UC Davis students submitted a bill designed to reduce water usage on farms to the California State Assembly on Feb. 22. The bill, AB 1086, was authored and introduced by California Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan in collaboration with students.
The bill would provide grants to farmers who convert to micro-irrigation systems, which are more efficient and sustainable than traditional irrigation methods. Unlike sprinklers, which apply water to the field’s surface, micro-irrigation reduces water waste by directing water to the roots of plants. Micro-irrigation can lower water usage by up to 60 percent and increase crop-yields by 90 percent, according to Bauer-Kahan’s website.
Adam Hatefi, a third-year political science and science and technology studies double major, wrote the language for the agricultural bill. As Chief of Staff for the Office of the External Affairs Vice President (OEAVP), Hatefi reached out to members of the California State Committee on Agriculture in hopes of finding someone willing to author the bill. Hatefi and other bill contributors eventually convinced Bauer-Kahan’s staff to bring AB 1086 to her attention. From there, Bauer-Kahan agreed to author the bill.
AB 1086 was one of 13 bills introduced to the state assembly on Feb. 22 by Bauer-Kahan, a Democrat who represents the 16th Assembly District. Other bills addressed issues of gun and public safety, education and human trafficking. Bauer-Kahan released a statement regarding her 2019 legislative bill package.
“These bills demonstrate my support for my constituents, our students, protecting the environment and our most vulnerable while at the same time promoting fiscal responsibility and transparency in our government,” Bauer-Kahan said.
Moving forward, the bill will enter into a process of hearings and discussions before being voted on. AB 1086 will be seen by a policy committee, go through the House of Origin and the Second House to a third reading stage. Most bills need a majority vote to pass and will eventually need the approval of the governor. If approved, the bill will end up before the Secretary of State to be codified into California law.
Working with a collaborative team of agricultural experts, legislative aids and other students, Hatefi commented on his initial motivation to turn the idea behind this bill into a reality.
“I think one big reason we decided to go with this bill was that we wanted to contribute our part to the green movement,” Hatefi said. “California has been experiencing a water crisis for years now. Our aim here was to address these issues in whatever small way we can and do our part to contribute to the environmental sustainability of our state.”
Students introduced this bill just two weeks after Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. announced plans to create a Green New Deal that will tackle current carbon emissions and address climate change. AB 1086 is a small part of a national movement lead by young people that demands greater focus on the issue of climate change.
“Moving forward, we hope that small changes like this occur throughout the U.S. and that we can all continue to push green legislation across all cities, counties and states,” said Edgar Masias-Malagon, the ASUCD External Affairs Vice President.
Written by: Ally Russell — firstname.lastname@example.org