Sacramento Scene, September 2020

By: Matt Patton, CATA Executive Director

Sacramento Scene

The Legislative session came to an end on Monday, August 31, in the early morning hours. Similar to the rest of 2020, the closing day in the capitol was surreal. In the California Senate, only one member of the Republican Caucus was on the floor for the last week. The rest of the Caucus was in quarantine after being exposed to a member with COVID-19. With the majority of the Senate Republicans operating, the pace of remote proceedings slowed significantly. Just like all virtual meetings, issues with muting, open mics and lag plagued the session. Tempers flared at numerous points in the session. The virtual participants were switched from open mics to moderated mics, requiring members to “virtually raise their hand” to have their mics unmuted from the Senate Chamber.  

Most of the bills that were passed the last evening of session centered around tenant eviction relief, police reform, COVID-19 regulations, exemptions from AB-5, flavored tobacco and wild fire bills.

The following California bills related to education that were processed the last month of the session:

  • AB-1384 – COVID Liability Limitations for School Districts – Bill failed to get out of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
  • AB-1460 – CSU Ethnic Studies Graduation requirement for the freshman class of 2021-22. Bill was signed into law.
  • AB-331 – High School Ethnic Studies graduation requirement for the class of 2030. Bill is awaiting the Governor’s signature.

The following are federal bills that relate to agricultural education in California:

  • H.R. 7745 – Protecting Fairs During COVID Act – $5 billion for fair funding for 2020 and 2021
  • H.R. 7883 – Agricultural Fairs Rescue Act – $500 million for fair funding for 2020

Click on the links below to support these federal bills to bring COVID relief to California Fairs and Expositions;

Need Help Finding your Representatives? Please use these resources listed below:

Cal Ag Plates “Everyone Give One”

Since its inception, the Cal Ag Plate program has generated over $1.5 million that goes directly to FFA student programs. These funds directly reduced the cost for students and increased access. These funds were used in 2019 and 2020 to fund the following initiatives:

  • AET Recordbooks = $95,285
  • Advanced Leadership Academy Conference (ALA) = $3,840
  • CalAgEd Website = $21,000
  • Greenhand Conference (GLC) = $4,275
  • FFA Promotions/State Conference posters, programs, videos = $33,500
  • Sacramento Leadership Experience = $27,955

CATA members made this program happen by giving away 7,500 plates five years ago. This program would not be a reality without us. The program needs CATA once again. The number of plates has fallen below the 7,500 threshold, and more plates need to be on the road to sustain the program. If each CATA member gave away one plate annually, we could maintain and grow the program indefinitely. Please help by clicking on this link to get the form filled out, signed, and mailed back to the FFA Center. California FFA will purchase the plate, and you will help FFA students statewide for years to come. It would benefit our students if we all had plates on our cars, trucks and trailers. Click on the download button below to fill out the form.

The recent California fires have impacted many of the students, teachers and communities of agriculture education. Our hearts and thoughts go out to those individuals dealing with yet another challenge in 2020. The California Teachers Association has set up a Disaster Relief Fund to assist members in the wildfires’ wake. Click Here for more information.

I have virtually attended dozens of Sectional CATA meetings over the last several weeks. I am continuously amazed by your resilience, professionalism, creativity and dedication to students. Ag students need their Ag teachers more than ever as they struggle for a reason to connect to school and stay motivated to learn. The additional hours to create engaging and exciting lessons in a two-dimensional world do pay off. In my cooperating teacher’s immortal words, “thank you for what you do for kids.”

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Matt Patton, Executive Director, California Agricultural Teachers’ Assn.mpatton@calagteachers.org209 744-1605

For more information about the California Agricultural Teachers’ Association, visit

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