Capitol Alert

August 11, 2014

AM Alert: Is this the week California gets a new water bond?

For several dry-sky, crop-withering months, we have been hearing about a water bond.

Capitol Alert

The go-to source for news on California policy and politics

For several dry-sky, crop-withering months, we have been hearing about a water bond.

It’s a matter of utmost urgency, lawmakers say, given the drought devastating California. On the need for a new water bond there is agreement. On what it should contain or how big it should be, not so much.

Gov. Jerry Brown detailed a $6 billion plan last week on his campaign website, prompting criticism from Republicans that more money is needed. Senate Republicans released a new $8.7 billion dollar blueprint, prompting criticism from Democrats that the GOP already rejected a proposal with ample storage money. Environmentalists weighed in with a $6 billion pitch. The Association of California Water Agencies and the Nature Conservancy circulated a poll saying the $11.1 billion bond currently on the ballot (it was approved by the Legislature back in 2009) is doomed.

All the while, the election draws closer. While deadlines are ultimately arbitrary given the Legislature’s ability to waive them, legislators have made mid-August the latest drop-dead target. A few people are hopeful a deal emerges by the end of the week. The ever-shifting debate so far should make you skeptical of that claim, but we’ll be watching.

VIDEO: Perpetually campaigning lawmakers have more than just passing bills on their plates these days, Dan Walters says.

NEW UNIFORMS: Military service is hard work. So is transitioning back to civilian life. Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, and Secretary of the California Department of Veteran Affairs Peter Gravett will talk about hiring female veterans during an event to give away used professional clothes to returning vets. Also expected to attend are Assembly members Shannon Grove and Kristin Olsen. Starting at 10:30 a.m. at the Department of Veterans Affairs building on O street.

PLACE YOUR BETS: Gambling pacts between American Indian tribes and the state have spurred controversy recently, including a referendum seeking to nix a casino deal with the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians. Today the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee will examine a proposed deal with the Karuk Tribe. Brown signed the agreement late last year but the Legislature still has to ratify it, so this hearing comes ahead of an expected Assembly floor vote (the Senate already had a preliminary hearing ahead of an anticipated vote) on Senate Bill 1224.

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