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February 2019

Come help us celebrate the life of Johnny Alberto Squire on his beloved family ranch.

Spring and cotton planting season was one of his favorite times of the year.

Please wear comfortable clothes in a shade of blue. A Grange memorial service is scheduled for 2 PM. We plan to be serving favorite foods and pieces of chocolate cake, possibly with chocolate ice cream.

Please join us as friends, family, and "framily" (friends so close they are family). This is a celebration so "ya'll come" if you can.

Saturday, April 6, 2019
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Squire Family Ranch
47598 Coalinga Mineral Springs Rd, Coalinga, CA

Click Here to RSVP via Facebook

Lee Geiger
1935 - 2019

Dear Grange Brothers and Sisters,

Our Brother Leland "Lee" Geiger, past California State Grange Deputy, Past Master of Subordinate and Pomona Granges, Past State Grange Gatekeeper, and husband of State Grange Chaplain, Barbara Geiger, passed from this earth on on January 20, 2019.

Brother Lee was a stalwart member of the Grange and worked diligently at any task set to him. He did beautiful woodwork and made gavels for the State Grange Masters. He will be missed.

Arrangements are pending for a celebration of life. We send love and comfort to Sister Barbara and their family.

California State Grange - Child Protection Policy

Background Clearance Reminder

Hello Grange Brothers and Sisters, As a reminder, the California State Grange By-Laws require background checks for all adults (18 and over) working IN ANY CAPACITY with our Grange Youth and Junior-age members, under the age of 18.

Article VIII, Section 8.5.8 Special Requirements; Background Checks - It shall be a requirement that a background check shall be required for any appointments where the members’ duties will require any supervision of any Youth or Junior Members, under the age of 18.

If you are a Grange Leader for Youth, Junior, Fair, Project, Advisor, Committee member, or Officer, etc., please click the link below to request access for a background check. The cost for the background clearance is approximately $20.00. All of your personal identifying information is securely held by the background company and not by the California State Grange. If you hold multiple positions i.e. Youth Fair Leader and Project Leader, only one background clearance is required for all Grange positions. If you are cleared by your profession or another volunteer organization, a Grange background clearance is still required. Backgrounds cannot be shared between employment or volunteer organizations.

If you have any questions, please contact Lillian Booth, State Grange Secretary, at 916-454-5808 or

Thank you.

Open Background Access Request Form



Agriculture and Food

The Shutdown

The federal government partial shutdown has ended...for now. The longest shutdown in history is over until February 15 to give all parties the opportunity to negotiate a compromise on border security, security for Dreamers, and other immigration issues. This was called a partial shutdown because FY19 funding for some agencies had cleared Congress but funding for others had not. Many agencies of government that producers and rural residents depend upon were shuttered for over a month and employees were furloughed. Employees considered "essential" were expected to work during the shutdown. These included meat inspectors, TSA employees, safety and security personnel and the like. Lights were out in local Farm Service (FSA) and Risk Management Agency (RMA) offices but Natural Resources and Conservation Service (NRCS) employees remained on the job using surplus funds from last year's budget; this scenario is raising questions on Capitol Hill. SNAP recipients not only received their January benefits but are getting their February benefits early. This was made possible by an obscure provision in the now-expired (December 21) continuing resolution that allowed SNAP and child nutrition programs to use funds within 30 days of the CR's expiration. Market and economic reports were suspended but care for plants and animals at research facilities continued. Most economists reported the shutdown had a large negative effect in the nation's economy. Bipartisan lawmakers with reputations as "Deal Makers" from the House and Senate began meeting January 30 to seek a deal on border security that would prevent a second shutdown this year.

FSA Deadlines Extended

The Farm Service Agency has now extended program deadlines such as:

• Marketing Assistance Loans - February 14
• Market Facilitation - February 14
• Emergency Conservation - February 14
• Livestock Forage Disaster - February 28
• Emergency Assistance (livestock, honey bees, farm-raised fish) - February 14
• Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance - February 14
• Tree Assistance - February 14
• Acreage Reporting for Honey - February 14

A New Quarterback and Lots of Rookies

Colin Peterson (D-MN), the new chairman but seasoned veteran of the House Agriculture Committee, has a new Democratic majority that's nearly half newcomers. That's not all bad, but his chairman's role will include lots of educating. The new Democrats are Axne (IA-3), Brindishi (NY-22), Carbajai (CA-24), Harder (CA-10), Cox (CA-21), Craig (MN-2), Delgado (NY-19), Hayes (CT-2), Kirkpatrick (AZ-2), Schrier (WA-8), Spanberger (VA-7) and Van Drew (NJ-2). New Republicans on the Ag Committee are Johnson (SD-All), Baird (IN-4), and Hagedorn (MN-1).

Regulatory Preview

What are the major agriculture regulatory challenges facing producers during 2019? Here are a few top-of -mind issues from across agriculture:
• Revised WOTUS rule. The "Waters of the US" proposed rule as revised is meant to replace the 2015 regulation that has been so controversial among landowners. The proposal attempts to clarify how EPA and The Corps distinguish between intermittent and ephemeral streams and allows states to claim jurisdiction over waters unclaimed by EPA and the Corps.
• Plant-based "milk". Grange policy supports the definition on the books at FDA that milk is the product of a lactating animal and wants FDA to enforce that regulation.
• "Healthy" definition. The food industry has long used the term "healthy" as a free-wheeling marketing tactic without having to define what healthy means. FDA will be proposing a rule that would require healthy claims to reflect current scientific and dietary guidelines.
• Produce safety. FDA is proposing to clarify when certain requirements of the Produce Safety Act do not apply. This should help the Grange's smaller produce growers.
• Cell-cultured meat. USDA and FDA have agreed to share regulatory oversight of lab grown meat. The agencies plan to issue regulatory guidance documents in coming months which the Grange will monitor closely. Bull Market Ending for Farm Land?

One dependable indicator of a farm's financial situation is a comparison between debt and the income available to service that debt. Farm debt in 2013 was $315 billion; today it is $409 billion. Net farm income in 2013 was $123 billion; last year net farm income was $66 billion. Interest rates are climbing making other investments more attractive than farm land. These appear to be warning signs of a possible slowdown for the farm land market.

Health Care

Opioids Remain a Rural Problem

The good news is that opioid prescribing rates are falling significantly. The bad news is that the percentage of patients prescribed an opioid is higher in rural than in urban areas according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Drug overdose is the leading cause of nonintentional injury-associated death in the United States. Higher rates of opioid deaths have been recorded in rural areas. In 2017, 14 rural counties were among the 15 counties nationwide with the highest opioid prescribing rates. Patients in rural counties had an 87% higher chance of receiving an opioid prescription compared with persons in urban counties.

Rural Elderly Care Challenges

People 65 years old and older make up over 14 percent of the country's population. That same population is responsible for 34 percent of health care-related spending, according to the National Rural Health Association. But here's an even more sobering statistic: every day more than 10,000 Americans turn 65 years old and one in four of those seniors live in rural or small town areas. Major challenges to future care of these seniors are rural hospital closures, nursing home closures and qualified staffing shortages. Infrastructure is another challenge as rural and small town areas struggle to provide health clinics, safe and affordable housing, and high speed broadband internet to connect with telemedicine, tele-education and more. Most elderly people in rural and small town America want to age in place at home in their community. Some elder care groups suggest that one way to address the scarcity of services is for providers to diversify and provide medical attention, assisted living, home care, meals and transportation through one organization.

National Grange Files Comments

The National Grange joined several patient groups to urge the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services at HHS to consider the success of Part D and Medicare Advantage as the agency prepares proposals to lower drug prices and reduce out-of-pocket expenses. The current program has successfully provided beneficiaries with access to prescription drugs and self-administered drugs. While the National Grange supports CMS' goal to reduce out-of-pocket expenses, the Grange is concerned that proposed policy changes generally favor health plans rather than focusing on patient care and program transparency. The Grange also expressed opposition to proposed step therapy because it would be an impediment to prescribed therapy, particularly for patients who require timely and personalized Part B medications.

Immigration/AG Workforce

Green Card or Blue Card

Older farmers and ranchers remember the "Green Card" that allowed workers to legally enter the U.S. for short term employment. They contend it worked well and should never have been discontinued. Now, Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Representative Jimmy Panetta (D-CA 2) have introduced legislation to create a similar "Blue Card" program. Their bill enjoys a large number of cosponsors. It would provide the agriculture industry with a more stable workforce and allow an eventual path to citizenship. The National Grange will push for hearings but remains skeptical that Congress has the will allow ag workforce legislation to pass without holding it hostage to other immigration issues.

Three Big Immigration Issues Congress Can Tackle

Michael Wildes is the mayor of Englewood, N.J. and managing partner of Wildes and Weinberg P.C. specializing in immigration law. Wildes laments the fact that immigration reform has eluded all efforts at reform for a generation. But the system is in dire need of reform he says. Here are three big immigration items he suggests Congress tackle:

• Upgrade Immigration Courts. Immigration courts are small, overcrowded, and places where judges hand out trial dates two and three years in the future. He says hiring more immigration judges and restoring a level of autonomy to trial attorneys would go a long way to alleviating the excessive court backlogs.
• Legalize Dreamers. These are legal recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) who were brought to the United States before they turned 16 and have lived here continuously since 2007. They are 800,000 students, college graduates, professionals and parents. They have been granted permission to work, attend school and live in the U.S., but if they leave, they cannot reenter.
• Address Root Causes of Central American Refugees. Wildes says the fundamental cause of our Central American refugee crisis is the violence and instability in their home countries. He favors cooperation with law enforcement in those countries, improving economic conditions through foreign investment, free trade agreements, and volunteer initiatives.


More Rural Broadband Funding

The Senate-House conference committee on USDA appropriations has awarded $550 million in additional funds to a rural broadband loan and grant program created by Congress last year with an initial appropriation of $600 million. Projects must serve communities of less than 20,000 people with no broadband service or where service is slower than 10/1 Mbps.

Bridging the Rural Broadband Gap

A recent editorial in the Washington Examiner by National Grange President Betsy Huber applauded the Federal Communications Commission for its leadership toward closing the rural-urban digital divide. She then suggested the FCC make two changes to enhance rural efforts. The first is better data collection accuracy in rural areas which should be far different compared to urban areas. The second is to allow providers to wirelessly deliver broadband to rural communities using unused spectrum between broadcast television stations.

Check Your State Laws

Your state might need to update its laws to better compete for the new $1.15 billion USDA funding for rural broadband projects and grants. Some states restrict rural electric cooperatives to only provide electric services to customers. In these states, such laws may have to be changed to allow electric co-ops to deliver broadband service or create public-private partnerships with rural telephone cooperatives.


The willingness of America's veterans to sacrifice for our country has earned them everlasting gratitude. ~ Jeff Miller

Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance. ~ Eckhart Tolle

He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things he has not but rejoices for those which he has. ~ Epictetus

We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorns have roses. ~ Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr

The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated. ~ William James

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them. ~ John F. Kennedy

Feedback and questions are welcome. Call Burton Eller, at (202) 628-3507 ext. 114 or email

Download This Newsletter

January 2019

In this issue:

• Time is now to register for Grange Revival 2019
• National Grange Fly-in Registration Now Open
• Use Grange Theme All Year, Following Guidelines Very Important
• Membership Department provides Planning Tool
• 2 Deadlines Fast Approaching for Youth Opportunities
• Sign-up to Attend Mid-Atlantic Leaders Conference
• New Grange Radio Programming Hits the Air
• Updates made to Grange in Action Program
• Mascot for Community Service Department Introduced
• National Lecturer provides Revised 2019 Quilt Block Info

• Grange Revival Registration Form
• REV 2019 Quilt Block Contest and Form
• 2019 Theme One-Page Use Guide
• NEW Grange Values Ad
• Grange Month Poster
• Toolkit: Grange Inventory
• 1 in 1,000 Club Membership Form
• Esto Perpetua: Giving Form
• Grange Food Security Survey
• Good Day!™ Subscription Form

Click here to download the entire issue of the Patrons Chain.

Jan Saxton joined the Grange in 2003 when she moved to the tiny town of Aromas on the Central Coast. The Aromas Grange had reorganized around 1999/2000 and it was an active, happening place. When Jan first moved to Aromas her mom told her she had to go to the monthly Grange pancake breakfast. Through the folks she met there, she volunteered to help with an auction on her first Aromas Day, which turned out to be a fundraiser for the Aromas Grange’s scholarship fund. It was a very successful fundraiser—in more ways than one. It was through the scholarship auction that she met her sweetheart and partner for fifteen years, Rich Saxe. Through her relationship with Rich, who was President at the time, she became deeply involved with the Aromas Grange.

After helping to build the Aromas Grange into a thriving organization, with a growing membership and lots of popular events and activities, Rich and Jan served for two years as State Membership Directors under State Grange President Randy Lewis. In that capacity they reached out to as many Granges as they could, traveling around our beautiful state, meeting with folks and encouraging them to open their halls and invite their communities to join them. One of Jan’s particular passions is encouraging new Grangers to come to Convention and encouraging all Granges to send delegates every year. She believes that experiencing the State Convention and participating in the degree work really deepens a member’s understanding of the Grange, how it works and what it stands for. Besides, how often do you get to experience true participatory democracy in action?

Jan served two terms as President of the Aromas Grange, during which she forged a relationship with the Community Foundation for Monterey County. A fundraising grant from the Community Foundation led to a successful capital campaign and a new—and much needed—commercial kitchen for the Aromas Grange Hall. Jan is looking forward to sharing what she learned from their professional fundraising consultant with anyone who wants to learn to raise more money. She is a Past Vice President, a Past Executive Committee Member and currently is the Chaplain. She is Director of the Teressie White Memorial Scholarship Foundation, the Aromas Grange’s scholarship fund. Before moving to Aromas, Jan raised her four sons in Carmel Valley, California, where she volunteered at the local elementary school, the scouts, and the Little League. When her sons were all in school, Jan went back to college and graduated from UCSC with a bachelor’s degree in Women’s Studies in 1998.

As Vice President of the CSG, Jan is looking forward to traveling the state again to visit as many Granges and meet up with as many Grangers as possible. She is grateful for all the people involved with the Grange and the work they have done for generations to keep our organization alive and our halls standing. One of the things Jan likes best about the Grange is that it is a place where we can get to know people with very different opinions and perspectives than our own, work side by side, and become friends with them. In these times, she believes that is an especially valuable thing. We don’t have to agree on stuff to become friends with folks, we just have to be friendly.

The California State Grange and Orangevale Grange invite all to a CELEBRATION OF LIFE for our brother, Ed Komski

Please bring photos, stories, and your instruments to play music. Ed loved nothing better than a good jam session of musicians, laughing and playing together. Ed's favorite dessert was sprinkle-covered cupcakes

Come and share in a very special day full of love, memories, music, laughter, and sprinkles.

Saturday, January 26, 2019
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Orangevale Grange Hall
5807 Walnut, Orangevale, CA

Contact Lillian Booth, California State Grange Secretary, 916-454-5808 with any questions.

Hope to see you there,
Kent Westwood,
Master/President California State Grange

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The first session of the 116th Congress opens the first week of January. Democrats control the House of Representatives with Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-12) as Speaker. The Senate continues to be controlled by Republicans with Mitch McConnell (R-KY) as Majority Leader. The federal government continues in a partial shutdown mode because of a stalemate between President Trump and Democrats over funding for the border wall and several other immigration issues. The shutdown affects several unfunded departments and agencies including USDA, EPA, and Interior. Locally, agencies such as county Farm Service Agency offices have closed, new rural development and other grants and loans are suspended, research facilities except for care for animals and plants are closed, and economic and statistical reports will not be issued. However, USDA's Market News Service will continue to operate. On other fronts, protecting Medicare Part B and Part D are ongoing Grange initiatives; rural broadband continues to expand; cable programming may need some safeguards

Farm Bill

Legislation Becomes Law

In December, the new farm bill passed with huge bipartisan majorities in the Senate (87-13) and House (369-47). Following its passage, National Grange President Betsy Huber issued the following statement: "America's farmers, ranchers and landowners have a reasonable, balanced, common-sense $867 billion farm bill headed to the President's desk today. The bipartisan legislation passed overwhelmingly in the Senate by a vote of 87-13 and in the House by 369-47. The package now gives much needed multi-year certainty to commodity programs, crop insurance, conservation, farm loans, beginning farmers and ranchers, SNAP assistance, nutrition programs, foreign markets promotion and more. It also establishes a new Foot and Mouth Disease vaccine bank. "I want to thank Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts and Ranking Minority member Debbie Stabenow for their bipartisan leadership to get this done. Both have proven themselves worthy to have named National Grange Champions of Rural America (Stabenow in 2017 and Roberts in 2018)".


USDA's four trade promotion programs were funded at $251.5 million per year.

Commodity Programs
  • Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage are similar to the 2014 farm bill with several enhancements on reference prices and yield data
  • Loan rates are increased substantially
  • The new Dairy Margin Coverage Program builds on the recent Margin Protection Program passed in February by reducing premiums on the first 5 million pounds of production (about 240 cows) and raises the top margin coverage from $8 per hundredweight to $9.50
  • Does not set payment limits on eligibility for commodity program payments

  • The Environmental Quality Incentives Program has increased funding; the Conservation Stewardship Program has reduced funding but is preserved as a standalone program
  • Conservation Reserve Program enrollment is increased from 24 million acres to 27 million acres
  • The Regional Conservation Partnership Program is now a standalone with its own rules separate from other conservation programs from which it was previously funded

  • Additional work requirements and tightened eligibility requirements were omitted from the final Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provision; governors will be required to approve state agency applications to USDA for waivers from the existing work requirements
  • The Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Program is given permanent funding and is renamed the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program for the former USDA Undersecretary and Grange member from Massachusetts

Farm loan limits on operating and ownership loans are increased ($1.75 million on guaranteed operating and ownership loans; $600,000 on direct ownership loans; direct operating loans are raised to $400,000).

Rural Development

  • Provides permanent authority and rules for the $600 million rural broadband grant and loan program created by the fiscal 2018 spending bill.
  • Prioritizes funding for projects to combat opioid addiction and authorizes a 33 percent increase in grants under the Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program


Funding is increased for the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative and the Specialty Crop Research Initiative


Renews the categorical exclusion that allows diseased and insect infested trees to be removed from government forests.


Renews the authorization but reduces the funding for bioenergy programs.


  • Legalizes the production of industrial hemp
  • Creates a new Local Agriculture Market Program
  • Creates a new Urban, Indoor and Other Emerging Agricultural Production Research, Education and Extension Initiative
  • Maintains funding for Specialty Crop Block Grants
  • Authorizes USDA to require additional documentation for shipments from abroad under the National Organic Program

Crop Insurance

  • Hemp is made eligible for crop insurance
  • Discounts for beginning farmers and ranchers are extended to 10 years from the current 5 years under Whole Farm Revenue Protection
  • New policies will be researched by USDA to cover crops affected by hurricanes and tropical storms


  • Creates and funds a new Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program that includes a new Foot and Mouth Disease vaccine bank
  • Creates a new Farming Opportunities Training and Outreach Program
  • Requires the President to nominate an undersecretary for rural development

Waters of the United States

In early December, the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers released their highly anticipated proposal to replace the definition of "Waters of the United States" (WOTUS) which determines the scope of waters and wetlands that fall under the federal Clean Water Act. The proposal would eliminate ephemeral streams (those created by rainfall and snowmelt) from federal jurisdiction, tighten guidelines for when other streams and wetlands are considered for federal protection, exclude ditches unless they contribute flow to a "waters of the U.S", exclude farm ponds, log cleaning ponds and cooling ponds, and require wetlands to be physically connected to other jurisdictional waters to fall within the scope of WOTUS. Farmers, ranchers, landowners, builders, and other businesses welcomed the new definition while several conservation and environmental groups were critical. The proposed rule is subject to a 60-day comment period. If the rule becomes final, it is almost certain to face legal challenges.

Disclosure of Bioengineered Foods

USDA has announced the Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard to require food manufacturers, importers, and certain retailers to identify foods that are or may be bioengineered. The standard defines bioengineered foods as those that contain detectable genetic material that has been modified through lab techniques and cannot be created through conventional breeding or found in nature.

SNAP Changes Proposed

Late in December, USDA issued a proposed rule to significantly amend the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for the first time in 22 years. The proposed change would prevent states from getting waivers from work and job training requirements unless their unemployment rate is at least 7 percent. The proposed rule is subject to a 60-day public comment period and will likely face legal challenges if enacted.

Antibiotics Use in Livestock Falls by a Third

Usage of medically important antibiotics in food production has fallen sharply according to the Food and Drug Administration. Antimicrobials important to human health are no longer allowed to be used for growth promotion purposes in livestock and may only be obtained through a veterinarian's order to treat sick animals.

Health Care

Medical Device Tax

The National Grange joined a large group of patient advocates to call for permanent repeal of the medical device tax in a letter to Senate and House leadership. New medical technology discoveries are critical to diagnosing and treating disease and conditions that significantly impact patients' lives. Since the tax is levied on revenues, not profits, it is particularly challenging for smaller companies which make up 80 percent of the industry and are the source of much innovation.

Protect Medicare Part D

Because Part D is so important to Grange members, the National Grange joined other patient groups in a letter to Congress opposing any proposal that would repeal the program's non-interference clause. The clause states that manufacturers, pharmacy benefit managers, and insurance companies must negotiate directly to reach the lowest possible prices for prescription medications.

Medicare Part B Demonstration Questioned

The National Grange has urged Senate and House leaders to question a potentially harmful Medicare Part B demonstration by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The proposed CMS International Pricing Index demonstration would import foreign-based price controls regardless of value or innovation and interjects new middlemen between physicians and patients with complex life-threatening conditions.


Rural Veterans Need the Lifeline Program

The National Grange filed comments with the Federal Communications Commission to support access to affordable rural broadband for the 24 percent of America's veterans who live in rural America. The filing urged the FCC to preserve no-cost Lifeline offerings, implement the National Verifier in a common sense, straight-forward way, and reexamine the minimum standard regulations that could lead to the elimination of no-cost Lifeline services.

Binding Arbitration for Comcast/NBCUniversal

The National Grange wrote the chairmen and ranking minority members of the House Judiciary Committee and the Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law regarding the expiring terms of the Comcast/NBCU merger. The Grange suggested that binding arbitration be required to settle program access disputes, that sensible safeguards are necessary to protect consumer prices and assess to programming, and that protections for independent programmers be established.

Raising the Bar for Rural Broadband

The USDA will now require its rural broadband projects to provide access speeds of at least 25 megabits per second upload and 3 megabits per second download as mandated in the new farm bill. Funded projects must serve communities of less than 20,000 people with no broadband service or where service is slower than 10/I Mbps. Projects will compete for $600 million provided by Congress earlier this year.


"I don't know what's more exhausting about parenting: the getting up early, or acting like you know what you're doing". ~ Jim Gaffigan

"Family: A social unit where the father is concerned with parking space, the children with outer space, and the mother with closet space". ~ Evan Esar

"Parents are the only ones obligated to love you; from the rest of the world you had to earn it". ~ Ann Brashares

"Never lend your car to someone to whom you have given birth". ~ Erma Bombeck

"A man travels the world over to in search of what he needs, and returns home to find it". ~ George Moore

Feedback and questions are welcome. Call Burton Eller, at (202) 628-3507 ext. 114 or email

View the Latest Newsletter


As you may recall, Judge Shubb sanctioned the California Guild in 2016 for its “deliberate and willful” violation of his injunction prohibiting it from using the “Grange” name. The Guild initially paid that sanctions award using charitable Grange funds held by the California Grange Foundation and Grange trust funds held in the California State Grange’s asset management account at Morgan Stanley that was subject to Judge Brown’s preliminary injunction. To keep the National Grange from realizing that the sanctions were being paid with Grange funds, the Guild routed those monies through the bank account of its now-disqualified attorneys at the Ellis Law Group.

When it learned last year of the true source of this laundered money, the National Grange moved to set aside the judgment and reinstate the sanctions award. Judge Shubb granted the motion and reinstated a sanctions award of $102,707.78. The National Grange thereafter filed a motion for an order assigning all dues payments and loan repayments that the Guild is set to receive from its local chapters until the outstanding sanctions award is paid in full.

On January 2, 2019, Judge Shubb entered an order granting the motion and assigning all payments to the National Grange. In particular, Judge Shubb ordered that:
  »1. All membership dues due to [the Guild] now or in the future from the local chapters … are hereby assigned to [the National Grange] to the extent necessary to satisfy the court’s post judgment order (Docket No. 235);
  »2. All payments due to [the Guild] now or in the future pursuant to loans defendant made to the local chapters … are hereby assigned to the extent necessary to satisfy the court’s post judgment order.
  »3. [The Guild] is hereby enjoined from assigning, encumbering, or otherwise disposing of the payments discussed in (1) and (2) to any other person or entity until it has satisfied the court’s post judgment order.
  »4. Counsel for [the National Grange] shall serve a copy of this Order on the local chapters.

So what does this assignment order mean? If your Grange is in good standing and is making payments to the California State Grange, nothing changes. But if you are a member of a group that has been making payments to the Guild, expect to receive a letter from the National Grange’s lawyer enclosing Judge’s Order. I urge you to read it closely and follow it to the letter. If you have any doubts about what is required, please consult with a non-conflicted attorney so that you fully understand your legal obligations. Given the Guild’s past behavior (which resulted in the sanctions award in the first place), the court is unlikely to look kindly at violations of its latest order.

After over six years of litigation, the lawsuits against the Guild are wrapping up. Both the state and the federal courts have delivered resounding victories to the Grange and made clear that the rules of our Order have meaning and will be enforced in California. Continued litigation is not going to change things at this late stage – it is just going to line the lawyers’ pockets. The California State Grange continues to move to restore our Order, and is actively assisting Granges throughout the state as they rebuild. If your Grange would like to move forward with the rest of the Order and return to good standing, please contact me or Lillian Booth. The California State Grange stands ready to help in any way we can.

We always encourage everybody to read the actual court documents for themselves, but this one in particular is worth a read.

Click here to read full order.

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