News

SGMA Assistance Bill Moving Through Legislative Process

Assembly Bill 350 seeks to help farmers and ranchers navigate the implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). The SGMA assistance bill would provide funding for technical support for producers to help with compliance. Introduced by Assemblymember Carlos Villapudua, the bill is being sponsored by American Farmland Trust (AFT). The legislation was passed out of the Assembly Agriculture Committee with a unanimous vote and is being heard in the Assembly Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee beginning April 26.

Villapudua presses Newsom over drought emergency citing unmet, long-term water needs

Following efforts from California legislators to call on Gov. Gavin Newsom to declare a state of emergency over the drought, one Central Valley Democrat is urging the governor to go one step further by making long-lasting investments to solve the state’s water crisis. 

Earlier this month, a group of bipartisan legislators wrote a letter to Newsom making their case for an emergency declaration. 

Heather Green, executive director of Oasis City Center, named Woman of the Year

Exactly a year ago, Oasis City Center Executive Director Heather Green and her team established a drive-thru food distribution center at Oasis Cares, 848 E. Hammer Lane. 

After 12 months, they’ve collected and delivered over 1 million pounds in pantry products to 250,000 community members. 

Because of her work, Green was recently named Woman of the Year for District 13 by State Assemblyman Carlos Villapudua.  

New vaccine allocation aims to reach farm workers as second season approaches during pandemic

The recent announcement by the governor's office that 40% of upcoming vaccine allocations in the state will be distributed among the most vulnerable residents that have been impacted by COVID-19, is welcome relief to the cherry industry, where vaccinating staff is an urgent need.

The cherry industry has not only worked through a year of COVID-19 protocols, but will be packing and exporting its second harvest during the pandemic. 

Villapudua Bill Would Relocate State Utilities Regulator to Stockton

A new bill would move the office of California’s powerful public utilities regulator to Stockton and encourage the selection of commissioners from the Central Valley. The bill’s author, Asm. Carlos Villapudua (D-Stockton), says that it could create as many as 1,000 jobs in the Stockton region.

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), which is currently located in San Francisco, oversees the state’s natural gas, telecommunications, water, and power utilities like PG&E. The agency also has field offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

State lawmaker introduces bill for homeless shelters to allow pets

A state lawmakers is pushing for homeless shelters to allow pets. Assemblymember Carlos Villapudua introduced Assembly Bill 258, which would require shelters that receive money from the state to accept people living on the street and their pets.

The bill is modeled after a Stockton pilot program, where the shelter for the homeless in Stockton allows individuals to take in one pet as long as it’s vaccinated.

Villapudua says about 5% of the homeless in the state own pets.

California liquor bill aims to make restaurant parklets permanent, plus zones for open containers

A post-pandemic California could potentially feature permanent restaurant parklets, open-container zones in cities. and an easier road for opening pop-up restaurants, if a new bill introduced Friday is passed by the Legislature.

Sponsored by Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, the Bar and Restaurant Recovery Act, or SB314, would loosen certain alcohol laws throughout the state. The goal, Wiener said, is to give more flexibility to bars, restaurants and music venues in order to help them stay afloat.

Hall of Fame case for Tom Flores gets a boost from state Latino legislators

The push to get former Raiders coach and quarterback Tom Flores into the Pro Football Hall of Fame — which picked up speed as a nationally broadcast beer commercial earlier last month — took a political turn Monday when a group of California Latino legislators introduced a resolution urging the NFL to make it happen.

Assembly House Resolution 13 was introduced Jan. 25 and adopted Monday “with overwhelming support,” according to a statement sent by the office of Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, a Democrat from Coachella whose 56th District includes Indian Wells, where Flores lives.

CDFA would help farmers adapt to SGMA under new bill

A new measure aims to offer technical assistance grants to help landowners reduce water usage under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). It targets critically overdrafted basins in the San Joaquin Valley and prioritizes socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. The bill would allocate up to $300,000 for each project.

The bill’s author, Asm. Carlos Villapudua of Stockton, recognizes the “staggering effect” SGMA will have on the valley, with as many as a million acres of productive farmland to be fallowed.