The Legislature could cast votes on water policy and bond bills as early as today.
The plan to address the state's water storage and supply needs and make fixes to the environmentally damaged Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta has been split into two parts -- a policy bill that requires a majority vote and a $9.4 billion water bond proposal that must be approved by a two-thirds vote.
There are now several competing versions of the package floating around both houses. No surprise there, given the differing demands of Republicans and Democrats. Dems want a policy bill palatable to environmentalists, and Reeps want assurance that the bond money will go to dams and other storage projects. Add the competing interests of the home turfs of lawmakers hailing from different regions of the state, and then things really get complicated.
Both houses have scheduled floor sessions at noon, meaning the action will likely start sometime mid-afternoon.
Here was the game plan for the Senate side as outlined Friday by a spokeswoman for Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg:
The Senate plans to convene at noon and refer the bond proposal authored by Republican Sen. Dave Cogdill to the Senate Budget Committee.
That committee will then route the bill to the Budget Sub-Committee 2 on Resources, which will vote on the bill then send it back to the Budget Committee for another vote. If it survives that round, it will move to the Senate floor.
If the bond bill makes it to the floor for a vote, the Senate will likely take up an amended version of the policy bill Steinberg introduced last week.
Steinberg said Friday he's hoping to see the votes come through today or tomorrow. But of course, both houses must approve anything that makes it through the legislative obstacle course, so it could be a long day of action, or inaction.
One thing's for sure, we'll keep you posted.
On another special session watch: The Senate Education Committee is scheduled to meet at 10 a.m. to vote on two education reform bills. The measures, authored by Education Committee Chair Gloria Romero, D-Los Angeles, and Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, are among the proposals that supporters say would help California qualify for federal "Race to the Top" stimulus money.