Sacramento, CA – Yesterday, Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters) passed AB 317 out of the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee without any opposition. This happened on the same day that Governor Brown signed the 2017-18 budget, which includes $250,000 for Napa County to support the farmworker housing centers. Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry championed this budget request in combination with her bill to ensure that Napa County’s farmworkers can continue to have access to safe and reliable housing.
“Today has been a big day for us! I am grateful and excited that the Legislature has been supportive of Napa’s farmworker centers thus far,” Aguiar-Curry said after the Senate committee hearing. “This dedicated budget money is only for one year, so let’s celebrate our victory, but continue working towards a long-term funding solution for our Napa farmworker community.”
Napa is currently the only county that provides year-round housing to the region’s agricultural workers without any financial support from the state. The County created an innovative local partnership with the agricultural industry, and workers to ensure that hardworking farmworkers have a dependable and affordable place to live. Unfortunately, the effects of inflation and rising operational costs have forced Napa County to contemplate closing the centers. The funding from AB 317 and the budget is critical to ensuring that the housing centers stay in operation.
“This is a big win for farmworkers in the Napa Valley, the backbone of our renowned wine industry,” said Rex Stults, Government Relations Director for the Napa Valley Vintners. “No other ag region does a better job of taking care of its workers. We offer our sincere appreciation to Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry and Senator Bill Dodd as well.” Stults provided testimony in support of AB 317 with Supervisor Ryan Gregory from Napa County during the committee hearing.
“These centers meet a critical housing need for the entire agricultural region. The general lack of affordable housing has only enhanced the need for these centers,” said Aguiar-Curry. “AB 317 is necessary to support the unique housing program, because the workers these centers house are at the heart of the Napa agricultural community.”
Now that the budget has been signed, final passage of AB 317 represents the last step to securing ongoing funding for these housing centers. The bill now moves on to the Senate Appropriations Committee before being heard on the Senate Floor.
Aguiar-Curry represents the 4th Assembly District, which includes all of Lake and Napa Counties, parts of Colusa, Solano and Sonoma Counties, and all of Yolo County except West Sacramento.