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Senate Democrats put forth $7.5 billion water bond plan

Senate Democrats trim $3 billion from their water bond proposal
Senate Republicans say they were not involved in water bond negotiations and do not support the new plan

Senate Democrats knocked $3 billion off their water bond proposal Thursday, putting forth a $7.5 billion plan just as the Legislature adjourned for its month-long summer recess.

The measure is a scaled-back version of the $10.5 billion bond by Sen. Lois Wolk (D-Davis) that failed to pass the Senate last week. The revised plan would allocate $2 billion for surface and groundwater storage projects, $850 million for Delta levees and habitat restoration, and $1 billion for groundwater cleanup.

"Our message to the water stakeholders and the members, especially on the Republican side, is this: take us up on our offer to get a responsible water bond done as soon as possible when we return in August. We are ready to go," said Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento). 

But Republicans were not involved in efforts to pare down Wolk's $10.5 billion plan. No GOP senator voted for the measure last week.

"We've not seen language. There's been no conversations with Republicans. And it has a billion dollars less for storage," said Peter DeMarco, spokesman for the Senate Republican caucus. "So this version does not have support from our caucus and won't see any support for it."

There won't be any action on this or other water bond proposals any time soon. The Legislature is off for summer break until Aug. 4. 

"We wanted to leave before the recess making it clear that we're willing to come down from our $10.5 billion bond," Steinberg said.

"We'll be working during the summer," he added.

Follow @melmason for more on California government and politics.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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