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April 19, 2016

WASHINGTON – The House Appropriations Committee accepted an amendment authored by Reps. Sam Farr (D-Calif.) and Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) to prevent horse slaughter in the United States. The bipartisan amendment to the 2017 Agriculture Appropriations bill prevents the Department of Agriculture from using any funds to inspect horse slaughter facilities. Without inspections, these facilities cannot operate in the United States, effectively continuing the ban of horse slaughter. 
“Horse slaughter cannot be done in a safe or humane way,” said Rep. Farr, the top Democrat on the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee. “This amendment prevents the cruel treatment of horses while protecting all consumers from unsafe meat. Horses are routinely treated with drugs not approved for use in animals raised for meat. Continuing the ban prevents those chemicals from entering our food supply.”
Horses have a heightened flight-or-fight response, making them more skittish than other domesticated animals. Due to that nature, the methods used in horse slaughter are often more painful and traumatic for the horse. 
Horse meat is also considered unsafe for human consumption. Since most horses are kept as companion animals instead of food-producing animals, there is no system in place to track their diet, medication and veterinarian treatments. In addition to the direct affect, toxins and chemicals often found in horse meat could potentially contaminate the rest of the food supply, placing all consumers at risk.
Over 80% of American voters are against horse slaughter.  The current ban is set to expire in September but the Farr-Dent Amendment would continue it through the end of FY 2017. The entire Agriculture Appropriations bill, including the horse slaughter amendment, now heads to the House floor.


April 7, 2016
SALINAS, Calif. – Rep. Sam Farr, D-Carmel, announced that Makayla Magdaleno, a sophomore at San Benito High School, is the winner of the 2016 Congressional Art Competition:  An Artistic Discovery. Her winning piece, “Red Sova”, will be displayed in the halls of the Capitol along with other students’ works from across the country.  
“This was my last year hosting the Congressional Art Competition and I continue to be amazed by the works by our local students,” said Rep. Sam Farr. “The arts are an important part of the Central Coast’s identity and it is great to see so many young artists add their passion and talent to that rich tradition.”
Magdaleno will travel to Washington, D.C., courtesy of Southwest Airlines, to be honored at a Congressional reception in June. She also received a $3,000 renewable scholarship from the Savannah College of Art and Design.
Julia Ramos, a senior at Aptos High School, was named the 2nd place winner with her piece “Seeds.” Her artwork will be prominently displayed in the congressman’s Washington office. Alvarez High School senior Jesus Gil was named the third place winner, with “Blue”. His piece will be displayed in the congressman’s Salinas office.
Maya Yokoyama, Aptos High School; Oscar Gonzalez, North Salinas High School; Isabella Arreola, San Benito High School; Meghan Brandt, Georgiana Bruce Kirby and Trinity Esola, Georgiana Bruce Kirby were all selected as Honorable Mentions.
The annual Congressional Art Competition is open to all local high school students in the 20th congressional district. A total of 21 entries were submitted from seven different Central Coast high schools. The entries were judged by Melissa Pickford, Director of the Monterey Peninsula College Art Gallery.
The Artistic Discovery competition encourages and recognizes the rich artistic talents of young Americans. Students are allowed to submit various styles and types of art, ranging from paintings and drawings to photography and mixed media pieces. The winners are determined using criteria based on originality, skill of execution, excellence in use of materials and conceptual strength of the project.
The Congressional Art Competition began in 1982 to provide an opportunity for members of Congress to encourage and recognize the artistic talents of their young constituents. Since then, over 650,000 high school students have been involved with the nation-wide competition.
Last year, Josh Agbayani from Aptos High School, was awarded first place for his entry “Drowning in Beds Unmade.”  
The 2016 Congressional Art Competition winners are:
(Click on the pictures for a high resolution version)

1st Place
Makayla Magdaleno
San Benito High School 
“Red Sova”
2nd Place
Julia Ramos
Aptos High 
3rd Place
Jesus Gil
Everett Alvarez High School 



March 16,2016
Receives unanimous vote in Natural Resources committee
WASHINGTON – The House Natural Resources Committee today unanimously supported legislation to reopen Clear Creek for recreational use. The bipartisan bill, H.R. 1838, the Clear Creek National Recreation Area and Conservation Act was introduced by Congressman Sam Farr, D-Carmel and is cosponsored by Reps. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock and David Valadao, R-Hanford.
“Thanks to the help of Congressmen Denham and Valadao, we were able to win unanimous support for the bill in the Natural Resources committee,” said Rep. Farr. “This is the closest we have ever come to reopening Clear Creek for recreational use and the committee’s support should provide us with the momentum necessary to finally pass the legislation.”
H.R. 1838 directs the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to reopen the 75,000 acre Clear Creak Management Area in San Benito and Fresno counties for public recreational use, including access for off-road vehicles. It would also protect an additional 21,000 acres of BLM land adjacent to Clear Creek as the Joaquin Rocks Wilderness. 
“I’ve been proud to work on this important legislation with Congressman Farr for the last several years, and seeing the widespread bipartisan support from committee members today is a great step forward to making sure the off-roading community will soon be able to take full advantage of Clear Creek” said Rep. Denham.  
“Californians have been enjoying the natural beauty of Clear Creek for decades,” said Rep. Valadao. “Not only does this bill reopen the land for off highway vehicle use but it also directs additional land to be preserved for future generations. I am excited to join Rep. Farr in seeing that this bill becomes law so that our constituents and the entire state of California can enjoy Clear Creak once again.”
Once considered a premier off-road vehicle recreation site, Clear Creek was temporarily closed in 2008 to the public after an Environmental Protection Agency analysis laid out the perceived risk created by naturally occurring asbestos. H.R. 1838 instructs the BLM to develop a rigorous plan to minimize the risk from asbestos exposure and educate visitors about the naturally occurring asbestos. The BLM would also be required to develop ways to reduce the impact of off-road vehicles to protect the area’s habitat.
Located next to Clear Creek is Joaquin Rocks, sandstone outcroppings that rise over 4,000 feet from the valley floor. Considered the centerpiece of this remote area, the three scenic monoliths are the eroded remnants of an ancient Vaqueros Sandstone formation.
Due to the cool climate created by the rocks elevation, the formation is home to a diverse array of flora and fauna and several species of wildlife. In addition to falcons, hawks and owls, the cliffs provide a potential nesting habitat for the California condor which was reintroduced in the nearby Gabilan Range.


April 4, 2016

WASHINGTON — U.S. Representatives Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18), Sam Farr (CA-20) and Jackie Speier (CA-14) today announced the formation of the new Select Committee on South Bay Arrivals. The Select Committee will be comprised of 12 local elected officials and will build on the previous work of local stakeholders to develop regional solutions to address aircraft noise. Together with the announcement of the new Select Committee, the Representatives are also today releasing to the public the FAA’s updated Initiative to Address Northern California Noise Concerns which includes completed milestones.
The Select Committee on South Bay Arrivals will accept public input, review FAA proposals, and make recommendations on issues identified in the FAA’s Initiative with a focus on arrival issues that primarily impact the South Bay Region. The SFO Airport/Community Roundtable will accept public input, review FAA proposals, and make recommendations on issues identified in the FAA’s Initiative with a focus on SFO departures as well as arrivals that primarily impact the SFO Roundtable geographical area.
SFO and the FAA will offer technical assistance to both the Select Committee and the SFO Roundtable as needed and will work with both the Committee and the SFO Roundtable on the FAA’s Initiative.
Each of the three Congressional Districts has four appointees on the Committee. A full roster of the Select Committee Members and Alternates is below. 
Eshoo: “Establishment of this Select Committee is a critical step to address airplane noise that is plaguing our constituents. New flight paths implemented by the FAA have generated an alarming increase in noise impacts across my entire Congressional District. Large, small, urban, and rural communities have been affected, and the majority of noise complaints in my District involve arrivals at SFO. The Select Committee on South Bay Arrivals will work with the public and the FAA to expedite solutions to this problem. 
“Importantly, the Select Committee will have representation from the three Congressional Districts and the three affected counties. This is a regional problem which calls for regional solutions. Simply shifting noise from one community to another is not an option.”
Farr: “As the FAA implemented the new NextGEN flight plans, it became increasingly clear there was not enough local input into how these flight plans would affect our region.  The Select Committee will finally give those impacted local communities a voice in the process as we look for ways to remove airplane noise from all of our homes and neighborhoods.”
Speier: “The recent increase in aircraft noise has created an intolerable environment for many communities. I expect the FAA to work with the appointees on both committees to mitigate the intense increase in aircraft noise that is making it unbearable for many of my constituents.” 
Select Committee on South Bay Arrivals membership:

Select Committee Alternates:


March 8, 2016
WASHINGTON – Rep.  Sam Farr, D-Calif., along with 17 other members of Congress sent a letter to Secretary John Kerry asking for more oversight in the murder investigation of Honduran activist Berta Cáceres. The 2015 winner of the Goldman Environmental Prize was shot in her home last week after being threatened for opposing the Aqua Zarca hydroelectric project on the Gualcarque River.
“The loss of Berta Cáceres is felt not only in Honduras but around the globe,” said Rep. Farr. “The international community must do everything possible to bring her murderers to justice to demonstrate our commitment to human rights and the people she championed.
Dear Secretary Kerry,
We write to express our outrage about the murder of internationally recognized environmentalist and human rights defender Berta Cáceres of COPINH in Honduras. We urge you to press the Honduran government to facilitate an immediate, full, and impartial investigation of the case; take action to protect her family, colleagues and witnesses to the crime; and address the systematic lack of protection for human rights defenders in Honduras. 
We understand that Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández has stated publicly his government’s commitment to investigating this case. This show of political support is a welcome change from the Honduran government’s lack of concern in past cases of aggressions against human rights defenders. But unless this rhetoric translates into a credible investigation that brings to justice both the material and intellectual authors of the crime, it will be meaningless. In addition, there are serious concerns about the Honduran government’s ability and commitment to successfully investigate and prosecute this case. As such, we ask you to urge the Honduran government to:
take the necessary steps to bring the perpetrators to justice, including allowing the international community to assist with and independently oversee the investigation; 
ensure protection for any witnesses; and
follow the case wherever it may lead, regardless of its political implications.   
Tragically, Ms. Cáceres’ murder was not altogether unanticipated. It is the unnecessary culmination of numerous death, rape, and kidnapping threats directed at her, her family, and her colleagues.  We note that these threats were never effectively investigated or prosecuted in spite of their grave and constant nature.  A recent report by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights noted that in addition to receiving various threats, Ms. Cáceres had also been detained by authorities on trumped-up charges related to gun possession and “inciting violence” in an attempt to impede her activities.  
As her death makes painfully clear, the protection given to her was insufficient. Although Ms. Cáceres was granted precautionary measures by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in 2009, the Honduran government failed to implement them effectively. In fact, the day of Ms. Cáceres’ murder, Secretary of Public Security Julián Pacheco made several disturbing comments regarding her security situation, stating that “Initially, we assigned police to protect her, but she asked us to withdraw this service because it bothered her…”  and that “the residence where she lost her life had not been reported to the authorities.” The insinuation that Ms. Cáceres bears responsibility for her own death, however indirectly, demonstrates a troubling callousness on the part of a government that did not seek a meaningful and effective solution to her security situation.  
Ms. Cáceres’ murder was not an isolated incident; the lack of security in which COPINH carries out its work, and the harassment it experiences at the hands of Government authorities, is experienced by countless other human rights defenders, labor unionists, environmental activists, and political actors in Honduras. In fact, one of Ms. Cáceres’ colleagues, Tomás García, was killed in 2013 during a peaceful protest; no one has been brought to justice for his murder.  
We ask you to communicate to the government of Honduras that any effective response to Berta’s murder will not only investigate and bring to justice the material and intellectual authors of the crime, but also address the systematic lack of protection for human rights defenders in Honduras. This would include:
developing mechanisms that effectively protect human rights defenders and are based on direct consultation with individuals at risk; and
prioritizing investigations of threats against human rights defenders. 
Finally, as you know, 50 percent of U.S. assistance to Honduras is subject to a number of conditions related to human rights, overcoming corruption, and rule of law. The investigation of this case will provide a test of the Honduran government’s commitment to good governance. We will be monitoring this case closely and carefully considering its possible implications for the future of U.S. assistance to Honduras.
Rep. Sam Farr
Rep. James P. McGovern
Rep. Jan Schakowsky
Rep. Norma J. Torres
Rep. Jared Polis
Rep. Mark Pocan
Rep. Sander Levin
Rep. Joe Kennedy
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee
Rep. Donna F. Edwards
Rep. Charles B. Rangel
Rep. Alan Lowenthal
Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva
Rep. Tony Cárdenas
Rep. Judy Chu
Rep. Donald S. Beyer
Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard
Rep. Barbara Lee
Rep. Luis V. Guitierrez