SCGA Public Affairs


Monday, October 30, 2023

Our last “Update” detailed the one piece of water legislation (AB 1572 – Proscription upon the use of potable water to irrigate nonfunctional turf) that we considered the most positively impactful to the statewide golf community to get signed into law in the 2023 legislative session – “positively impactful” because golf is specifically referenced as “recreational” and/or “functional” turf exempt from the proscription, language sure to be copied and pasted into all sorts of future bills and regulations, not just at the state level, but at the local and regional levels as well.

Previous updates detailed what we believe to be the opening of a long process to upend the senior water rights conferred in 1850, 1873, and 1913 to reflect the radically changed circumstances of modernity – that opening being SB 389, a new law that gives the state the data and reach it will need to determine whether a water right is valid, otherwise understood by many as the first step to enforcing or vitiating those rights. AB 460 and AB 1337 are parallels that didn’t quite make it through the 2023 session but are in process of being substantially amended to make credible 2-year bill runs in January 2024. We’ll be eagerly watching. Whether they make it through that tight window or not, we expect them and other similar bills to be filed and refiled in the 2024 session and beyond.

Another bright spot for golf was AB 363 – a bill signed into law that establishes neonicotinoids as substances banned unless applied by “licensed applicators.” The 2022 version of the bill, which was vetoed by Governor Newsom, allowed application only by agricultural licensed applicators. The signed 2023 version allows application by all licensed applicators, which allows the California golf community to continue their use, which though limited, can be important at certain times and in certain places. Kudos to the GCSAA, which lobbied hard for the 2023 version that Governor Newsom signed.

As we suggested in an earlier “Update” entitled, “Heeding Labor’s Roar,” California is in the throes of a massive recalibration of the rules governing worker’s wages, benefits, and rights in strong favor of labor. The “roar” didn’t extend all the way to SB 799 becoming law, because Governor Newsom vetoed the last-minute gut-and-amend bill that would have granted striking workers unemployment benefits. But here are the bills the Governor did sign in the 2023 session:

AB 1 – Collective bargaining: legislature. Enacted the Legislature Employer-Employee Relations Act, to provide employees of the Legislature, except certain specified categories of excluded employees, the right to form, join, and participate in the activities of employee organizations of their own choosing for the purpose of representation on all matters of employer-employee relations.

AB 621 – Workers’ compensation: special death benefit. Expands an exemption to include state safety members, peace officers, and firefighters for the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection who are members of Bargaining Unit 8 and would apply the exemption for these employees retroactively to January 1, 2019, for injuries not previously claimed or resolved.

AB 1228 – Gives raises to fast food workers - $20/hr.

SB 332 – Minor league baseball player bargaining agreement. Ensures a collective bargaining agreement for minor league baseball, guaranteeing better wages and benefits for more than 360 California minor league players, such as housing, health care, and compensation, including in the regular season, spring training, and the off-season.

SB 497 – Reduces retaliation against workers who have filed wage claim or unequal wage complaint.

SB 525 - $25/hr. Healthcare workers.

SB 616 – Add paid sick days. Amends California’s paid sick leave law to expand mandatory paid sick leave from three days or twenty-four hours to five days or forty hours.

Expect more of the same in 2024. While golf has punched way above its political weight on those matters directly related to the game, e.g., AB 672, AB 1910, and AB 2257 in previous legislative sessions and AB 1572 and AB 363 in the just concluded 2023 session, it isn’t a productive use of golf’s limited time and even more limited resources to engage as heavily on bills that affect all businesses in California. The game is irrelevant in a space dominated by the California Chamber of Commerce, various local/regional business chambers and roundtables, not to mention specific sectors that dwarf golf in economic reach and impact. However, it often makes sense to support the efforts of these larger entities through membership in their ranks or as part of large diverse coalitions, so long as the effort doesn’t otherwise detract from the game’s greater framing and positioning strategies.

Archived Updates

Opposition to Assembly Bill 1910

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CGCOA Golf is Good Ambassador Program

Are you interested in becoming an advocate for golf in California? The CGCOA is seeking amateur golfers who are passionate about protecting the game of golf and promoting public policies that enable golf to flourish in California. Take the next step to becoming an advocate for golf by completing the attached Golf is Good Ambassador Application.

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FORE - Public Affairs

FORE - The magazine of the SCGA. Find archived Public Affairs articles on the website of the SCGA's award winning quarterly publication.

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AB 3192 [Muratsuchi; D-Torrance]

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Last Friday was the deadline for the filing of 2024 bills. Because 2024 is the second year of California’s two-year legislative session as well as a presidential election year, there were fewer bills filed this year than last. But that doesn’t mean that there weren’t a lot of filings.

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Of Water, State Budgets, and “Entertainment” Golf

It’s that time of year when we start to pay close heed to the status of the Sierra snowpack upon which so much of Southern California’s water needs continue to depend – a dependence that the region is busy working to reduce in favor of local supplies – e.g., storm water capture, aquifer replenishment, traditional recycling (non-potable), potable reuse, and desalination.

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Back in early October we reported that the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) was set to hold its first public hearing on the Proposed Rule it published August 18 to effectuate what the Governor and others had termed “Making Conservation a California Way of Life.”

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This is our Holiday message, and it is one of optimism. Yes, some of the challenges are daunting. But golf has proven over and over again that if it will organize itself around its many strengths, tackle the arduous work of communicating those strengths to all who will listen, and never succumb to cynicism and defeatism, it can not only survive, but thrive.

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Affordable housing a big winner; local control a big loser. What might it mean for golf in California.

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“CalMatters” is a nonprofit, non-partisan state news service that was created a few years ago to do the kind of in-depth journalism once routinely provided by newspapers and periodicals and now provided scantily if at all only by those media organs funded by charitable contributions or substantial enough to sustain deficits.

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