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Legislative leaders are expected to announce today the picks for a 14-member joint committee tasked with crafting a water plan that will go up for a floor vote in the final days of the session.

The Fresno Bee's E.J. Schultz has more on the main points of contention as lawmakers try to close a deal on a plan that can pass both houses before the Sept. 11 end of session deadline.

Democrats, who will control the conference committee, are pushing for an independent council to oversee the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the source of farm and drinking water for much of the state.

Republicans are skeptical about creating such a council, which they fear would block a proposed canal that would pump water around the delta southward. Delta residents, who strongly oppose the canal, look at the council very differently -- they worry its sole mission would be to build a canal.

So negotiations will likely center on the council's makeup and powers.


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