California Drought and Water Rights

I had a professor once tell me “invest in property because it’s something they aren’t making more of.”

2d2193f2-dea5-4839-970c-93ba6c6314f9-620x372The same is starting to become more and more true for water, so maybe it is time that our traditional legal system stops viewing water in the context of ownership and property rights and make it a communal pool. New California water regulations are impeding on water rights that date as far back as 1903 – and I can only wonder why someone’s monetary property interest in a natural resource can trump the health of an evolving world for so many years. Negotiations continue for priority use during growing season.

California Passes Bill Strict on Fraud at Farmers’ Markets

California passed AB 1871, which does two major things, among other provisions.  First, it restricts and criminalizes fraud at farmers’ markets in the state.  Second, it increases the daily stall fee from $0.50 to $2.

The bill first criminalizes any statement (oral, printed, or otherwise) that is misleading regarding the products area of production, producer identity and method of production.  Violation of such law is a misdemeanor, meaning 6 months (maximum) or a fine of $500-$5,000.

The rise in vendor fee is expected to raise $1.4 million annually and will be deposited into the Department of Food and Agriculture Fund.  This fund will be used to promote transparency.  Vendor fees will be used to evaluate county enforcement procedures, conduct hearings for violating these laws, maintaining a list of farmers’ market locations, maintaining lists of certified producers, and maintaining lists of producers whose certification was revoked.

This law also regulates the use and meaning of the term “California-grown,” directs the administrative agency to pass rules that regulate and promote wholesomeness of agricultural products, and regulates what constitutes a “certified” farmers’ market.

For further information on what this bill means for California, see this article.

California Senate to Consider Law that would Require Labeling of Genetically Modified Agricultural Products

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California bill SB1381 would deem any product ‘mislabeled’ if it is partially or entirely genetically engineered and the label does not say so.  This bill is especially progressive because it allows any individual to sue the company for injunctive relief – that is, to halt mislabeled production until they appropriately disclose what contents are genetically modified.  This bill is especially friendly to consumers because any consumer that sues for mislabeling would be able to have all attorney fees paid for by the offending company.