(Sacramento, CA) – Last night, Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 2043 and AB 2165, farmworker relief legislation authored by Assembly Robert Rivas (D-Hollister) and Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella). These measures establishing the nation’s first legislative package of COVID-19 protections for agricultural workers passed the legislature with bipartisan support.
“I would like to thank Governor Newsom for responding to our call for increased farmworker protections,” said Assemblymember Garcia. “Our agricultural, farmworker communities have been serving on the frontlines, making extraordinary sacrifices to keep us fed throughout this pandemic. I commend Assemblymember Rivas for leading the charge on these critical issues. We remain fully committed to ensuring equity for rural regions across our state now and beyond this public health crisis.”
“This is a major victory for California’s most vulnerable essential workers – farmworkers,” said Assemblymember Rivas, newly named Chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee. “I am grateful to the Governor for his signature on AB 2043 and AB 2165, which will 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.”
AB 2043 will take immediate effect, while AB 2165 will go into effect on January 1, 2021.
California COVID-19 Farmworker Relief Package:
AB 2043, Agricultural Workplace Health andSafety Act (Rivas/E. Garcia): Ensures enforcement by Cal/OSHA of its COVID-19 guidance,funds a targeted bilingual outreach campaign to educate agricultural workers on Cal/OSHA guidance, as well as COVID-19-related paid sick leave and workers compensation benefits, and directs Cal/OSHA to track and report workplace investigations related to the agricultural industry.
AB 2165, E-Filing and Rural Access to Justice Act (Rivas/E. Garcia): Expands the availability of electronic filing to all state trial courts, given that access to courthouses is a problem in many farmworker and other rural communities.