Legislative Update - June 23, 2016
A Busy Week in the Capitol

Hello California Fairs,
It has been a very busy week at the Capitol and there is lots of news, both good and bad.

As always, thank you for your engagement in the process.

The Elephant Guide

In not great news: The elephant legislation to ban the elephant guide/bull hook (SB 1062 [Lara]) passed through the Assembly Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism, and Internet Media Committee on Monday. The bill passed in a 4-2 vote, with Assembly Members Medina and Obernolte opposing the measure. We expect the legislation to move forward to the Governor’s desk where, last year, he vetoed a nearly identical bill. WFA maintains a strong interest in defeating this legislation as it has dangerous implications for all human-animal contact at fairgrounds, both in California and around the country. Last year, the most effective strategy was that of summoning expert testimony and demonstrating the current laws already in place for safe and appropriate use of the elephant guide. Our advocacy team continues to work behind the scenes in opposition to this legislation.

AB 2678

In great news: On Wednesday, Assembly Member Gray’s legislation redirecting a portion of sales tax generated at fairgrounds back into fairs in California, AB 2678,  moved through the Senate Governance and Finance Committee, where it passed 5-0. This bill has had a very difficult path, and this committee looked no different as it is made up of seven members who represent very urban areas and parts of Los Angeles, without many fairs in their districts. Assembly Member Gray (pictured at right with WFA Executive Director Stephen Chambers) introduced the bill followed by Stephen’s testimony. Your letters of support have been invaluable. After lots of discussion, AB 2678 moved forward with bi-partisan support, including AYE votes from Senators Hertzberg, Nguyen, Beall, Hernandez, and Pavley.

We are thrilled, but there is still a lot of work to do. During the bill’s journey through its house of origin, it picked up several amendments. Some of these amendments are standard, such as adding a 5-year sunset clause to any legislation that takes money out of the general fund. There are other amendments that take away from the bill’s purpose -- such as the exclusion of L.A. County along with its four fairs and labor language regarding overtime pay. The labor language currently in the bill is not acceptable and we are working to address this. AB 2678 still, at this point, excludes Los Angeles County and the fairgrounds therein. We are working to re-include L.A. County. With July being a legislative recess, we have the opportunity to strategize and address both of the above issues.

We are so proud of our members, CFA and its Sustainable Funding Focus Group (led by now-Colorado State Fair Manager Sarah Cummings) for generating this concept.
In fun news: The CFA Exhibit in honor of California Fairgrounds Appreciation Month is up outside of the Governor’s Office and looks so great, they’ve asked us to leave it there an extra week. If you're in Sacramento, take the opportunity to see it in person through July 4. A trip to the Capitol is the perfect holiday weekend! The passage of ACR 186 (the resolution designating June as California Fairgrounds Appreciation Month) will be celebrated with a legislative reception at the Capitol on Monday, June 27.
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