FEBRUARY 14, 2019
House Version of Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act Reintroduced
One week after the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (CBMTRA) was reintroduced in the U.S. Senate ( S. 362 ), a companion bill was reintroduced in the House by Reps. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) and Ron Kind (D-Wis.). The bill would make the current federal excise rate language permanent. According to the Brewers Association , the legislation was first introduced in 2015 to recalibrate federal excise taxes and streamline regulations on alcohol beverage producers. It had broad support in the 115th legislative session with 303 representatives and 56 senators supporting the bill. Legislation that included a two-year provision of the language from CBMTRA was passed in December 2017 and is set to expire in December 2019. Wine Institute is praising the bill, stating it “will provide significant tax savings to all wineries.”

Government Relations Report
In his first  State of the State  address this week, Gov. Newsom announced actions important to winegrape growers.
>Water Supply: Newsom announced he does not support the twin tunnels. He supports one tunnel and a balanced approach. He said, “To help bring this balance, I’m appointing a new chair of the California water board,  Joaquin Esquivel …We must get this done – for the resilience of our mighty rivers, the stability of our agriculture sector, and the millions who depend on this water every day.” 
>Clean Drinking Water: Newsom highlighted the need by stating, “Some poorer communities, like those I visited recently in Stanislaus County, are paying more for undrinkable water than Beverly Hills pays for its pristine water.” Then he indirectly called for the California Legislature to support  new taxes on water, dairy and fertilizer  to fund clean drinking water efforts. The governor said, “Solving this crisis demands sustained funding. It demands political will.”
Newsom also appointed  Laurel Firestone  to the State Water Board. Laurel, is a lawyer and founder of  Community Water Center . Former State Water Board chair  Felicia Marcus , who led the push for increased river flows to the Pacific, has been removed.
Additionally, Newsom announced the appointment of  Bill Lyons  as agriculture liaison in the Office of the Governor. Lyons previously served as CDFA secretary from 1999 to 2004.

After Newsom’s  State of the State  address, it is becoming increasingly clear that Newsom is taking a very different approach to governing than his predecessor.
When Gov. Brown took office for his third term in 2011, he inherited a state budget that was deep in debt. So, he initially took a very frugal approach to governing with spending falling 6 percent in Brown’s first year. Brown said no to costly education and controversial housing policies. Yet in his last four years, he  supported billions in legacy funding  for high-speed rail and a pair of tunnels to move water from north to south.
This week, Newsom – who inherited a  budget  with a $13.5 billion rainy day fund – announced his support for education and housing policies that Brown avoided. For example, Newsom wants to invest in improving student performance and he wants to hold cities accountable when they don’t meet affordable housing requirements in law. Newsom is also  scaling back both of Brown’s costly legacy projects .
Additionally, distancing himself from the White House, Newsom rescinded Brown’s deployment of California National Guard troops to the Mexican border.
Brown’s approach to governing was to tackle one issue at a time, taking a longer view and strategically flexing his political muscle in negotiations. Newsom is very different and more ambitious, addressing several very complicated and costly issues at the same time.

-Michael Miiller / michael@cawg.org / 916-379-8995
U.S. Senate Ag Committee Leaders Reintroduce Pesticide-Related Measure
The Pesticide Registration Improvement Act (PRIA) was reintroduced this week by members of the U.S. Senate Ag Committee. The legislation extends authority for EPA to collect updated pesticide registration and maintenance fees through FY 2023. “This bipartisan legislation supports EPA in providing timely approvals of crop protection tools to prevent, manage and eradicate devastating pests and plant diseases that threaten our food supply, as well as a variety of consumer products,” said the senators in a press release. “The bill also includes protections for farmworkers, including resources to train farmworkers in the safe and responsible application of pesticides.” Dozens of agricultural groups in December 2018 sent a  joint letter to Senate and House Ag Committee leaders urging the long-term reauthorization of PRIA so that growers and users of pesticides have timely access to products.
New and Better Farmworker Program Needed: AFBF President Op-Ed
The Agricultural Worker Program Act of 2019 was introduced in the House last month, but American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall stresses the “bill isn’t enough.” In a lengthy op-ed in the Los Angeles Times ( “America has a farm labor shortage. We need a better guest worker program” ), Duvall emphasizes the need to fix agriculture’s broken labor system with a solution that benefits growers and workers. “The current H-2A program, which is supposed to assist farmers and ranchers, too often falls short in meeting growers’ or workers’ needs.” Duvall mentions California in the second paragraph and several more times throughout the piece.   
National Grape Research Alliance Announces New Officers, Board Members
The National Grape Research Alliance (NGRA) elected vice chair Tom Smith of E. & J. Gallo Winery to succeed outgoing vice chair Rick Stark of Sun-Maid Growers of California. The three additional officers – Tony Stephen (chair), American Vineyard Foundation; John Aguirre (past chair), CAWG; and Dan Martinez (secretary/treasurer), Martinez Orchards – were re-elected to their positions. New members from across the U.S. also were elected to the NGRA board.

Silicon Valley Bank's DTC Survey Coming March 5
In a few weeks, Silicon Valley Bank’s (SVB) Wine Division will be sending wineries its annual direct to consumer (DTC) survey. SVB is requesting that all of the major AVAs participate by forwarding the invitation with the survey link to their constituents. SVB will send a survey link during the last week of February to provide a preview of the final set of questions. Wineries that complete the survey will receive the full set of anonymous survey responses as well as custom charts and analysis.

Applying for an Appointment in California Government
For those seeking an appointment to a position in state government, the governor’s website provides information on positions available and application forms. The site has links to all board and commission appointees (governor and legislative).

DWR Finalizes Groundwater Basin Boundary Modifications Under SGMA
The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) this week announced  final decisions for groundwater basin boundary modifications requested by local agencies as part of the implementation of the  Sustainable Groundwater Management Act  (SGMA). Out of the 43 requests, 35 were approved, four were denied and four were partially approved.
WOTUS Rule Open for Comment
EPA and the Department of the Army published the Trump administration’s proposed waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule in the Feb. 14 Federal Register. The public comment period will be open until April 15. This is the second step in a comprehensive,  two-step process intended to review and revise the definition of WOTUS. 

CAWG Foundation Scholarship Applications Due March 8
Each year the CAWG Foundation awards scholarships to several high school seniors whose parents or legal guardians are employed by California winegrape growers.  The application deadline is March 8 . Please share the information and link with your employees. Since the program's inception in 1998, the foundation has awarded $433,000 in scholarships.

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Vineyards & Wine
WSU’s Tom Collins was among the speakers at the recent Sonoma County Grape Day, a UC Cooperative Extension event.
Wine Business, Feb. 11

Salinas-based company Parabug distributes beneficial insects via drones.
ABC23/Bakersfield, Feb. 1
Houston, who worked at CDFA prior to CFBF, succeeds Rich Matteis, who will retire at the end of March after serving in the role since 2007. 
Press release, Feb. 12

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has found 379 nutrias in the state as of Jan. 16, 2019. Click  here to report possible signs to the agency. 
AgNet West, Feb. 8
Ag Alert, Feb. 13

Strong but complex storm sequence this week will bring rain, wind and flood concerns to California
California Weather Blog, Feb. 11

DWR, Feb. 13

Specialty License Plate Benefits California Ag Education Effort
Through the 2018 California Special Interest Plate (CalAgPlate) grant program, CDFA awarded $250,000 to six projects that enhance agricultural education and leadership opportunities for students, teachers and youth. The CalAgPlate program is funded with proceeds generated through the sale of specialized, agriculture-themed license plates through DMV. If you are interested in purchasing a CalAgPlate for your personal and/or farm vehicles, visit the  DMV website .

Winegrape Mechanical Pruning Field Demo and Research Update
Co-hosted by SJVWA and UCCE Fresno County, the event will feature UCCE’s George Zhuang and Karl Lund, and UCD’s Kaan Kurtural.

When: Feb. 19 / 8 to 11 a.m.
Where: 7409 W. Central Ave, Fresno

February 26
CAWG Board of Directors meeting, Sacramento 

April 10
CAWG Day in the Capitol, Sacramento

April 10
CAWG Foundation Wine Reception, Sacramento

April 11
CAWG Board of Directors meeting, Sacramento

June 24
CAWG Board of Directors meeting, Sonoma

June 25
CAWG Summer Conference, Sonoma

June 25
CAWG Awards of Excellence Program and Dinner, Sonoma

June 26
CAWG PAC Golf Tournament, Sonoma