Thanks to everyone who wrote letters, made phone calls, & went to Sacramento to defeat dean florez and SB362. This bill would have been financially devastating to California dairies during a time of serious economic despair. I had a chance to ride the bus to Sacramento to attend this hearing and it was really amazing to see so many dairy producers there. It was also a wonderful thing to see so much unity in the industry and have an opportunity to come together to rally behind a cause.
I missed out on the picture, but had a great time in Sac none the less. Here is the Western United Dairymen’s news post on this committee hearing:
I want to add that California Farm Bureau Federation also participated in opposing the bill and we appreciate their time and support.
California dairy producers today made an effective case against legislation that proposed changing the Gonsalves Milk Pooling Act. After hearing from several dairy producers opposed to SB 362, authored by Sen. Dean Florez (D-Shafter), the Assembly Ag Committee defeated the bill by a 4-3 vote with one abstention. Voting with California dairy families to defeat the bill were Tom Berryhill, (R-Modesto); Connie Conway (R-Tulare); Mariko Yamada (D-Vacaville); and Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield.) Bill Monning (R-Santa Cruz) abstained. Berryhill did a great job in speaking for the dairy industry, said WUD President Ray Souza. About 30 dairymen showed up at the hearing in the Capitol to testify and lend support for defeating the measure. Their support and testimony was critical in helping committee members understand the repercussions of SB 362. WUD was joined in the successful effort to defeat SB 362 by the Dairy Institute of California, Milk Producers Council and California Dairy Campaign. Everyone who spoke on behalf of dairy families, from two Hanford college students Jason DeGroot and Lucas Wilgenburg to 91-year-old Ben Van Warmerdam, a dairy producer from Galt, spoke movingly against the bill and for the Gonsalves Milk Pooling Act. Also to be thanked in today’s successful effort are all the WUD members who took the time to call their Assembly members urging opposition to the bill. Florez asked for and was granted reconsideration, making the measure a two-year bill and eligible to be heard again in the Assembly Ag Committee next year.
I want to express my thanks to Dino and everyone else who helped defeat this bill. After some last minute negotiations between the Assembly Ag committee Chairperson Kathleen Galgiani and the bills author CA State Senate member Dean Florez the bill was heading in the right direction. However it still expanded a special exemption for an extremely small number of producers (for all intense purposes only 1). Everyone opposing the bill greatly appreciated the Chairs effort in amending the bill to make it less harmful to the pool. I also agree with Dino’s comment on unity in the industry, it is extremely rare and created a great feeling of togetherness. Keep your eyes on Dino Giacomazzi he is a bright spot in the CA Dairy industry and is going places, he’s also a great person to work with.