Assemblyman Bill Brough joined with three fellow Republican Assembly members on Tuesday to call for a special session to address the state’s drought issues.
Because of this crisis, Californians are hurting, measures taken thus far have failed and the credibility of state government is on the line,” said Brough, R-Dana Point. “While California is in a supposed state of emergency, those in charge appear to be in a state of sluggishness.”
The Assembly members delivered a formal request Tuesday to Gov. Jerry Brown to call for a special legislative session.
The Assembly members who joined Brough in making the call for a special session, James Gallagher of Nicolaus, Jim Patterson of Fresno and Devon Mathis of Visalia, cited reports that as much as half of $687 million set aside to help drought-plagued areas in the state has not been spent.
“The state bureaucracy is never nimble, but in this case, its performance has been unforgivably slow,” Mathis said.
“We’re just not seeing anything like the commitment necessary to help Californians in need. Only a special session can spur the kind of action that will make an impact as soon as possible.”
Gareth Lacy, a spokesman for Brown, disputed the money for drought efforts is languishing.
“We continue to operate under the drought state of emergency declared by Governor Brown and there is a sound process — not dependent on a special session — already in place to ensure drought assistance and bond funds are not only spent quickly, but properly,” Lacy told City News Service.
“To date, hundreds of millions (of dollars) have been committed to emergency drought relief, disaster assistance, water conservation and infrastructure projects across California — with much more on the way. This investment and response is the product of Republicans and Democrats setting aside politics and working together, rather than just issuing blustery press releases.
“In fact, just this month, the Department of Water Resources announced new rebate programs — financed by Proposition 1 — to help Californians replace old appliances and tear out water-guzzling lawns and the California Energy Commission approved new standards for shower heads expected to save more than 38 billion gallons in 10 years. Californians are also responding with unprecedented conservation efforts, even exceeding the governor’s order to reduce water usage by 25 percent.”
— City News Service