Farm workers and supporters gathered in Washington on Thursday to urge lawmakers to pass a bill that would boost the salaries of farm workers and farm stand workers, who are among the hardest-hit by the state’s ongoing wildfires.
In the first day of the legislative session, lawmakers in both chambers passed a bill allowing the state to pay workers on the National Guard, which has been operating under a state-imposed curfew.
The bill would also provide incentives to companies that hire and fire farm workers.
The farm bill also provides a $300 million incentive for farmers to fire fire the remaining fire fighters on their farms.
It also extends an incentive to counties to hire up to 25 more fire fighters, and it would increase the minimum pay for farm workers to $10.50 an hour.
In recent weeks, the number of fires has grown rapidly, prompting a state of emergency.
The fires have also killed at least 30 people.
The governor and some of his Democratic allies have pushed for a law to increase the compensation of farmworkers.
State Rep. Mark W. Williams, who represents the rural counties of Alameda, Oakland, Sacramento and Merced, said the bill was critical to the recovery.
“The farmers are the ones who need the most help,” he said.
“It’s the firefighters that are getting paid, and I think that’s a good thing.”
Williams said he hopes to vote on the bill later this week.
He said the legislation is an effort to “set the record straight” after several weeks of false statements and misinformation.
“The farmers, they’re the ones that get hammered the hardest, and we want to make sure that we’re getting the facts,” he added.
Williams is a member of the House Agriculture Committee, and he said he is committed to working with other lawmakers on the issue.
He said the farm bill is needed because farmers “are the ones most in need” of a new incentive.
“We’re working on a new bill that will give farmers an incentive, a salary boost,” Williams said.
Congress has also passed a farm bill, which provides the National Guardsmen with a minimum of $2,500 a month for the first year of their service.
The legislation would also give a $1,000 bonus to every firefighter hired.
The National Guard has been on standby for about a month in the fire-ravaged area, with thousands of people staying home.