SACRAMENTO – Today, Senate Bill 224 introduced by Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) passed out of the Assembly Public Safety Committee on a bipartisan vote. SB 224 would create a new category for grand theft of agricultural property and would require that the fines collected be repurposed to current agriculture and rural-based crime prevention programs. SB 224 will now head to the Assembly Appropriations Committee for consideration.
“I want to thank the Assembly Public Safety Committee for understanding the need of this legislation. Agricultural theft is a big deal in California and it hurts our farmers and ranchers when expensive equipment is stolen. We need to help our farmers and this bill is a great start. SB 224 would also help our law enforcement and farmers because the fines collected would go back to support crime prevention programs,” said Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove.
Ann Vassar, a Northern California cattle rancher and retired agricultural teacher testified during the committee hearing about her experience as a victim of agricultural theft.
“As a rancher, this legislation will be helpful and necessary. I’ve been a victim of agricultural theft and the feeling of having equipment stolen is intrusive. I am glad that Senator Grove is taking action to help law enforcement, farmers, and ranchers deal with the growing problem in rural areas. I am happy to support her legislation,” said Ann Vassar.
“Agriculture is the backbone of Tulare County. Our identity is wrapped up in the success of our farmers, ranchers, laborers and everyone else who is involved and impacted by Ag. When our partners in Agriculture are victimized, we are all victimized. People lose jobs. Prices go up. Livelihoods are lost. I, personally, cannot stand back and watch that happen. Senate Bill 224 is a necessary step forward in much-needed legislation to protect our growers. And I hope our legislators can recognize its importance. It is long overdue,” said Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux.