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Bob Larson Slave Labor-Human Trafficking Bill Pt 3
by Bob Larson, click here for bio

Program: Fruit Grower Report
Date: March 01, 2019

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With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. More legislative shots are being taken at Washington agriculture, the latest, a Senate bill requiring certain ag employers to report any incidents of slavery and human trafficking.

The Washington Policy Center’s Pam Lewison says there are a few who’ll cheat the system in some ways, but ‘come on’ …

LEWISON … “Are there instances where people cut corners and hire people illegally and maybe not pay them what they should have? Absolutely! And, those are things that need to be corrected under the auspices of the laws that we have in place. But I don’t recall, right off hand, if there has been any instances where there was a human trafficking ring amongst an orchard that got caught and subsequent prosecution.”

Lewison says it’s just more anti-ag legislation …

LEWISON … “I think it falls in the same vein as a lot of the other legislation this session where they’re really trying to target ag and target it in a negative way, you know, as being an industry that somehow is profiting off of the backs of other people’s labor without just compensation.”

She says ag, for whatever reason, is a target …

LEWISON … “I think it goes back to kind of the same thing over again, that somehow ag is taking advantage of people and I don’t think that that’s an accurate depiction of the ag industry. There’s always going to be outliers, but I think that, by and large, if you are employed in an ag industry the farmers and ranchers who hired you are grateful to have you and they’re doing what they can for you.”

Senate Bill 5693 has been endorsed, in a party-line vote, by Democrats on the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee.

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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