More than 25 CGA retail and supplier members gathered in Sacramento on Wednesday (2/20) to meet with California’s recently elected legislators and establish working relationships with the largest “Freshman Class” of lawmakers in recent history.
The one-day event, dubbed “Hike the Hill,” allowed industry executives to meet with newly elected legislators and their staff and educate them on key grocery related issues prior to bill packages being set.
“Nearly one-third of the Legislature is brand new,” said CGA President Ron Fong. “CGA believed it was critical these ‘Freshmen’ legislators heard directly from our industry as to the impact our industry has in their districts.”
CGA members first met with CGA’s government relations staff and were briefed on key legislation related to the grocery industry and protocol when meeting with legislators. Attendees spent the bulk of the day in the State Capitol meeting either directly with legislators or their staff.
USDA Undersecretary Addresses Attendees
In addition to their visits, attendees heard from U.S. Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Kevin Concannon who provided an update on the current moratorium on the issuance of new Women, Infants and Children (WIC) licenses. The Undersecretary said that while the state does a good job on the clinical side of WIC, “they have failed on the administrative side.”
Nearly one-sixth of WIC households in the United States reside in California.
“The state hasn’t paid close attention and some small stores, just one very small slice of the whole range of vendors, have been grossly overcharging and using all types of gimmicks,” he said. “Unfortunately to deal with this problem a moratorium was placed on any new store coming in.”
The Undersecretary is in California meeting with state officials to work on resolving this issue. Other concerns include the state not hiring a WIC director and not hiring additional personnel, despite the funding coming from the federal level.
To see the event in photographs, click here.