Legislation creates two ag-related commissions
By WES SANDER
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed a bill that would have allowed "card check" unionization for farmworkers under certain circumstances.
SB1474, by Sen. Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, would have allowed a union to represent workers based on a card-check process if the state ag-labor board determines an employer has disrupted a secret-ballot election.
The cards would have qualified as a fallback for employee balloting if the union had obtained them from workers beforehand.
It's the second go-around for Schwarzenegger and Steinberg on card-check this session. The governor vetoed a Steinberg bill last year that would have allowed card-check without the conditions that softened this year's proposal.
Schwarzenegger said any bill altering the unionizing process should likewise alter the de-unionizing process.
The bill "does not take into consideration the possibility that the employer may have similar allegations of election misconduct by the labor organization," he said in a veto message.
"Overturning and reversing secret ballot election results should not be taken lightly and may be appropriate in only the most egregious cases," Schwarzenegger said.
Schwarzenegger vetoed the bill on Sept. 30, the deadline for signing or vetoing legislation passed in the 2009-10 session. Among the bills the governor signed are two creating ag-related commissions and one firming guidelines on restitution for stolen crops.
AB2695, by Assemblyman Ed Hernandez, D-West Covina, creates the California Nursery Producers Commission to run outreach, education, promotion, marketing and research. For funding, it assesses the state's 600-odd producers.
AB1912, by Assemblywoman Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, creates the California Apiary Research Commission. The body will operate on an estimated $2 million from a $1-per-colony assessment on beekeepers, according to legislative analyses. The California State Beekeepers Association supports the plan, intended to help control bee losses like those experienced in the past few years because of the mysterious condition known as colony collapse disorder.
SB1338 by Sen. Tom Harman, R-Huntington Beach, sets the value of stolen agricultural products based on wholesale value at the time of theft. Harman said that because the law previously only specified avocados and citrus, it has often been difficult for authorities to judge restitution for crop theft. The law now applies to all crops.