Dodd's Napa Farmworker Housing Bill Passes Legislature

Thursday, June 29 2017

SACRAMENTO, CA – The state Legislature passed a bill by Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa) aimed at bolstering funds for Napa County’s farmworker housing centers. Co-authored by Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters), this legislation allows grapegrowers to increase their self-assessment fee to help bolster funds for farmworker housing.

“Our farmworkers in Napa County are vital to our local economy,” said Senator Dodd. “Providing suitable farmworker housing is essential, and I’m grateful to my colleagues in the Legislature that came together to pass this measure with bipartisan support. Coupled with the support we secured for farmworker housing in the state budget, this bill will help make a difference for our farmworkers in Napa.”

Dodd and Aguiar-Curry helped secure $250,000 to support farmworker housing in Napa in the state budget that Governor Brown signed earlier this week. Napa County’s farmworker housing program provides 180 affordable beds for farmworkers and has been lauded for its innovative model. Grapegrowers have helped fund the centers through a 2002 state law that authorizes them to impose a fee of up to $10 for each acre of planted vineyards. The three farmworker housing centers are run through a partnership with the county and the nonprofit California Human Development Corporation.

“I am excited to partner with Senator Dodd on this legislation, and grateful for the Legislature’s support for Napa’s farmworkers,” said Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry. “The Napa agricultural region is a prime example of how our industry and workers can successfully partner together, and I am hopeful that this innovative farmworker housing model can eventually become the gold standard statewide.”

Currently, the centers run with an annual deficit, which the county has helped bridge through its budget reserves. Senate Bill 240 would allow Napa County grapegrowers to increase their annual assessment from $10 to $15 per acre. The bill seeks to increase the cap because of the rising costs to maintain the centers and is supported by the County of Napa, Napa County Farm Bureau, Napa Valley Grapegrowers, Napa Valley Vintners and Winegrowers of Napa County. The Governor will have 12 days after receiving the bill to sign or veto it.

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Senator Bill Dodd represents the 3rd Senate District, which includes all or portions of Napa, Sonoma, Solano, Yolo, Sacramento, and Contra Costa Counties. You can learn more about Senator Dodd at www.sen.ca.gov/dodd

Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry represents the 4th Assembly District, which includes all or portions of Napa, Sonoma, Solano, Yolo, Lake, and Colusa Counties. You can learn more about Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry at www.asmdc.org/aguiar-curry.