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Brown, Lawmakers Extend Water Bond Talks


UPDATE at 6pm: The governor has signed the legislation. “Today’s legislative action provides additional time to get an acceptable water bond -- one that’s affordable and considers the needs of all Californians,” Brown said in a statement. “Let’s work together to get this done.”

UPDATE at 4:50pm: The California Legislature has approved both bills; they now go to Gov. Jerry Brown.

UPDATE at 2:20pm: California lawmakers are poised to vote Monday afternoon to extend Monday’s deadline for the Secretary of State’s office to print November election voter guides. The 48-hour extension would give Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders more time to negotiate a replacement to the $11 billion water bond on the November ballot.

Democratic Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins says it was a “pretty productive weekend” of negotiations. “We have worked very hard to get to the point where we are today. It has been difficult. We’re almost there; not quite. I’m optimistic we’ll be able to come together.” 

Brown and Democratic leaders are expected to release a draft of a potential deal Monday afternoon. Legislative sources tell Capital Public Radio it’s a $7.2 billion bond, with $2.5 billion set aside for surface storage projects like dams and reservoirs. The governor's initial public proposal last week was a $6 billion bond with $2 billion for storage.

But Republicans and environmental groups are already raising concerns with that proposal.

Lawmakers are also moving legislation forward that would make any water bond deal “Proposition 1” on the November ballot – and shift the “rainy day fund” currently on the ballot as “Prop 44” to “Prop 2.”


ORIGINAL STORY: Monday is a key deadline for water bond negotiations. It's the date the Secretary of State's office is supposed to begin printing voter guides for the fall election.

But there's no deal yet to replace the $11 billion water bond on the November ballot. So Democratic leaders are preparing legislation that would push that deadline back to later in the week.

The two sticking points in negotiations are how much money should be set aside for surface storage projects like dams and reservoirs; and whether the bond should be "tunnel neutral" - that is, it would neither help nor hurt the governor's proposal to build twin tunnels underneath the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

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