Capitol Alert

AM Alert: California water board votes on mandatory water cuts

Folsom Dam has hit dangerously low water levels during California’s ongoing drought.
Folsom Dam has hit dangerously low water levels during California’s ongoing drought. The Sacramento Bee file

Gov. Jerry Brown’s order last month requiring a 25-percent reduction in water use statewide has been perhaps the most controversial emergency response to California’s severe drought.

While debate rages over the agriculture industry’s exclusion from conservation mandates, water agencies have pushed back on the plan as an illegal water grab. Many communities in the Sacramento area, which face cuts of up to 36 percent compared to 2013, argue that they will be unfairly burdened because state regulators failed to consider the region’s hot climate and large lot sizes.

A formal public comment period closed yesterday, and the regulations are now up for consideration by the State Water Resources Control Board, which meets starting at 9 a.m. at the Cal/EPA Building on I Street. The resolution – which also includes a prohibition on watering public street medians and would require hotels to provide their guests with the option of foregoing daily laundering of towels and linens – is the final item on the agenda.

SIN FRONTERAS: Sacramento’s Consulate General of Mexico and others host California-Mexico Advocacy Day, promoting economic partnerships across the border. Following a breakfast for visiting Mexican investment fund CEOs organized by CalPERS and a lunch at the California Chamber of Commerce, the Senate Select Committee on California-Mexico Cooperation will meet, 3 p.m. in Room 113 of the Capitol. Lawmakers including Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León will attend a reception, 5:30 p.m. at the Leland Stanford Mansion on N Street.

LUKE, I AM YOUR CHARTER: The California Charter Schools Association is at the Capitol for its annual lobby day, opposing bills that would impose new admissions and expulsions requirements and ban charter schools operated by for-profit companies. Speeches, student performances and a youth symposium begin at 10 a.m. at the west steps of the Capitol. Assemblymen Matt Dababneh, D-Los Angeles, Brian Jones, R-Santee, and Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, D-Los Angeles, are scheduled to speak.

TAKE A HIKE: The California State Parks Foundation will hold an expo showcasing the system’s 279 parks, 11:30 a.m. on the north lawn of the Capitol, and visit with lawmakers to promote bills that would exempt park volunteers from prevailing wage laws, establish environmental education programs and place a funding bond on the 2016 ballot. An awards ceremony, 5 p.m. at the Elks Tower on 11th Street, will recognize Assembly members Kristin Olsen, R-Riverbank, and Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood.

BURNING UP: California’s wildfire season is underway and Smokey the Bear isn’t the only one who wants the Capitol community to do its part fighting the blazes. Sen. Tom Berryhill, R-Twain Harte, and Assemblyman Frank Bigelow, R-O’Neals, present a screening of The Fire Next Time, a film about wildfires and forest recovery, 5 p.m. at the movie theater in the Capitol basement. Representatives from the Sierra Nevada Conservacy will also be on hand to answer questions.

IN MEMORIAM: The California Highway Patrol will honor its members who have died in the line of duty with a 21-gun salute, 9:30 a.m. at the CHP Academy in West Sacramento. This year’s ceremony will pay special tribute to officers Juan Gonzalez and Brian Law, who died last February in a car crash near Fresno. Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to attend.

Call The Bee’s Alexei Koseff, (916) 321-5236. Follow him on Twitter @akoseff.