California Water Legislation Coming Soon
California Water Legislation Coming Soon

California Democrats battle over drought policy

The water shortage in California is nothing shy of a crisis. An even bigger problem is the Democratic leadership in Sacramento and Washington. While everyone agrees the state’s lack of water is a problem, politicians disagree on how to address the crisis.

So far, Senator Diane Feinstein has been seen as the leader of drought legislation, despite her lack of transparency with fellow legislators and the general public. On the other hand, Democrats are criticizing her efforts, saying it’s the “same old story.” Her resolutions – or lack thereof – seem to be the same, inside the box ideas.

Southern California legislators are bitter about Feinstein’s lack of inclusion in the legislative process. Representatives Grace Napolitano (D-El Monte) and Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) said they weren’t consulted on any legislative measures. Despite being the former chair of the House of Representatives Water, Power and Oceans subcommittee, Napolitano said she has yet to be included in how this legislation will impact areas of Southern California, primarily the Los Angeles region.

“I have no idea what they’re putting in there to deal with the next drought cycle,” Napolitano told McClatchy D.C.

A handful of legislators have said Feinstein’s office has failed to share the bill with them. While Representative John Garamendi (D-Walnut Grove) was included in initial talks with Feinstein and six other legislators, he received no response when he asked what else would be included in the bill.

“Sen. Feinstein is moseying around with something, but she won’t tell us what,” Garamendi told McClatchy D.C. “Same old story…. Those of us that represent the Delta and San Francisco Bay are not included in the process.”

“We certainly hear about it, involving a sub-group of stakeholders working on drafts that we haven’t been allowed to see,” Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif., said in an interview with McClatchy D.C. “Far from a transparent regular order, it feels like we’re right back to secrecy and exclusion, and that’s very disappointing.”

According to those close to Feinstein, she failed to consult Northern California Democrats because of what’s in the bill. The bill would reallocate water from their region to the San Joaquin Valley farms, which would keep Northern California Democrats from voting in favor of the bill.

“It doesn’t do any good to say ‘Let’s see your language so we can rip it apart,” Feinstein told McClatchy D.C.

On the other side of the aisle, Republican Representatives David Valadao (R-Hanford), Jeff Denham (R-Modesto) and Devin Nunes, (R-Fresno) have drafted legislation that could potentially be introduced in June.

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