Assembly Bill 125 would place the Equitable Economic Recovery, Healthy Food Access, Climate Resilient Farms and Worker Protection Bond on the ballot in 2022
SACRAMENTO – Today, Assembly Bill 125 by Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D-Hollister) passed the Assembly Agriculture Committee on a vote of 10-0. The bill, the Equitable Economic Recovery, Healthy Food Access, Climate Resilient Farms and Worker Protection Bond Act, will invest $3 billion to accelerate California’s economic recovery and improve the state’s climate resilience, while also increasing healthy food access, protecting essential food and farm system workers, investing in regional food processing and market infrastructure, and promoting sustainable agricultural practices.
“COVID-19 has exposed many vulnerabilities and inequalities in our state’s food supply chain and infrastructure, and AB 125 will get at the heart of these issues,” said Asm. Rivas, who also serves as the Chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee. “It is time for a better food system in our state -- one that is more resilient, more sustainable, and more just. AB 125 will make major investments in both rural and urban areas of the state to increase worker safety, decrease hunger, and promote sustainable agriculture practices that will help us remain resilient in a changing climate.”
“In 2020, California was hit by a one-two punch of the COVID-19 pandemic and a historically catastrophic wildfire season, exposing significant vulnerabilities for the state’s food-supply chain and agricultural labor force,” said Kirk Wilbur, Vice President of Government Affairs for the California Cattlemen’s Association. “COVID-19 shuttered meat packing facilities, bottlenecking our food-supply infrastructure, which impacted everyone from cow-calf producers to consumers and greatly exacerbating food insecurity. At the height of the pandemic, wildfires scorched 4.2 million acres of the state, incinerating rangelands, livestock, and homes while threatening the health and safety of our agricultural workforce. AB 125 will make much-needed investments in our food and agriculture infrastructure to avoid the serious problems we saw in 2020 and ensure our food supply chain is ready for whatever challenges lay ahead.”
The bond will invest $3.302 billion over five years to accelerate California’s economic recovery from COVID-19, earmarking investments in four key areas:
- Regional and local food processing, distribution, and market infrastructure, especially for the state’s most vulnerable communities.
- Safety and well-being for farm and food system workers.
- Combating hunger and improving healthy food access.
- Promoting sustainable agriculture and climate resilience.
For a breakdown of the funding, visit: https://a29.asmdc.org/press-releases/20210316-asm-robert-rivas-and-coalition-agriculture-food-and-environmental-advocates
AB 125 will