Two new Arizona laws will prevent legislators from plundering funds generated by growers to fight pests and improve food safety, preventing the money from being shifted to offset state budget shortfalls.
House Bill 2340 and Senate Bill 1233 were signed into law in early April by Ariz. Governor Jan Brewer, and agricultural leaders said the two laws should prevent industry funds from being used for unrelated budget items.
“These dollars are intended for farmers and raised by farmers. The money shouldn’t be used to fill budget gaps to further irresponsible decisions,” Ariz. Sen. Don Shooter, R-Yuma, said in a news release from Irvine, Calif.-based Western Growers. Members of the group are from California and Arizona.
“This legislation now makes it a law that agricultural trust funds are used for their intended purpose — to benefit agriculture” Shooter said. “I told the boys in Phoenix, you guys call them ‘fund sweeps,’ but in Yuma we call that stealing,” he said in the release.
The laws protect the Iceberg Lettuce Research Fund; the Citrus, Fruit and Vegetable Revolving Fund; the Arizona Leafy Greens Food Safety Committee fund and others, according to the release.