We did it! Governor Gavin Newsom has signed two key components of our first in the nation Farmworker Covid 19 Relief Package.
“This is a major victory for California’s most vulnerable essential workers – farmworkers,” said Assemblyman Robert Rivas, D-Hollister, one of the sponsors of the bills.
I am grateful to the Governor for his signature on AB 2043 and AB 2165, which help protect agricultural communities against the spread of COVID-19 and ensure workers have access to critical workplace safety information and essential state services during this pandemic.
I am proud to have worked with such a broad coalition of supporters to make this a reality. We brought everyone to the table, including Republicans, Democrats, growers, farmworkers, advocates, state agencies, and industry representatives to craft this prudent package of legislation which will save lives.
Robert Rivas is a member of the California State Legislature.
He represents Assembly District 30 – a district with a population of over 500,000 people, that spans across 4 counties: Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Benito, and Santa Clara.
New California law funds COVID-19 outreach, enforcement for farmworkers
Gov. Gavin Newsom this week signed two laws aimed at helping California’s “unsung essential workers” during the COVID-19 crisis, one of which aims to ensure farmworkers have access to reliable information about how to stay healthy.
The main bill, Assembly Bill 2043, calls for an outreach campaign to inform farmworkers on best practices to prevent COVID-19 infection, and provide information on paid sick leave, workers’ compensation and other coronavirus-related services.
The bill will also direct California Division of Occupational Safety and Health to enforce COVID-19 guidance and track and report workplace investigations in the agricultural industry.
The law does not allocate a specific amount of money for the campaign. The Department of Industrial Relations estimates it would cost about $1.8 million over two years.
The second bill, Assembly Bill 2165, expands the availability of electronic filing to all state trial courts. The law would provide more courthouse access to farmworkers living in rural communities or with limited transportation options.
California is home to an estimated 800,000 farmworkers, according to a COVID-19 farmworker study conducted by advocacy groups and researchers at UC Davis.
About 90% of farmworkers in the state are from Mexico and 60% are unauthorized to work in the U.S., according to the study. Throughout the summer, California’s Central Valley region faced serious spikes of COVID-19, making agriculture workers vulnerable to the virus.
Less than one-third of the state’s crop workers have health insurance, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s National Agricultural Worker Survey.
Advocates for farmworkers lobbied for the bills, noting that agricultural employees often live in crowded housing and can work in close quarters even when outdoors.
Read more here: https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article246092890.html#storylink=cpy