June 18, 2015
ACWA-Opposed Budget Trailer Bill Could be Taken Up Friday
Trailer bill language on mandatory consolidations is now in print and could be taken up as early as Friday on the Assembly and Senate floors.
The language, still strongly opposed by ACWA, would authorize the State Water Resources Control Board to mandate consolidations of public water systems. It is contained in companion drought-related budget trailer bills known as AB 115 and SB 88.
In addition to the consolidation language, the bills include provisions related to CEQA exemptions for water recycling and groundwater replenishment projects, measuring and reporting of water diversions, local drought penalties and enforcement authorities, and appropriation of some Proposition 1 funding for water use efficiency upgrades.
Though the consolidation language now in print is narrower in scope than an earlier version posted on the Department of Finance website, ACWA remains opposed along with a coalition of statewide local government organizations. A June 18 coalition letter to the Legislature is available here.
ACWA and the coalition continue to argue that the consolidation language raises significant public policy issues that should not be rushed through the trailer bill process, which does not provide adequate time for stakeholder comment and public input. Further, giving broad state authority to the State Water Resources Control Board to mandate consolidations is not an immediate fix for drought-impacted areas of the state and could lead to significant unintended consequences.
Agreement Reached on Main Budget
On June 16, legislative leaders and Gov. Jerry Brown announced agreement on the main budget bill. The agreement calls for overall general fund spending of $115.4 billion, just $61 million more than the governor proposed in May. The budget approved by the Legislature on June 15 included about $749 million more in spending than Brown proposed.
At a press conference announcing the agreement, the governor and legislative leaders said various bills would be drafted and acted on in the coming days, along with various trailer bills dealing with policy issues.
The budget and related legislation must be signed by June 30 before the July 1 start of the next fiscal year.
Questions about the consolidations trailer bill language may be directed to ACWA State Relations Director Wendy Ridderbusch at email@example.com or 916-441-4545.
Tags: policy, water