Hurtado Releases Statement After the Farmworkers Drought Resilience Pilot Project Passes Senate Human Services 4-1
Media Contact: Michelle.Sherwood@sen.ca.gov
SACRAMENTO, CA – Today, Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) released the following statement when her bill, Senate Bill 1066—the Farmworker’s Drought Resilience Pilot Project passed the Senate Human Services Committee 4-1:
“The drought our state continues to struggle through has overwhelmingly hurt California’s farms and farmworkers in ways we have not seen before,” said Senator Hurtado. “This drought has caused significant losses to our economy—in 2021, the drought caused $1.2 billion in damage to the agriculture industry, and a loss of over 8,500 jobs. Such dramatic losses and impacts have led me to the conclusion, that this is a time for drastic action, in order to support the state’s farms and farmworkers. SB 1066 will provide much needed help, and assistance to those struggling to feed their families, in an environment of increasingly rising food costs and uncertainty. Supporting our farmworkers is just the tip of the iceberg; we need to provide additional drought relief and ensure water is available for homes, and for health, and that it is truly available to all.”
“The California drought is affecting the lives of Farmworkers by decreasing their hours of work on a yearly basis,” said Hernan Hernandez, Executive Director, California Farmworker Foundation. “Farmworkers now have to choose between putting food on their tables and paying rent, as there is less work in agriculture because of the lack of water in the Central Valley. SB 1066 will bring much needed relief to Farmworkers and their families, by providing them with immediate assistance to continue to live under the current changes in climate.”
Senate Bill 1066 will create a state-funded supplemental pay program that will provide cash assistance to eligible farmworkers. In order to be eligible, at least one member of the household must be a California resident, at least one member of the household must have worked as a farmworker for the entire period from March 11, 2020 until January 1, 2022. The household also must have received benefits under the CalFresh program or the California Food Assistance Program, or would have been eligible to receive benefits under either program for the entire period beginning March 11, 2020, to January 1, 2022, but for the immigration status of one or more members of the household.
Last session, Senator Hurtado introduced Senate Bill 464, the Comida Para Todos (Food for All Act.) This bill will provide greater food security to low-income immigrant workers by expanding eligibility for state funded nutrition benefits to anyone ineligible for CalFresh due solely to their immigration status. The bill received implementation funding in the 2021-2022 State Budget.
About Senator Melissa Hurtado
Senator Melissa Hurtado represents a new generation of Latina leaders as the youngest woman ever elected to the California State Senate and a product of immigrant parents. Senator Hurtado represents the 14th Senate District and focuses on rural community issues that often go unheard — access to clean air and water, food insecurity and poverty, inequities in environmental policies, agriculture and access to health care. In July 2020, she was appointed to the national Biden Latino Leadership Committee alongside former Labor Secretary and current Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis – the only two California Latinas on the Committee.