Governor Newsom Supports Communities Across Rural California

Governor Gavin Newsom today highlighted the Administration’s commitment to lifting up rural communities across California, including new legislation supporting access to key outdoor activities and major investments in the California Comeback Plan to support agriculture, build drought resiliency and support high-road job growth as part of a statewide economic recovery.

“California is committed to an equitable recovery in each part of our state – from the Oregon border to Imperial County. My Administration will continue working with Californians from all walks of life, especially those in regions that have long been underinvested in, to advance strategies and investments ensuring they have the support they need to thrive,” said Governor Newsom.

Today, Governor Newsom signed the following legislation:

  • AB 817 by Assemblymember Jim Wood (D-Santa Rosa) transitions California’s calendar-based fishing license to one that’s valid for 365 days from the date of purchase, through January 1, 2030. The bill would also include a mobile phone app designed to make fishing easier and more accessible for more people.
  • AB 1009 by Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D- Santa Monica) establishes the Farm to Community Food Hub Program to incentivize the creation of food hubs that help local and regional farms distribute their products to public institutions and nonprofits in the area.
  • AB 1103 by Assemblymember Megan Dahle (R-Bieber) establishes a county livestock pass program in order to grant livestock producers access to their ranch property for essential work during or following a natural disaster, and requires the State Fire Marshal to develop a curriculum for the Livestock Pass.
  • SB 287 by Shannon Grove (R-Fresno) permits a class C driver’s license holder to operate a vehicle when towing a trailer between 10,000 and 15,000 pounds gross vehicle weight rating or gross vehicle weight, if the towing is not for compensation or commercial purposes. This will allow recreationalists and horse enthusiasts to tow their weekend trailers without having to undergo commercial licensing requirements and additional fees required for heavier commercial trailers.

Governor Newsom also recently signed the following bills:

  • AB 804 by Assemblymember Megan Dahle (R-Bieber) requires the California Department of Fish and Wildlife director to establish two free hunting days per year no later than July 1, 2023.
  • AB 888 by Assemblymember Marc Levine (D-Marin County) allows small- and medium-scale livestock producers to utilize mobile slaughter operations, providing more options to safely harvest goats, sheep and swine on the ranch where they are raised.
  • SB 303 by Senator Andreas Borgeas (R-Fresno) extends the time period by two years for a taxpayer to transfer their base year value to a comparable property in the same county if their home was destroyed by a disaster.
  • SB 539 by Robert Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys), in conjunction with Proposition 19, makes several clarifying changes to the Home Protection for Seniors, Severely Disabled, Families and Victims of Wildlife or Natural Disaster Act, including clarifying its application to family farms.

In addition to funding for a Rural Economic Advisor at the California Department of Food and Agriculture to help implement strategies designed to support rural economies, the state is committing major investments to support climate smart agriculture practices and create a resilient and equitable food system amid climate-driven drought and extreme heat challenges:

  • $916 million to promote climate smart agriculture practices, including funding for cleaner agricultural vehicles and engines, grants for alternative manure management and dairy digester projects to reduce methane emissions, incentives for alternatives to agricultural burning in the San Joaquin Valley, and technical assistance for the development of farm conservation management plans and groundwater management.
  • $57 million to support economic recovery and high-road job growth in agricultural communities, including funding for beginning farmer training and apprenticeship programs and technical assistance to underserved farmers.
  • Over $127 million to bolster more resilient and equitable food systems, including funding for the California Farm to School Incubator Grant Program that expands healthy food access in schools while supporting farmers; the Farm to Community Food Hubs Program to facilitate the distribution of local, farm-fresh food to the public institutions and non-profit organizations; and assistance for urban farmers and community-based organizations.
  • $1 billion to enable safe and equitable access to state parks and open spaces for all Californians. Investments expand environmental education; improve access; enhance and restore state parks through restoration and climate resilience efforts; and increase recreation opportunities.

Helping farmers build water resilience, the California Comeback Plan also includes $100 million General Fund to provide incentives that help advance agricultural communities’ innovative work to reduce irrigation water use and greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture pumping, through the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program; $300 million General Fund for grants to support economic mitigation planning and groundwater implementation projects across critically over-drafted basins; and $50 million General Fund for groundwater sustainability projects that reduce groundwater use, repurpose irrigated agricultural land and deliver co-benefits to community health, economic well-being, water supply, habitat and our climate.

Supporting California families across the state, Governor Newsom’s California Comeback Plan provided $12 billion in Golden State Stimulus payments to two-thirds of Californians, the biggest state tax rebate in American history. It also helps low-income renters pay 100 percent of their back-rent and covers past-due utility bills. Further, Governor Newsom is investing $12 billion over two years to increase homeless housing and services, tackling the homelessness crisis impacting both urban and rural regions. Taking on the digital divide impacting unserved and underserved communities, the Governor has advanced a $6 billion multi-year investment to increase equitable, affordable access to high-speed internet service throughout California. The Governor also created a $600 million Community Economic Resilience Fund, which will support regional specific economic transition strategies, and to bolster job-creating industries in key sectors of regions most affected by that state’s transition to carbon neutrality.