State Sen. Bill Monning (D-Carmel) wanted to give agricultural workers a hand in collecting back wages and penalties owed by state-licensed farm labor contractors.
During recent bill hearings, Monning explained that some California farm labor contractors have fraudulently dissolved and moved their assets to new corporations. Actual farmworkers owed back wages by these dissolved contractors were left with nobody to file a claim against.
“This measure is modeled after previous legislation in the garment manufacturing and car wash industries to address fraudulent successor business scams,” Monning said Aug. 14. “The workers most affected and victimized by such unscrupulous practices are farmworkers.”
Senate Bill 168 would hold successor corporations liable for debts held by businesses reorganized under or acquired by that company. After clearing the California Assembly on Aug. 26, SB 168 made its final pass through the Senate floor on Aug. 30. The bill now awaits a signature from Gov. Jerry Brown.
The final floor votes over SB 168 split cleanly along party lines. Republican lawmakers opposed the bill because they say it would harm California’s $43.5 billion agricultural industry.
Several agricultural lobbies still opposed SB 168 at passage. The California Farm Bureau removed its opposition after recent amendments.