in the KNOW

April 11, 2014

Water Bond Hearing to be held in Modesto

San Luis Reservoir-photo from mavensnotebook.com

San Luis Reservoir-photo from mavensnotebook.com



The Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee will hold an oversight hearing on April 17 in Modesto to consider local perspectives regarding the “The Need for a 2014 Water Bond.” Interested Ag Council members are encouraged to attend.

Assemblyman Rendon (D-Lakewood), Chair of the Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee, will hold the hearing at Modesto Junior College, West Campus, in the Mary Stuart Student Learning Center located at 2201 Blue Gum Avenue in Modesto at 4 p.m. on April 17.

As background, the Legislature continues to debate options to replace the existing $11.1 billion water bond that is on the November 2014 ballot. The $11.1 billion bond is considered by many to be too expensive and legislators are seeking to trim it down. The Legislature must approve new legislation by a two-thirds vote in order to remove the current water bond from the ballot and replace it with a new one.

Several bills are pending in the Legislature to replace the bond. At this time, two bills are at the forefront of consideration. AB 1331 is authored by Assemblyman Rendon (D-Lakewood) and SB 848 is authored by Senator Wolk (D-Davis).

Assemblyman Rendon’s bill would issue $8 billion in bonds for Delta sustainability, water storage, climate change & drought, protection of rivers, lakes & streams, and safe drinking water, among other provisions. Ag Council was pleased that Assemblyman Rendon recently increased the water storage component in AB 1331 from $1.5 billion to $2.5 billion for above and below ground storage.

Senator Wolk’s bill is a $6.8 billion measure that reduces the amount of funding for water storage to $1 billion and this is of concern because of the dire need for California to invest in water storage infrastructure.

Ag Council and others are seeking a $3 billion continuous appropriation for water storage projects in the final water bond. This is the same level of water storage funding as the current bond pending on the November 2014 ballot. Ag Council will continue to emphasize a strong storage component in a new water bond during our advocacy work because it is necessary to better prepare California for future weather events, such as the severe drought facing our state.

Raw Milk Bill Halted in Committee

The Assembly Agriculture Committee halted a bill this week that would have excluded certain farms from health and safety standards and allow the sale of raw milk from those farms. Ag Council opposed the measure and advocated against the bill on behalf of our dairy members: California Dairies, Inc., Dairy Farmers of America and Land O’Lakes. The measure, AB 2505, was authored by Assemblywoman Yamada (D-Davis).

Ag Council was concerned the proposed exemptions for certain farms could endanger public health and any resulting illness linked to raw milk could jeopardize the entire California dairy industry.

AB 2505 did not have the votes needed for passage. Out of the seven legislators on the Ag Committee, four expressed opposition to the measure during the hearing on AB 2505. The legislators primarily cited health and safety concerns. Given that the majority of the committee did not support AB 2505, no motion was made to move AB 2505 to a vote, and the bill was held in committee.

Ag Council appreciates the bipartisan group of four legislators who expressed opposition to the bill during the committee discussion: Assemblywoman Olsen (R-Modesto), Assemblyman Pan (D-Sacramento), Assemblyman Dahle (R-Bieber) and Assemblyman Quirk (D-Hayward).

Poll Shows Solid Support for Gov. Brown

A Field Poll conducted in March and April reveals that Governor Jerry Brown, who is up for reelection in November, has a job approval rating of 59 percent among registered voters. This is the highest rating since Governor Brown was elected in 2010. The poll shows 32 percent disapprove of the governor’s job performance.

When viewed through the lens of party registration, Governor Brown’s job approval rating is at 76 percent among registered Democrats, 60 percent among decline-to-state voters, and 35 percent among Republicans.

The Field Poll also asked participants who they would vote for in the June primary this year. Fifty-seven percent of likely voters said they would vote for Governor Brown and 17 percent said they would vote for Tim Donnelly, an assemblyman from San Bernardino County.  Two candidates are polling in the single digits: Andrew Blount, a mayor and businessman from Orange County, is at 4 percent and investment banker Neel Kashkari is at 3 percent. Twenty percent said they are undecided.

Click HERE to see more results from the latest Field Poll.