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Cattlemen-backed rustling, species bills sent to Gov. Brown

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Tim Hearden
As California's legislative session has drawn to a close, lobbyists from the California Cattlemen's Association said they were relatively successful in pushing bills that would help ranchers. Among the bills sent to Gov. Jerry Brown was one that would increase the penalties for livestock theft.

SACRAMENTO — A bill that seeks to increase penalties for livestock theft is one of several California Cattlemen’s Association-backed measures that have made it to the desk of Gov. Jerry Brown.

The bill by Assemblyman Frank Bigelow, R-O’Neals, would enable district attorneys to seek jail time and fines of as much as $5,000 for livestock thefts and give the money to the state Bureau of Livestock Identification to investigate cases.

The Legislature also passed a bill by Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, that would allow for the continuation of accidental take of endangered species, a CCA newsletter notes.

The bills passed in the waning hours of the legislative session, which ended Sept. 12. CCA lobbyists said they were fairly successful this year at advancing bills that would help ranchers do their jobs.

“I think it actually went relatively well,” said Justin Oldfield, the CCA’s vice president of government relations. “We had various bills that we authored that we were able to keep working on.”

Among bills that didn’t advance to the governor but are still alive are a pair that would bring California’s transportation laws in line with other states regarding the use of 53-foot semitrailers and flatbed pickups.

To prevent trucks from having to use too much roadway to complete turns, state law only allows 53-foot trailers if the distance from the kingpin to the rear axle is no more than 40 feet. A bill by Sen. Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres, would create an exception for livestock trailers, as the industry is now confined to using 48-foot semitrailers.

A bill by Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian, R-San Luis Obispo, would ease the permitting and licensing requirements for livestock producers using flatbed pickups. Both bills were held for the 2014 session so the CCA could build consensus with the California Department of Transportation and law enforcement agencies.

The CCA was part of a far-reaching coalition that helped defeat bills that would have increased the regulatory authority of the state’s Air Resources Board under existing cap-and-trade legislation, and would have given broad new fining powers to the Coastal Commission.

“We’ve got a lot of members who ranch in the coastal zone,” Oldfield said. “Various regulations that they enact affect our members.”

However, many CCA members are concerned about several gun-control measures sent to Brown, including one by Sen. Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, that would ban the future sale of semiautomatic rifles that accept detachable magazines or feeding devices. The CCA was planning to encourage its members to send letters to Brown requesting that he veto the bill.

However, controversial legislation that would have required anyone seeking to purchase ammunition apply for an annual permit languished in an Assembly committee. Another bill that would have outlawed magazines with more than 10 rounds failed in the Senate.

Online

California Cattlemen’s Association: http://www.calcattlemen.org/



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