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AB-298 Rural Health Care Equity Program.(2013-2014)

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AB298:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  April 17, 2013
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 19, 2013

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2013–2014 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 298


Introduced by Assembly Member Pan

February 12, 2013


An act to amend Section 12804.9 22877 of, and to add Division 16.2 (commencing with Section 37000) to, the Vehicle Code, relating to vehicles. the Government Code, relating to the Rural Health Care Equity Program.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 298, as amended, Pan. Vehicles: farm vehicles: federal compliance. Rural Health Care Equity Program.
Existing law, until July 3, 2010, or earlier upon a specified finding, established the Rural Health Care Equity Program for the purpose of funding the subsidization and reimbursement of premium costs, deductibles, coinsurance, and other out-of-pocket health care expenses paid by state employees of State Bargaining Unit 5 living in rural areas, as defined. Existing law provided for funding and reimbursement provisions for purposes of the program. Existing law provided that the program would be operative only to the extent that funding was provided in the annual Budget Act or another statute and solely for the benefit of employees of State Bargaining Unit 5.
The bill would reestablish the Rural Health Care Equity Program until January 1, 2015, or to an earlier date upon a specified finding, and would extend the benefits to all employees and annuitants living in rural areas. This bill would provide that the program would be operative only to the extent that funding is provided in the annual Budget Act.

Under existing law, the Department of the California Highway Patrol is required to regulate the safe operation of certain vehicles, including specified commercial motor vehicles, and adopt regulations that are designed to promote the safe operation of those vehicles regarding, among other things, controlled substances and alcohol testing of drivers by motor carriers, hours of service of drivers, inspection, and maintenance. Existing law requires that hours-of-service regulations for drivers of those vehicles be consistent with the hours-of-service regulations adopted by the United States Department of Transportation.

Under existing law, a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of less than 26,000 pounds may be operated without a commercial driver’s license under certain circumstances, including when it is operated by a farmer or an employee of a farmer and used exclusively in the conduct of agricultural operations.

Existing federal law, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, defines covered farm vehicles, in part, as vehicles that are operated by farm or ranch owners or operators, transport to or from a farm or ranch agricultural commodities, livestock, machinery, or farm supplies, and may be over 26,000 pounds under certain circumstances. Under existing law, covered farm vehicles, and individuals who operate those vehicles, are exempt from federal requirements relating to commercial driver’s license standards, drug testing, medical certificates, hours of service for drivers, and vehicle inspections, repair, and maintenance, as specified. The act also exempts, during planting and harvest seasons, an individual who is transporting agricultural commodities or farm supplies to locations that are within 150 air miles from the source of those commodities or distribution point of those supplies, as specified, from federal requirements relating to hours of service for those drivers.

This bill would exempt covered farm vehicles, defined pursuant to federal law, from state laws relating to commercial driver’s license standards, drug testing, medical certificates, hours commencing of service for drivers, and vehicle inspections, repair, and maintenance to conform to federal law. This bill would additionally exempt, during planting and harvest seasons, a driver who is transporting agricultural commodities or farm supplies, as specified, from state laws relating to hours of service of drivers to conform to federal law.

Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 22877 of the Government Code is amended to read:

22877.
 (a) As used in this section, the following definitions shall apply:
(1) “Coinsurance” means the provision of a health benefit plan design that requires the health benefit plan and state employee or annuitant to share the cost of hospital or medical expenses at a specified ratio.
(2) “Deductible” means the annual amount of out-of-pocket medical expenses that a state employee or annuitant must pay before the health benefit plan begins paying for expenses.
(3) “Program” means the Rural Health Care Equity Program.
(4) “Rural area” means an area in which there is no board-approved health maintenance organization plan available for enrollment by state employees or annuitants residing in the area.
(b) (1) The Rural Health Care Equity Program is hereby established for the purpose of funding the subsidization and reimbursement of premium costs, deductibles, coinsurance, and other out-of-pocket health care expenses paid by eligible employees or annuitants living in rural areas that would otherwise be covered if the state employee or annuitant was enrolled in a board-approved health maintenance organization plan. The program shall be administered by the Department of Personnel Administration Human Resources or by a third-party administrator approved by the Department of Personnel Administration Human Resources in a manner consistent with all applicable state and federal laws. The board shall determine the rural area for each subsequent fiscal year, at the same time that premiums for health maintenance organization plans are approved.
(2) Separate accounts shall be maintained within the program for all of the following:
(A) Employees, as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 3513.
(B) Excluded employees, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 3527.
(C) State annuitants.
(c) Moneys in the program shall be allocated to the respective accounts as follows:
(1) The contribution provided by the state with respect to each employee, as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 3513, who lives in a rural area and is otherwise eligible, shall be an amount determined through the collective bargaining process.
(2) The contribution provided by the state with respect to each excluded employee, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 3527, who lives in a rural area and is otherwise eligible, shall be an amount equal to, but not to exceed, the amount contributed pursuant to paragraph (1).
(3) The contribution provided by the state with respect to each state annuitant who lives in a rural area, is not a Medicare participant, resides in California, and is otherwise eligible, shall be an amount not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500).
(4) The contribution provided by the state with respect to each annuitant who lives in a rural area, resides in California, participates in a supplemental Medicare health benefit plan, and is otherwise eligible, shall be an amount equal to the Medicare Part B premiums incurred by the annuitant, not to exceed seventy-five dollars ($75) per month. The program may not reimburse for penalty amounts.

(3)

(5) If an eligible employee enters or leaves service with the state during a fiscal year, contributions for the employee shall be made on a pro rata basis. A similar computation shall be used for anyone entering or leaving the bargaining unit, including a person who enters State Bargaining Unit 5 by promotion during a fiscal year.
(d) Each fund of the State Treasury, other than the General Fund, shall reimburse the General Fund for any sums allocated pursuant to subdivision (c) for employees whose compensation is paid from that fund. That reimbursement shall be accomplished using the following methodology:
(1) On or before December 1 of each year, the Department of Personnel Administration Human Resources shall provide a list of active state employees who participated in the program during the previous fiscal year to each employing department.
(2) On or before January 15 of each year, each department that employed an active state employee identified by the Department of Personnel Administration Human Resources as a participant in the program shall provide the Department of Personnel Administration Human Resources with a list of the funds used to pay each employee’s salary, along with the proportion of each employee’s salary attributable to each fund.
(3) Using the information provided by the employing departments, the Department of Personnel Administration Human Resources shall compile a list of program payments attributable to each fund. On or before February 15 of each year, the Department of Personnel Administration Human Resources shall transmit this list to the Department of Finance.
(4) The Department of Finance shall certify to the Controller the amount to be transferred from the unencumbered balance of each fund to the General Fund.
(5) The Controller shall transfer to the General Fund from the unencumbered balance of each impacted fund the amount specified by the Department of Finance.
(6) To ensure the equitable allocation of costs, the Director of the Department of Personnel Administration Human Resources or the Director of Finance may require an audit of departmental reports.
(e) For any sums allocated pursuant to subdivision (c) for annuitants, funds, other than the General Fund, shall be charged a fair share of the contribution provided by the state in accordance with the provisions of Article 2 (commencing with Section 11270) of Chapter 3 of Part 1 of Division 3. On or before July 31 of each year, the Department of Human Resources shall provide the Department of Finance with the total costs allocated for annuitants in the previous fiscal year. The reported costs may not include expenses that have been incurred but not claimed as of July 31.
(f) Notwithstanding any other law and subject to the availability of funds, moneys within the program shall be disbursed for the benefit of eligible annuitants. The disbursements shall either reimburse the annuitant, if not a Medicare participant, for some or all of the deductible incurred by the annuitant or a family member, not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500) per fiscal year, or reimburse the annuitant, if a Medicare participant, for Medicare Part B premiums incurred by the annuitant, not to exceed seventy-five dollars ($75) per month. The program may not reimburse for penalty amounts. These reimbursements shall be provided by the Department of Human Resources. Notwithstanding any other law, any annuitant who cannot be located within a period of three months and whose disbursement is returned to the Controller as unclaimed is ineligible to participate in the program.

(e)

(g) Notwithstanding any other law and subject to the availability of funds, moneys within the program shall be disbursed for the benefit of eligible employees. The disbursements shall subsidize the preferred provider plan premiums for the employee by an amount equal to the difference between the weighted average of board-approved health maintenance organization premiums and the lowest board-approved preferred provider plan premium available under this part, and reimburse the employee for a portion or all of his or her incurred deductible, coinsurance, and other out-of-pocket health-related expenses that would otherwise be covered if the employee and his or her family members were enrolled in a board-approved health maintenance organization plan. These subsidies and reimbursements shall be provided as determined by the Department of Personnel Administration, Human Resources, which may include, but is not limited to, a supplemental insurance plan, a medical reimbursement account, or a medical spending account plan.

(f)

(h) Subject to subdivision (h), (j), moneys remaining in an account of the program at the end of any fiscal year shall remain in the account for use in subsequent fiscal years, until the account is terminated. Moneys remaining in a program account upon termination, after payment of all expenses and claims incurred prior to the date of termination, shall be deposited in the General Fund.

(g)

(i) The Legislature finds and declares that the program shall be operated for the exclusive benefit of employees of State Bargaining Unit 5. employees, annuitants, and family members.

(h)

(j) This section shall be operative only to the extent that funding is provided in the annual Budget Act or another statute and solely for the benefit of employees of State Bargaining Unit 5. statute.

(i)

(k) This section shall cease to be operative on July 3, 2010, January 1, 2015, or on an earlier date if the board makes a formal determination that health maintenance organization plans are no longer the most cost-effective health benefit plans offered by the board.

(j)Notwithstanding any other law, on and after July 1, 2009, the benefits of the Rural Health Care Equity Program shall be available only to employees in State Bargaining Unit 5, and shall not be available to any other employees. Pursuant to subdivision (f), any moneys that remain in the accounts of the program on July 1, 2009, other than moneys attributable to employees in State Bargaining Unit 5 on that date, shall be deposited in the General Fund. Benefits of the Rural Health Care Equity Program shall cease to be available to employees in State Bargaining Unit 5, on and after July 3, 2010, and any moneys remaining in the accounts of the program shall be deposited in the General Fund.

SECTION 1.Section 12804.9 of the Vehicle Code is amended to read:
12804.9.

(a)(1)The examination shall include all of the following:

(A)A test of the applicant’s knowledge and understanding of the provisions of this code governing the operation of vehicles upon the highways.

(B)A test of the applicant’s ability to read and understand simple English used in highway traffic and directional signs.

(C)A test of the applicant’s understanding of traffic signs and signals, including the bikeway signs, markers, and traffic control devices established by the Department of Transportation.

(D)An actual demonstration of the applicant’s ability to exercise ordinary and reasonable control in operating a motor vehicle by driving it under the supervision of an examining officer. The applicant shall submit to an examination appropriate to the type of motor vehicle or combination of vehicles he or she desires a license to drive, except that the department may waive the driving test part of the examination for any applicant who submits a license issued by another state, territory, or possession of the United States, the District of Columbia, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico if the department verifies through any acknowledged national driver record data source that there are no stops, holds, or other impediments to its issuance. The examining officer may request to see evidence of financial responsibility for the vehicle prior to supervising the demonstration of the applicant’s ability to operate the vehicle. The examining officer may refuse to examine an applicant who is unable to provide proof of financial responsibility for the vehicle, unless proof of financial responsibility is not required by this code.

(E)A test of the hearing and eyesight of the applicant, and of other matters that may be necessary to determine the applicant’s mental and physical fitness to operate a motor vehicle upon the highways, and whether any grounds exist for refusal of a license under this code.

(2)(A)Before a class A or class B driver’s license, or class C driver’s license with a commercial endorsement, may be issued or renewed, the applicant shall have in his or her driver record a valid report of a medical examination of the applicant given not more than two years prior to the date of the application by a health care professional. As used in this paragraph, “health care professional” means a person who is licensed, certified, or registered in accordance with applicable state laws and regulations to practice medicine and perform physical examinations in the United States. Health care professionals are doctors of medicine, doctors of osteopathy, physician assistants, and registered advanced practice nurses, or doctors of chiropractic who are clinically competent to perform the medical examination presently required of motor carrier drivers by the United States Department of Transportation. The report shall be on a form approved by the department. In establishing the requirements, consideration may be given to the standards presently required of motor carrier drivers by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

(B)The department may accept a federal waiver of one or more physical qualification standards if the waiver is accompanied by a report of a nonqualifying medical examination for a class A or class B driver’s license, or class C driver’s license with a commercial endorsement, pursuant to Section 391.41(a)(3)(ii) of Subpart E of Part 391 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

(3)A physical defect of the applicant that, in the opinion of the department, is compensated for to ensure safe driving ability, shall not prevent the issuance of a license to the applicant.

(b)In accordance with the following classifications, an applicant for a driver’s license shall be required to submit to an examination appropriate to the type of motor vehicle or combination of vehicles the applicant desires a license to drive:

(1)Class A includes the following:

(A)Except as provided in subparagraph (H) of paragraph (3), a combination of vehicles, if a vehicle being towed has a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds.

(B)A vehicle towing more than one vehicle.

(C)A trailer bus.

(D)The operation of all vehicles under class B and class C.

(2)Class B includes the following:

(A)Except as provided in subparagraph (H) of paragraph (3), a single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 26,000 pounds.

(B)A single vehicle with three or more axles, except any three-axle vehicle weighing less than 6,000 pounds.

(C)A bus except a trailer bus.

(D)A farm labor vehicle.

(E)A single vehicle with three or more axles or a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 26,000 pounds towing another vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or less.

(F)A house car over 40 feet in length, excluding safety devices and safety bumpers.

(G)The operation of all vehicles covered under class C.

(3)Class C includes the following:

(A)A two-axle vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,000 pounds or less, including when the vehicle is towing a trailer or semitrailer with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or less.

(B)Notwithstanding subparagraph (A), a two-axle vehicle weighing 4,000 pounds or more unladen when towing a trailer coach not exceeding 9,000 pounds gross.

(C)A house car of 40 feet in length or less.

(D)A three-axle vehicle weighing 6,000 pounds gross or less.

(E)A house car of 40 feet in length or less or a vehicle towing another vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or less, including when a tow dolly is used. A person driving a vehicle may not tow another vehicle in violation of Section 21715.

(F)(i)A two-axle vehicle weighing 4,000 pounds or more unladen when towing either a trailer coach or a fifth-wheel travel trailer not exceeding 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight rating, when the towing of the trailer is not for compensation.

(ii)A two-axle vehicle weighing 4,000 pounds or more unladen when towing a fifth-wheel travel trailer exceeding 10,000 pounds, but not exceeding 15,000 pounds, gross vehicle weight rating, when the towing of the trailer is not for compensation, and if the person has passed a specialized written examination provided by the department relating to the knowledge of this code and other safety aspects governing the towing of recreational vehicles upon the highway.

The authority to operate combinations of vehicles under this subparagraph may be granted by endorsement on a class C license upon completion of that written examination.

(G)(i)A vehicle or combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating or a gross vehicle weight rating, as those terms are defined in subdivisions (j) and (k), respectively, of Section 15210, of 26,000 pounds or less, if all of the following conditions are met:

(I)Is operated by a farmer, an employee of a farmer, or an instructor credentialed in agriculture as part of an instructional program in agriculture at the high school, community college, or university level.

(II)Is used exclusively in the conduct of agricultural operations.

(III)Is not used in the capacity of a for-hire carrier or for compensation.

(ii)A covered farm vehicle, as defined in Section 37002.

(H)Firefighting equipment, provided that the equipment is operated by a person who holds a firefighter endorsement pursuant to Section 12804.11.

(I)A motorized scooter.

(J) Class C does not include a two-wheel motorcycle or a two-wheel motor-driven cycle.

(4)Class M1. A two-wheel motorcycle or a motor-driven cycle. Authority to operate a vehicle included in a class M1 license may be granted by endorsement on a class A, B, or C license upon completion of an appropriate examination.

(5)(A)Class M2 includes the following:

(i)A motorized bicycle or moped, or a bicycle with an attached motor, except a motorized bicycle described in subdivision (b) of Section 406.

(ii)A motorized scooter.

(B)Authority to operate vehicles included in class M2 may be granted by endorsement on a class A, B, or C license upon completion of an appropriate examination, except that no endorsement is required for a motorized scooter. Persons holding a class M1 license or endorsement may operate vehicles included in class M2 without further examination.

(c)A driver’s license or driver certificate is not valid for operating a commercial motor vehicle, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 15210, any other motor vehicle defined in paragraph (1) or (2) of subdivision (b), or any other vehicle requiring a driver to hold any driver certificate or any driver’s license endorsement under Section 15275, unless a medical certificate approved by the department that has been issued within two years of the date of the operation of that vehicle and a copy of the medical examination report from which the certificate was issued is on file with the department. Otherwise, the license is valid only for operating class C vehicles that are not commercial vehicles, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 15210, and for operating class M1 or M2 vehicles, if so endorsed, that are not commercial vehicles, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 15210.

(d)A license or driver certificate issued prior to the enactment of Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 15200) is valid to operate the class or type of vehicles specified under the law in existence prior to that enactment until the license or certificate expires or is otherwise suspended, revoked, or canceled. Upon application for renewal or replacement of a driver’s license, endorsement, or certificate required to operate a commercial motor vehicle, a valid medical certificate on a form approved by the department shall be submitted to the department.

(e)The department may accept a certificate of driving skill that is issued by an employer, authorized by the department to issue a certificate under Section 15250, of the applicant, in lieu of a driving test, on class A or B applications, if the applicant has first qualified for a class C license and has met the other examination requirements for the license for which he or she is applying. The certificate may be submitted as evidence of the applicant’s skill in the operation of the types of equipment covered by the license for which he or she is applying.

(f)The department may accept a certificate of competence in lieu of a driving test on class M1 or M2 applications, when the certificate is issued by a law enforcement agency for its officers who operate class M1 or M2 vehicles in their duties, if the applicant has met the other examination requirements for the license for which he or she is applying.

(g)The department may accept a certificate of satisfactory completion of a novice motorcyclist training program approved by the commissioner pursuant to Section 2932 in lieu of a driving test on class M1 or M2 applications, if the applicant has met the other examination requirements for the license for which he or she is applying. The department shall review and approve the written and driving test used by a program to determine whether the program may issue a certificate of completion.

(h)Notwithstanding subdivision (b), a person holding a valid California driver’s license of any class may operate a short-term rental motorized bicycle without taking any special examination for the operation of a motorized bicycle, and without having a class M2 endorsement on that license. As used in this subdivision, “short-term” means 48 hours or less.

(i)A person under the age of 21 years shall not be issued a class M1 or M2 license or endorsement unless he or she provides evidence satisfactory to the department of completion of a motorcycle safety training program that is operated pursuant to Article 2 (commencing with Section 2930) of Chapter 5 of Division 2.

(j)A driver of a vanpool vehicle may operate with a class C license but shall possess evidence of a medical examination required for a class B license when operating vanpool vehicles. In order to be eligible to drive the vanpool vehicle, the driver shall keep in the vanpool vehicle a statement, signed under penalty of perjury, that he or she has not been convicted of reckless driving, drunk driving, or a hit-and-run offense in the last five years.

SEC. 2.Division 16.2 (commencing with Section 37000) is added to the Vehicle Code, to read:
16.2.FARM VEHICLES
37000.

This division may be known and cited as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Conformance Act of 2013.

37001.

The Legislature finds and declares that the purpose of this division is to conform state law with the federal Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (Public Law 112-141), which exempts covered farm vehicles and individuals operating covered farm vehicles from certain provisions of federal law.

37002.

For purposes of this division, a “covered farm vehicle” means a vehicle that meets all of the following criteria:

(a)Is traveling in the state.

(b)Is operated by a farm owner or operator, a ranch owner or operator, or an employee or family member of a farm owner or operator or a ranch owner or operator

(c)Is used to transport to or from a farm or ranch agricultural commodities, livestock, machinery, or supplies.

(d)Is not used in the operations of a for-hire motor carrier, unless the vehicle is operated pursuant to a crop share farm lease agreement, owned by a tenant with respect to that agreement, and transporting the landlord’s portion of the crops under that agreement.

(e)Is equipped with a special license plate pursuant to Section 5014 or is otherwise registered with the state.

(f)Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross vehicle weight, whichever is greater, that is less than 26,001 pounds, unless the vehicle travels solely within the state or travels within 150 air miles of the farm or ranch where the vehicle is being operated.

37003.

A covered farm vehicle, and an individual operating a covered farm vehicle, is exempt from all of the following:

(a)Any state law, including Section 12804.9 and Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 15200) of Division 6, or requirements relating to commercial driver’s license standards that were adopted to conform to Chapter 313 (commencing with Section 31301) of Title 49 of the United States Code and the regulations adopted pursuant to those provisions (Part 383 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations).

(b)Any state law, including Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 15200) of Division 6 and Division 14.8 (commencing with Section 34500), or requirements relating to controlled substances and alcohol use and testing that were adopted to conform to Chapter 313 (commencing with Section 31301) of Title 49 of the United States Code and the regulations adopted pursuant to those provisions (Part 382 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations).

(c)Any state law, including Section 12804.9, or requirements relating to medical certificates and physical qualifications and examinations that were adopted to conform to Subchapter III of Chapter 311 (commencing with Section 31131) and Chapter 313 (commencing with Section 31301) of Title 49 of the United States Code and the regulations adopted pursuant to those provisions (Subpart E of Part 391 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations).

(d)Any state law, including Division 14.8 (commencing with Section 34500), or requirements relating to hours of service of drivers that were adopted to conform to Subchapter III of Chapter 311 (commencing with Section 31131) and Chapter 315 (commencing with Section 31501) of Title 49 of the United States Code and the regulations adopted pursuant to those provisions (Part 395 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations), as those regulations now exist or are hereafter amended.

(e)Any state law, including Division 14.8 (commencing with Section 34500), or requirements relating to vehicle inspection, repair, and maintenance that were adopted to conform to Subchapter III of Chapter 311 (commencing with Section 31131) and Chapter 315 (commencing with Section 31501) of Title 49 of the United States Code and the regulations adopted pursuant to those provisions (Part 396 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations).

37004.

(a)A driver of a vehicle that does not meet the conditions in Section 37003 is, during planting and harvest seasons, exempt from any state law, including Division 14.8 (commencing with Section 34500), relating to hours of service of drivers used by motor carriers that were adopted to conform to Section 31136 or 31502 of Title 49 of the United States Code and the regulations adopted pursuant to those provisions (Part 395 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations), if one of the following conditions is met:

(1)The driver is transporting agricultural commodities from the source of the agricultural commodities to a location within a 150 air-mile radius from the source.

(2)The driver is transporting farm supplies for agricultural purposes from the wholesale or retail distribution point of the farm supplies to a farm or other location where the farm supplies are intended to be used within a 150 air-mile radius from the distribution point.

(3)The driver is transporting farm supplies for agricultural purposes from a wholesale distribution point of the farm supplies to a retail distribution point of the farm supplies within a 150 air-mile radius from the wholesale distribution point.

(b)The Secretary of Food and Agriculture shall publish a planting and harvest season for each agricultural commodity grown in the state. Subdivision (a) shall not be effective until the secretary has published a planting and harvest season for that commodity.