Today's Law As Amended


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AB-778 Institutional purchasers: purchase of California-grown agricultural food products.(2021-2022)



As Amends the Law Today


SECTION 1.
 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) Over one-third of the country’s vegetables and two-thirds of the country’s fruits and nuts are grown in California. California’s agricultural abundance includes more than 400 commodities. California is the leading state in the nation for cash farm receipts, accounting for over 13 percent of the nation’s total agricultural value.
(b) California is the sole producer (99 percent or more) in the nation of the following crops: almonds, artichokes, dates, figs, garlic, grapes, raisins, kiwi, melons, olives, clingstone peaches, pistachios, rice, and walnuts, and a lead producer in many more agricultural products.
(c) Farmers in this state produce fruits, vegetables, nuts, and meat from animal livestock in accordance with the state’s pesticide, labor, environmental, and minimum wage laws.
(d) Complying with these state laws increases costs but provides real benefits to the health of consumers, to the environment, and to the workers who produce these goods.
(e) On January 25, 2021, President Joe Biden issued an Executive Order on “Ensuring the Future Is Made in All of America by All of America’s Workers” that stated that “It is the policy of my Administration that the United States Government should, consistent with applicable law, use terms and conditions of Federal financial assistance awards and Federal procurements to maximize the use of goods, products, and materials produced in, and services offered in, the United States. The United States Government should, whenever possible, procure goods, products, materials, and services from sources that will help American businesses compete in strategic industries and help America’s workers thrive.”
(f) The Buy American Provision requiring the purchase of domestic commodities by participants in the National School Lunch Program has been in place for 30 years. However, the law allows waivers where the domestic product is priced significantly higher than a nondomestic product. This loophole has resulted in widespread noncompliance with Buy America requirements.
(g) According to figures from the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, 81 percent of the apple juice served in the school lunch program is imported, and 50 to 60 percent of the fish served in schools is “caught by Russian ships and processed in China.”
(h) Competition from nondomestic producers hurts California agriculture and threatens to eliminate the jobs that workers depend on to feed their own families.
(i) Those who rely on publicly purchased nutrition programs, including school nutrition programs, are often among the most vulnerable children and families. They should have access to high-quality, healthy meals, such as those grown, packed, and produced in California.
(j) Purchasing domestic products reduces the carbon footprint and results in lower greenhouse gas emissions. California companies are subject to more rigorous environmental standards, resulting in enhanced food safety and public safety.

SEC. 2.

 Section 58595 of the Food and Agricultural Code is amended to read:

58595.
 (a) (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), all California state-owned or state-run institutions, all segments of public postsecondary education, and all local educational agencies that purchase agricultural food products shall only purchase an agricultural food product that is grown or produced in the state.
(2) (A) A California state-owned or state-run institution, a segment of public postsecondary education, or a local educational agency may purchase an agricultural food product when it is grown or produced outside of the state if the agricultural food product is not currently in season in California and available from an in-state grower or producer, is not grown or produced in the state, or is sold as a canned, dried, frozen, or juice product.
(a) (B)  All California state-owned or state-run institutions, except public universities and colleges and school districts, that solicit An institution that solicits  bids for the purchase of an agricultural product  food product pursuant to this paragraph  shall accept a bid or price for that agricultural food  product when it is grown in California  or produced in this country  before accepting a bid or price for an agricultural food  product that is grown or produced  outside the state, when both of the following are met: country when the bid or price of the domestically grown or produced agricultural food product does not exceed by more than 25 percent the lowest bid or price for an agricultural food product grown or produced outside the country. 
(1) The bid or price of the California-grown agricultural product does not exceed by more than 5 percent the lowest bid or price for an agricultural product produced outside the state.
(2) (b)  The quality of the California-grown agricultural product is comparable to that agricultural produce produced outside the state. This section shall neither limit nor expand California’s obligations under the Agreement on Government Procurement of the World Trade Organization. 
(b) (c)  All  This section does not apply to agricultural food products provided to a  California state-owned or state-run institutions, except public universities and colleges and school districts, that intend to accept a bid or price for agricultural products grown outside the state shall accept the bid or price from a vendor that packs or processes these agricultural products in the state before accepting a bid or price from a vendor that packs or processes these agricultural products outside of the state, when both of the following are met: institution, a segment of public postsecondary education, or a local educational agency by the United States Department of Agriculture through the Foods in Schools program. 
(1) The bid or price of the agricultural product grown outside the state and packed or processed in the state does not exceed by more than 5 percent the lowest bid or price for the agricultural product packed or processed outside the state.
(2) The quality of the agricultural product packed or processed in the state is comparable to those packed or processed outside the state.
(c) (d)  A school district that solicits bids for the purchase of an agricultural product shall accept a bid or price for that agricultural product when it is grown in California before accepting a bid or price for an agricultural product that is grown outside the state, when both of the following are met: The California State Auditor shall investigate violations of this section. 
(e) For purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:
(1) The bid or price of the California-grown agricultural product does not exceed the lowest bid or price for an agricultural product produced outside the state. “Agricultural food product” means a fresh or processed product, including fruits, nuts, vegetables, herbs, mushrooms, dairy, shell eggs, honey, grains, livestock meats, poultry meats, and fish, including shellfish. 
(2) The quality of the California-grown agricultural product is comparable to that agricultural produce produced outside the state. “Local educational agency” has the same meaning as defined in Section 49557.5 of the Education Code. 
(d) (3)  This section shall only apply to a contract to purchase agricultural products for a value that is less than the value of the threshold for supplies and services for which California has obligated itself under the Agreement on Government Procurement of the World Trade Organization. “Segment of public postsecondary education” means a segment of public higher education described in Section 66010 of the Education Code. 
SEC. 3.
 If the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.