Opponents say the bills are not necessary. They say growers and safety advocates are doing enough to keep people safe.
Manuel Cunha spends a lot of hours in the field. His goal is to keep workers safe, especially in the summer heat. "What we want at the end of the day is for them to go home to their families."
He's with the Nisei Farmers League, a group that works closely with Cal-OSHA to increase safety. Over the years, there's been a lot of progress. In most fields, he says water is always nearby and all coolers have tips printed on them.
"They're looking at this every 15, 20 minutes...They're looking, reminding them...Wear proper clothing, drink water, proper rest...All of those things are important and we've been doing that."
Lawmakers want tougher regulations, and the senate is looking at two bills. One would force growers to keep water within ten feet of every worker and shade within 200 feet. The other bill would limit worker's hours in the sun. Cutting back from eight to six hours a day. Violators would get hit with a million dollar fine and face possible criminal charges.
Assemblywoman Betsy Butler said she wrote the bill because "Cal-OSHA isn't doing enough to protect field workers from heat related illness and death."
Barry Bedwell, president of the California Grape and Tree Fruit League says the rules would just damage the industry. "This is something that would create a bounty hunter situation and would have frivolous law suits and litigation that could further make Ag less competitive in California."
He expects the bills to make it to the governor's desk, because he says they're backed by the unions. He says the valley loses if the rules become the new status quo.
"On one hand you have employees really suffering in one scenario and later in the year you could have the employer feeling the impact."
If the bills pass the senate, the governor would have 30 days to act on them.
According to Cal-OSHA there have been 13 heat related deaths in California since 2005. One of those happened last year.