance from their BAH consumes most of the families’ paychecks, this ruling would allow the opportunity for these families to get more food assistance. If the bill passes the state legislature, it still has one more step to go to be implemented. California will have to submit a request to the United States Department of Agriculture to get this rule change in place.

AB 191 – Strengthening the Connection between CalFresh & Medi-Cal
Assemblymember Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima), 39th District

Sponsored by California Food Policy Advocates, and introduced by Assemblymember Bocanegra, AB 191 proposes to strengthen the connection between CalFresh and Medi-Cal by making households with a Medi-Cal recipient (with income up to 200% Federal Poverty Level) categorically eligible for CalFresh. For categorically eligible households with a Medi-Cal recipient, the gross income limit would be raised from the current limit of 130% FPL to 200% FPL. The goal of the proposal is to increase the likelihood that low-income households with a Medi-Cal recipient also receive nutrition benefits via CalFresh. In an effort to further the connection between nutrition and health, the link between CalFresh and other health benefits should be strengthened.

AB 199 – Institutional Purchasers: Sale of California Produce
Assemblymember Holden (D-Pasadena), 41st District

Assemblymember Holden introduced AB 199, the Choose California Act, on January 23, 2013. AB 199 requires agricultural products grown, or packed or processed, in California to be purchased by all California state-owned or state-run institutions, except schools or school districts, before out-of-state agricultural products, as specified. This bill would require California public schools and school districts to purchase agricultural products grown in California before those that are grown out-of-state as long as the price does not exceed the lowest bid or price for an out-of-state product.

AB 290 – Foundations for Healthy Nutrition in Child Care
Assemblymember Luis Alejo (D-Salinas), 30th District

Sponsored by California Food Policy Advocates, Assemblymember Alejo introduced AB 290 on February 11, 2013. AB 290 aims to improve the nutritional quality of foods and beverages being served in child care by amending licensing laws to increase the required hours of preventive health practices training for providers to include one hour on childhood nutrition. California’s child care licensing laws do not require providers to undergo any nutrition training, yet research indicates child care provider training has the greatest impact on the quality of child care programs. Children who practice healthy eating habits during the first five years of life are more likely to extend those healthy habits into adulthood. Through increased nutrition education, AB 290 would support opportunities for child care providers to serve healthy foods and beverages at a lower cost.

AB 524 – Immigrants: Extortion
Assemblymember Kevin Mullin (D-San Mateo), 22nd District

Assemblymember Mullin introduced AB 524 on February 20, 2013. Existing law defines extortion as the obtaining of property from another, with consent, or the obtaining of an official act of a public officer, induced by a wrongful use of force or fear, or under color of official right. AB 524 provides that a threat to report the threatened individual, or his or her relative or a member of his or her family, as being illegally present in the United States to a law enforcement or immigration authority may induce fear sufficient to constitute extortion. By broadening the acts that constitute a crime, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

SB 626 – School Nutrition
Assemblymember Nancy Skinner (D-Skinner), 15th District

Assemblymember Skinner introduced AB 626 February 20, 2013. The federal Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA) has set a new set of nutritional standards for elementary, middle, and high schools. The HHFKA also aims at increasing access for students and improving oversight of nutritional programs, authorizing funding and policy for USDA child nutrition programs such as: the National School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), the Summer Food Service Program, and the Child and Adult Care Food Program. AB 626 would clarify that the rules pertaining to federally funded school meals served at schools and make other changes to improve the quality of and access to school meals available to low-income children as well as integrity in the program.

AB 682 – Plumped Poultry
Assemblymember Ian Calderon (D-Whittier), 57th District

Assemblymember Ian Calderon introduced AB 682 on February 21, 2013. AB 682 would prohibit chicken or turkey sold in any state-owned or state-leased building at food concessions and cafeterias from being ‘plumped’ in any way.” Legislation defines “plumped” poultry as any such product injected with “saltwater, chicken stock, seaweed extract, or some combination thereof… to increase its weight and price.”

AB 823 – California Farmland Act
Assemblymember Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton), 13th District
Assemblymember Das Williams (D-Santa Barbara), 37th District

Sponsored by CalCAN, American Farmland Trust, and Community Alliance with Family Farmers, AB 823 would establish clear minimum requirements for mitigating the loss of agricultural land related to a project, including requirements to: conserve agricultural lands that are at least the same acreage as the farmland that is being converted to nonagricultural uses; establish that the soil quality of the conserved land is at least comparable to the converted agricultural land; ensure that the conserved land has an adequate water supply for agricultural purposes, and that the conserved land is located as close to the converted land as feasible. AB 832 would put necessary policy in place to protect our natural resources, looking after our economic and food security and limiting the impacts of climate change.

AB 982 – Oil and Gas: hydraulic fracturing
Assemblymember Das Williams (D-Santa Barbara), 37th District

Sponsored by Clean Water Action, Assemblymember Williams introduced AB 982 on February 22, 2013. AB 982 will require companies fracking for oil and gas in California to monitor ground water near their operations. The proposed legislation requires monitoring of groundwater quality both before and after any fracking.

AB 1194 – Safe Routes to School Program
Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), 17th District

Introduced by Assemblymember Ammiano, AB 1194 would keep the Safe Routes to School Program as an independent, state-managed program with dedicated. This program provides funding to public engagement, education, and infrastructure to help secure students’ ability to travel to and from school safely. The state is facing an obesity epidemic due to decreased physical activity and unhealthy food and beverages. AB 1194 would provide greater opportunities for children to be physically active by provide them safe walking and biking opportunities to and from school.

Clean Water for Californians
Assemblymember Luis Alejo (D-Salinas), 30th District—along with several Colleagues

Assemblymember Alejo introduced a package of nine bills to address the drinking water crisis in California. There are 21 million people in California who live in communities that rely on a contaminated groundwater source for drinking water.  Of these, 2.1 million Californians are served by systems that have recently violated drinking water safety standards. The following nine bills propose to invest the necessary $40 billion over the next two decades to ensure the safe drinking water throughout the state:

  • AB 1 (Alejo), Salinas Valley Clean Water Funding
  • AB 21 (Alejo/ V.M. Pérez), Small Community Emergency Grant Fund
  • AB 30 (Perea), Small Community Water Fund
  • AB 115 (Perea), Regional Solutions for Clean Drinking Water
  • AB 118 (Alejo/ Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee), Safe Drinking Water Revolving Fund Cleanup
  • AB 119 (Alejo/ ESTM Committee), Drinking Water Devices
  • AB 145 (Perea/Rendon), Streamlining Drinking Water Oversight
  • AB 240 (Rendon), Clean Drinking Water for Maywood City
  • SB 117 (Rubio), Safe Drinking Water through Local Control Act

SB 283 – Successful Re-Entry & Access to Jobs
State Senator Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley), 9th District

Co-sponsored by the Western Center on Law and Poverty, the County Welfare Directors Association of California, and Drug Policy Alliance, Senator Hanckock introduced SB 283, Successful Re-Entry and Access to Jobs. Currently, California law maintains a lifetime ban on people with prior drug-related felony convictions from receiving basic needs assistance through CalWORKs or CalFresh. SB 283 allows individuals, previously convicted of a drug felony, who meet all other eligibility rules to receive basic needs services, employment training, and work supports through CalWORKs and CalFresh programs, provided that they are complying with the conditions of probation or parole, or have successfully completed their probation or parole.

Federal Legislation

Farm Bill Re-authorization

The Farm Bill is a piece of federal legislation reauthorized roughly every 5 years that encompasses several sectors including agriculture, conservation, rural development, and nutrition among many others. Out of the 12 titles in the current/2008 Farm Bill, there are several programs in the Farm Bill that relate to CFJC’s work, including, but not limited to: SNAP, SNAP-education, Conservation Stewardship Program, Outreach and Assistance to Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers, Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, Specialty Crop Block Grant, Farmers’ Market Promotion Program, Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, and countless more critical programs. In addition to the standard Farm Bill Programs, there are a couple of Marker Bills CFJC is looking toward to support in the upcoming Farm Bill debate:

  • Local Farms, Food and Jobs Act (S 1773, HR 3286)
    Representative Chellie Pingree (D-ME)
  • Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Opportunity Act (HR 3236)
    Representative Tim Walz(D-M)

Fair Minimum Wage Act
Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Representative George Miller (D-CA-11)

Representative Miller and Senator Harkin re-introduced the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013, to raise the federal minimum wage on March 5, 2013. Miller and Harkin’s proposal would raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour from its current $7.25—in three steps of 95 cents—then provide for automatic annual increases linked to changes in the cost of living. Miller and Harkin’s bill would also gradually raise the minimum wage for tipped workers—which currently stands at just $2.13 an hour—for the first time in more than 20 years, to 70 percent of the regular minimum wage. The introduction of the bill, came three weeks after President Obama highlighted increasing the minimum wage in his State of the Union address. This bill would help lift many restaurant and food system workers out of poverty. Find a list of organizational supporters of the Fair Minimum Wage Act which includes CFJC and several other organizational partners here.

Non-legislative policy support:

Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP)

The Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) Guides provide information and references for Federal procurement officials to help them better consider the environmental aspects of purchasing decisions. These guides describe the challenges, successes, and resources associated with a specific product or service, focusing on how to incorporate environmental considerations into purchasing decisions. CFJC is working with the Oakland Food Policy Council (OFPC) and OFPC Members to establish EPP guidelines as it relates to City-wide food procurement for OUSD schools and City government-funded meal programs such as brown bag, Head Start, and others.

California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006: Greenhouse Gas Reduction Account (AB 1532)
Assembly Member John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles), 46th District

AB 1532 was approved by Governor Brown September 30, 2012. AB 1532 is related to AB 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which set rigorous targets for greenhouse gas emissions reductions, the most well-known part of which is a cap-and-trade regulation. AB 1532 creates the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Account within the Air Pollution Control Fund. The bill requires fees collected from polluters via a cap-and-trade program be deposited in this account, and that the money be granted to programs and activities that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Appropriate categories of activities for investment include renewable energy and energy efficiency, advanced vehicles, water and natural resource conservation, and waste reduction. It is supposed to provide a transparent, public-engaged process for investing polluters’ fees into sustainable, mitigating activities with a whole host of public health benefits.

Implementation of the California Homemade Food Act/the Cottage Law (AB 1616)
Assembly Member Mike Gatto (D-Burbank), 43rd District

AB 1616 passed the Assembly August 30, 2012, passed the Senate August 30, 2012, and was signed into law by Governor Brown on September 21, 2012. The bill creates a new category of food production called a cottage food operation, which, unlike other types of commercial food facilities, can be operated out of a home kitchen. The types of foods that a cottage food operation can sell are limited to “non-potentially hazardous foods,” such as baked goods and jams. These cottage food products can be sold directly to consumers. The California Conference of Directors of Environmental Health (CCDEH) convened an implementation working group composed of representatives from the Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC), Assembly Member Gatto’s office, other groups and some soon-to-be cottage food producers. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has a new website up with information on cottage food operations here. Your local county department of environmental health should have additional information specific to your county (or city) regarding obtaining permits and registration forms.

Implementation of the California Healthy Food Financing Initiative (AB 581)
Assembly Member John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles), 46th District

AB 581 passed the Assembly September 6, 2011, passed the Senate August 31, 2011, and was approved by the Governor October 5, 2011. The California Healthy Food Financing Initiative (CHFFI) will work to eliminate food deserts through increased access to healthy and nutritious foods, and finds that “access to healthy food items is a basic human right.” The legislation will help bring healthy food retail to underserved communities by allowing state agencies to more effectively target programs and resources to improve healthy food access. A CHFFI Council will be created to develop financing options, define program parameters, and partner with government, nonprofit, and philanthropic agencies to advance key goals.

Implementation of the Child Nutrition Reauthorization: Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010

President Obama signed into law December 13, 2010 the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 authorizes funding for federal school meal and child nutrition programs and increases access to healthy food for low-income children. The bill that reauthorizes these programs is often referred to by shorthand as the Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill. This particular bill, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 reauthorizes child nutrition programs for five years and includes $4.5 billion in new funding for these programs over 10 years. Many of the programs featured in the Act do not have a specific expiration date, but Congress is periodically required to review and reauthorize funding. The $4.5 billion measure increases the federal reimbursement for free school lunches by 6 cents a meal at a time when many school officials say they can’t afford to provide the meals. The bill will also expand access to free lunch programs and allow 20 million additional after-school meals to be served annually in all 50 states.

Implementation of AB 1915 – Safe Routes to School
Assembly Member Luis Alejo (D-Salinas), 30th District

Governor Brown signed AB 1915 into law September 27, 2013. The bill took effect on January 1, 2013. AB 1915 specifies that the California Safe Routes to School program may support infrastructure improvements to increase safety and promote walking to school bus stops for children in rural and urban communities across California. AB 1915 amends the Safe Routes to School program by specifying that these infrastructure improvements are an allowable use of up to 10 percent of the program funds. The obesity epidemic is devastating the health and livelihoods of children across the state and ensuring that all children can safely walk and bicycle to school is one way to address this priority.

Soda Tax Initiatives

CFJC continues to monitor legislation relating to soda tax initiatives wherein proceeds from the tax are used to improve school nutrition and physical activity programs. To date, CFJC: supported the 2012 Richmond and El Monte Soda Tax initiatives.

Labeling GMO/GE products

CFJC continues to monitor legislation to regulate our resident’s right to know. To date, CFJC: supported the Prop 37 initiative; supports COOL (Country of Origin Labeling) which is written into the 2008 Farm Bill and was immediately challenged as a barrier to trade at the World Trade Organization (WTO); and plans to participate in a hearing on the labeling (including naming) of foods made from the AquAdvantage Salmon, a genetically engineered (GE) Atlantic salmon produced by AquaBounty Technologies, Inc.