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AB-1419 Pesticides: penalties for violations: civil penalty.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 01/10/2018 09:00 PM
AB1419:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  January 10, 2018
Amended  IN  Assembly  September 13, 2017

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 1419


Introduced by Assembly Member Quirk

February 17, 2017


An act to amend Section Sections 12997 and 12997.5 of, and to add Section 12999.6 to, the Food and Agricultural Code, relating to pesticides.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1419, as amended, Quirk. Pesticides: penalties for violations: civil penalty.
Existing law provides that every person who violates a provision of law relating to pesticides, or any regulation issued pursuant thereto, is guilty of a misdemeanor. In lieu of seeking prosecution for a misdemeanor, existing law authorizes the Director of Pesticide Regulation to prosecute a violation civilly, as specified. In lieu of a civil prosecution by the director, existing law authorizes the county agricultural commissioner to levy a civil penalty against a person violating specified provisions of law relating to pest control operations, pesticides, pesticides and worker safety, use of restricted materials, use of an unregistered pesticide, carbon monoxide pest control devices, structural pest control devices, or regulations adopted pursuant to these provisions.
This bill would provide that, if the director determines that violations of those specified provisions have been committed in multiple jurisdictions, are not appropriate matters to be enforced by a county agricultural commissioner, or involve a priority investigation involving human or environmental health effects, as defined, or are not appropriate to be enforced by a county agricultural commissioner for specified reasons, the director may levy a civil penalty of up to $25,000 for each violation in accordance with specified procedural and other requirements, or may refer any of those violations to the proper enforcement agency, including the district attorney of the county in which the violations occurred or the Attorney General. The bill would apply only to violations that occur on or after January 1, 2019.
The bill would also make a conforming change. changes.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 12997 of the Food and Agricultural Code is amended to read:

12997.
 In lieu of seeking prosecution of any violation of this division as a misdemeanor, and the penalty prescribed in Section 12996, the director may prosecute civilly pursuant to Sections 12998 and 12999, or may levy civil penalties pursuant to Section 12999.4 or 12999.6, or the commissioner may levy civil penalties pursuant to Section 12999.5.

SEC. 2.

 Section 12997.5 of the Food and Agricultural Code is amended to read:

12997.5.
 (a) In addition to any penalties paid in connection with an enforcement action taken pursuant to Sections 12996, 12997, 12999, and 12999.5, and 12999.6, any person who is found in violation of any provision of this division related to pesticides or any regulation related to pesticides adopted pursuant to this division that results in illness or injury requiring emergency medical transport or immediate medical treatment of any individual in a nonoccupational setting from any pesticide used in the production of an agricultural commodity, shall be liable to the individual harmed or to the medical provider for the immediate costs of uncompensated medical care from acute injuries and illnesses of the exposed individual.
(b) Any order issued in connection with a finding of a violation as described in subdivision (a) shall include the obligation to reimburse medical costs from acute illnesses and injuries of any individual requiring immediate medical treatment as a consequence of this violation to the injured individuals or their medical providers.
(c) Any person found in violation of this section shall submit to the director within 30 days of the final determination of liability, a written plan on how they will pay individuals and medical providers for the emergency medical transport and the immediate medical costs from acute medical injuries and illnesses of all individuals requiring immediate medical treatment as a consequence of the violation. A person alleged to have violated subdivision (a) may voluntarily submit a written plan pursuant to this section prior to the determination of liability. The contents of the voluntary plan shall not be held against the person in any action to determine whether the person violated those provisions.
(d) Any violation of this section shall be subject to the criminal and civil sanctions and penalties set forth in this division.
(e) Payment of emergency medical costs pursuant to this section shall not preclude an affected person from filing a civil action for injuries, illnesses, or costs related to the incident. Any damage award associated with a civil action related to the incident shall be reduced by the amount the plaintiff received from this section.
(f) Payment of emergency medical costs pursuant to this section shall not be held against the person in any action to determine whether the person violated those provisions.
(g) For any person who provides for the immediate reimbursement of medical costs for acute medical illnesses and injuries prior to a final determination by the department, the director or agricultural commissioner may reduce, by not more than 50 percent, the fines imposed pursuant to Section 12996.5. This reduction shall not limit the responsible party’s financial obligation under this section. The department or agricultural commissioner shall attempt to complete the determination within 45 days of the incident.

SEC. 2.SEC. 3.

 Section 12999.6 is added to the Food and Agricultural Code, to read:

12999.6.
 (a) The director may initiate and maintain enforcement actions for violations as described in subdivision (b) and levy the civil penalty described in subdivision (b), or may refer any of those violations to the proper enforcement agency, including the district attorney of the county in which the violations occurred or the Attorney General.
(b) If the director determines that violations of the statutes and implementing regulations set forth in Section 12999.5 have been committed in multiple jurisdictions, are not appropriate matters to be enforced by a commissioner, or involve a priority investigation involving human or environmental health effects, as defined in the 2005 Cooperative Agreement, or subsequent modifications to that agreement, among the Department of Pesticide Regulation, the California Agricultural Commissioners and Sealers Association, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9, or are not appropriate to be enforced by a commissioner because the county lacks resources to pursue the violation, county enforcement would raise a conflict of interest, the violator is located outside of the county, or the county has determined that the violation is not appropriate to be enforced by the county, the director may take the appropriate action as authorized by subdivision (a). The director may levy a civil penalty of not more than twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) for each violation. The department may adopt regulations to enforce this section.
(c) Before a civil penalty is levied, the person charged with the violation shall be given a written notice of the proposed action, including the nature of the violation and the amount of the proposed penalty, and shall have the right to request a hearing within 20 days after receiving notice of the proposed action. A notice of the proposed action that is sent by certified mail to the last known address of the person charged shall be considered received even if delivery is refused or the notice is not accepted at that address. If a hearing is requested, notice of the time and place of the hearing shall be given at least 10 days before the date set for the hearing. Before the hearing, the person shall be given an opportunity to review the director’s evidence. At the hearing, the person shall be given the opportunity to present evidence on his or her own behalf. If a hearing is not timely requested, the director may take the action proposed without a hearing.
(d) If the person against whom the director levied a civil penalty requested and appeared at a hearing, the person may seek judicial review of the director’s decision within 30 days of the date of the decision pursuant to Section 1094.5 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
(e) After exhaustion of the review procedure provided in this section, the director, or his or her representative, may file a certified copy of a final decision of the director that directs the payment of a civil penalty and, if applicable, any order that denies a petition for writ of administrative mandamus, with the clerk of the superior court of any county. Judgment shall be entered immediately by the clerk in conformity with the decision or order. No fees shall be charged by the clerk of the superior court for the performance of any official service required in connection with the entry of judgment pursuant to this section. Pursuant to Section 6103 of the Government Code, the clerk of the superior court shall not charge a fee for the performance of any official service required in connection with the entry of judgment pursuant to this section.
(f) Any money recovered under this section shall be paid to the investigating commissioner to reimburse the cost of the investigation with the remainder going into the Department of Pesticide Regulation Fund for use by the department, upon appropriation, in administering this division and Division 6 (commencing with Section 11401).
(g) This section shall apply only to violations that occur on or after January 1, 2019.