The legislature sent Governor Brown more than 700 bills for consideration last month. One of them, AB 2346, is a trial attorney’s dream and a nightmare for the agricultural industry.
AB 2346's author, Asm. Betsy Butler (D-Los Angeles) previously worked as a fundraiser for the Consumer Attorneys of California, the trial lawyer lobby group. The bill is disguised as a bill to increase farm workers’ safety from heat related illnesses. However, this bill threatens family farms with the same kind of abusive lawsuits that are currently hurting small businesses around ADA compliance regulation.
California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health, better known as Cal/OSHA, already has requirements farmers must meet to keep their workers safe. However, AB 2346 creates regulations that the agricultural community and its allies have proven are not possible to meet. And when they don’t meet these new regulations, the lawyers will be there to file a lawsuit.
Lawyers roaming the fields with tape measures and thermometers will do no more to worker safety than the endless ADA lawsuits have done to increase disabled access, but they will drastically increase costs for agriculture industry – costs that will be passed down to all of us at the grocery store.
To ask Governor Brown to read the fine print and veto AB 2346, click here. We need laws that will create jobs, not lawsuits.