Hello everybody!
 
I have two exciting pieces of news on the farmworker legislation front - both national and local.
 
The Compromise Immigration Bill for Farmworkers
 
First, on the national immigration front, the compromise legalization bill between the United Farm Workers and major growers has been introduced in Congress.
 
The bi-partisan bill, known as AgJOBS, would grant undocumented farmworkers temporary residence (and their families protection against deportation), and allow those who continue to work in agriculture for a minimum number of days over 3-6 years to "earn" permanent residency (for themselves and their immediate family members). This being a compromise bill, though, concessions were made to the growers, including a streamlining of the process for employers to hire "guest workers" under the H-2A visa program.
 
The bill would provide security for about farmworkers and stability for the industry. About 500,000 farmworkers nationally could earn legalization under the program.
 
Although the bill has broad bi-partisan support (in addition to farmworker advocates, the Florida Agriculture Commissioner has endorsed it as well as a number of industry groups), it is important to contact our representatives in Congress to urge their support, particularly members of the Republican Party representing districts on the Gulf Coast and in Central and Northern Florida.
 
For more info on the AgJOBS bill, see http://www.fwjustice.org/LEGISLAT.HTM
 
If you would like hard copy materials on the bill, let me know and I will fax/send those to you.
 
The Pesticide Right to Know Bill
 
On the state front, Representative Peterman has already re-filed the pesticide right to know bill, which would restore the right of Florida farmworkers to receive health and safety information about the pesticides used where they work. For the 2004 session of the Florida Legislature, this is House Bill 39.
 
Now is a great time to contact your state legislators about the right to know bill, particularly any who serve on the House Agriculture Committee. For a list of committee members, go to www.myfloridahouse.com and click on House Committees.
 
All we ask for now of the committee members is that they allow this bill to be heard, and that it be heard early in the session. (The bill must pass through committees it is assigned to before it can reach the floor for a vote. Last year, every committee that heard the bill passed it unanimously, but some committee chairs did not agenda the bill for a hearing and so it was not able to go to a vote.)
 
As you may remember, the pesticide bill was a compromise between farmworker advocates and growers, and was passed unanimously by the Florida legislature in 1994. A few years later it sunset automatically without ever being re-instated. The bill would fill an important gap in current law, which only allows farmworkers access to health and safety info about specific pesticides used where they work after they become sick from pesticide poisoning.
 
Other Florida Farmworker Bills
 
Other bills that affect farmworkers - including last year's slavery bill (a/k/a the grower responsibility bill) - are in the pipeline but have not yet been filed.
 
What You Can Do
 
Please begin to contact your representatives in the Congress and the Florida Legislature about these important issues. Also, if you know of anyone who would like to be added to my legislative updates list, please let me know.
 
Housekeeping
 
If you are receiving these emails more than once (to more than one email address), please let me know which address you would like me to use. If your name is on this list in error and you do not want receive these message, just let me know.
 
Thanks everybody!!
 
-- Tania
 
* * * 
Tania Galloni, Attorney
Migrant Farmworker Justice Project
Florida Legal Services
508 Lucerne Avenue
Lake Worth, FL  33460
tel: (561) 582-3921
fax: (561) 582-4884
I have two exciting pieces of news on the farmworker legislation front - both national and local.
 
The Compromise Immigration Bill for Farmworkers
 
First, on the national immigration front, the compromise legalization bill between the United Farm Workers and major growers has been introduced in Congress.
 
The bi-partisan bill, known as AgJOBS, would grant undocumented farmworkers temporary residence (and their families protection against deportation), and allow those who continue to work in agriculture for a minimum number of days over 3-6 years to "earn" permanent residency (for themselves and their immediate family members). This being a compromise bill, though, concessions were made to the growers, including a streamlining of the process for employers to hire "guest workers" under the H-2A visa program.
 
The bill would provide security for about farmworkers and stability for the industry. About 500,000 farmworkers nationally could earn legalization under the program.
 
Although the bill has broad bi-partisan support (in addition to farmworker advocates, the Florida Agriculture Commissioner has endorsed it as well as a number of industry groups), it is important to contact our representatives in Congress to urge their support, particularly members of the Republican Party representing districts on the Gulf Coast and in Central and Northern Florida.
 
For more info on the AgJOBS bill, see http://www.fwjustice.org/LEGISLAT.HTM
 
If you would like hard copy materials on the bill, let me know and I will fax/send those to you.
 
The Pesticide Right to Know Bill
 
On the state front, Representative Peterman has already re-filed the pesticide right to know bill, which would restore the right of Florida farmworkers to receive health and safety information about the pesticides used where they work. For the 2004 session of the Florida Legislature, this is House Bill 39.
 
Now is a great time to contact your state legislators about the right to know bill, particularly any who serve on the House Agriculture Committee. For a list of committee members, go to www.myfloridahouse.com and click on House Committees.
 
All we ask for now of the committee members is that they allow this bill to be heard, and that it be heard early in the session. (The bill must pass through committees it is assigned to before it can reach the floor for a vote. Last year, every committee that heard the bill passed it unanimously, but some committee chairs did not agenda the bill for a hearing and so it was not able to go to a vote.)
 
As you may remember, the pesticide bill was a compromise between farmworker advocates and growers, and was passed unanimously by the Florida legislature in 1994. A few years later it sunset automatically without ever being re-instated. The bill would fill an important gap in current law, which only allows farmworkers access to health and safety info about specific pesticides used where they work after they become sick from pesticide poisoning.
 
Other Florida Farmworker Bills
 
Other bills that affect farmworkers - including last year's slavery bill (a/k/a the grower responsibility bill) - are in the pipeline but have not yet been filed.
 
What You Can Do
 
Please begin to contact your representatives in the Congress and the Florida Legislature about these important issues. Also, if you know of anyone who would like to be added to my legislative updates list, please let me know.
 
Housekeeping
 
If you are receiving these emails more than once (to more than one email address), please let me know which address you would like me to use. If your name is on this list in error and you do not want receive these message, just let me know.
 
Thanks everybody!!
 
-- Tania
 
* * * 
Tania Galloni, Attorney
Migrant Farmworker Justice Project
Florida Legal Services
508 Lucerne Avenue
Lake Worth, FL  33460
tel: (561) 582-3921
fax: (561) 582-4884