Groundwater Bills Amended; Floor Votes Expected Next Week

With less than two weeks remaining in the legislative session, key bills on groundwater management have been amended again and are expected to be taken up for floor votes sometime next week.

ACWA’s State Legislative Committee voted Aug. 19 to continue the association’s support-if-amended position on both groundwater management bills, AB 1739 by Assembly Member Roger Dickinson (D-Sacramento) and SB 1168 by Sen. Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) as they move through the legislative process.

Though the most recent versions of the bills reflect changes sought by ACWA, there remain several points of concern with the current language and amendments sought by other stakeholders.ACWA continues to seek amendments that reflect the association’s Board-approved recommendations outlined in our document “Recommendations for Achieving Groundwater Sustainability.”

Earlier this week, the bills – which previously were identical – were amended to distribute key provisions of the legislation between the two measures.

AB 1739 is awaiting action in the third reading file in the Senate, while SB 1168 is in the third reading file in the Assembly.

There is a possibility that policy committees in each house – the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee and the Senate Natural Resources Committee – could ask to hear the amended bills before they are taken up on the floor.

If the measures are approved on the floor, they will each return to their respective house of origin for concurrence on the amendments before going to the governor’s desk. It is expected that the governor would sign the bills as the administration has been heavily involved in the drafting process.