Governor Signs Assemblymember Robert Rivas’ Landmark Farmworker Housing Act of 2019

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Governor Newsom has signed AB 1783, the Farmworker Housing Act of 2019, authored by Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D-Hollister) to provide quality, dignified housing for farmworkers in California.

“This is a momentous victory for farmworkers who, together with our family farmers, work to bring the freshest produce to market and help feed the entire country,” stated Rivas. “I thank Governor Newsom for standing up for the needs of farmworkers and their families. This historic new law helps both farmworkers and farmers by addressing the tremendous need for construction of farmworker housing throughout California.”

AB 1783, the Farmworker Housing Act of 2019, creates an opt in, new streamlined process—cutting through red tape—to build housing on surplus agricultural land, sets quality standards to ensure that the new housing is dignified and family friendly, and puts safeguards in place to protect the environment. AB 1783 focuses state financial support for farmworker housing that is dignified, permanent and family oriented, rather than for a temporary guest worker program.

Civil rights icon Dolores Huerta hailed the passage of AB 1783 as a milestone in farmworker rights: “History has been made and I commend Assemblyman Robert Rivas, the son of farmworkers, for working to build more housing for the people who feed us. This new law is a major victory for farmworkers and farmers – who desperately need quality housing for our workers.”

“The hardworking farmworkers who feed our families are facing a housing crisis—without access to safe, affordable, and dignified places to call home," said former Obama Administration Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro. “I was proud to join Rep. Rivas in supporting California’s farmworkers, and thank Governor Newsom for being a partner in this effort.”

“AB 1783 gives California a new tool to build more farm worker housing for families,” says United Farm Worker President Teresa Romero. “While federal policy has increasingly sought to tear immigrant farm worker families apart and discriminate against women, AB 1783 will support farm worker families staying together and bend the arc of morality towards supporting women working in the fields. Farm workers thank Assemblymember Robert Rivas, the California Legislature and Governor Newsom for taking this important step to bring farm worker housing into the 21st century.”

“I thank Gov. Newsom for signing AB 1783 into law, which will combat the ways in which our state’s housing crisis affects one of California’s most vulnerable communities: our resident farmworkers,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis. “AB 1783 will provide more affordable housing for farmworker families. The 800,000 people who work our fields and drive our state’s agricultural economy deserve dignified, clean housing. I congratulate Assemblyman Robert Rivas for his leadership in authoring this seminal bill. As the son and grandson of UFW members, Assemblyman Rivas has not forgotten his roots, and I commend him on his public service.”