The Senate and Assembly approved legislation yesterday afternoon that would move the $11.14 billion water bond to the November 2014 ballot.
AB 1422 by Assembly Member Henry Perea (D-Fresno) cleared both houses on bipartisan, two-thirds votes on the floor. The bill, which would move the bond measure from this November’s ballot to the 2014 ballot without making any changes to the content of the bond, now goes to the governor.
The move is supported by a broad coalition including ACWA and its member agencies, conservation groups, business, labor and agriculture.
The Senate voted 34-2 to approve the bill after floor debate in which bond supporters emphasized the importance of the water bond but said the delay was necessary for a number of reasons.
The Assembly vote was 69-7.
“Investing in water infrastructure is vital for our State but in the current economic climate, the likelihood of voters approving this bond in November 2012 is low,” said Assembly Member Perea in a statement yesterday. “We need to make sure we give it the best chance for success.”
In a statement, ACWA Executive Director Timothy Quinn said the water community continues to support the water bond as a key mechanism to fund the public benefits of investing in the state’s water system.
“In 2009, ACWA was part of a broad coalition that broke decades of gridlock and charted a course to address our state’s water challenges through a comprehensive package of legislation. That package included policy bills and a bond measure to provide a public cost share for actions that benefit the entire state.
“While the decision to move the water bond was a difficult one, we know it was necessary for a variety of reasons to change the timing from this November to 2014. Today’s bipartisan vote shows that lawmakers see the importance of this issue and the need to work together to address our water supply challenges.
“Our support for moving the bond in no way weakens the resolve of ACWA and our allies to get the job done over the long term.”