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Bob Larson Slave Labor-Human Trafficking Bill Pt 2
by Bob Larson, click here for bio

Program: Fruit Grower Report
Date: February 28, 2019

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With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. A Senate bill would require Washington dairy farmers and fruit growers to report to retailers whether or not they use slave labor or human trafficking.

Unaware that slave labor and/or human trafficking was a problem in the ag industry, the Washington Policy Center’s Pam Lewison says you need to read through the bill to understand who it’s aimed at …

LEWISON … “The new definition in the substitute bill for agricultural products lists out that it’s targeting production in cocoa, dairy, coffee, sugar, and fruit. So, to my knowledge, three of those products are not generally commercially grown in Washington. So, what we’re really talking about is targeting dairy labor and fruit labor.”

Lewison says the term “fruit grower” covers a broad territory in Washington’s ag sector…

LEWISON … “So, I think that it’s something that needs to be on the industry radar because the penalty for this has also been changed a little bit. If you don’t follow the recording measures as a retailer, lined out in this legislation, you’re opening yourself up to a civil suit filed through the Attorney General’s office. And, the penalty for that, if you’re found guilty of being in violation of this law, is anywhere from $500 to $7,000 per violation that is levied against you.”

The A.G. could sue farmers or retailers for failing to report, respond to or publicize any citations or court rulings.

The Senate Labor and Commerce Committee’s Democratic majority recommended Senate Bill 5693 to the full Senate.

Tune in tomorrow for more.

See Lewison’s blog post on this legislation at the WPC website:

https://www.washingtonpolicy.org/publications/detail/sb-5693-is-unfair-because-it-would-make-farmers-other-rural-employers-guilty-until-proven-innocent

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