Senate committee calls for more equity in Paso water district
June 10, 2014
A California Senate committee and a state legal agency are recommending that legislators amend a bill creating a water district in Northern San Luis Obispo County such that it would allow for more equity in representation of residents in the area. [Tribune]
AB 2453, sponsored by San Luis Obispo Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian, proposes a water district in the Paso Robles water basin that would concentrate power largely in the hands of major landowners. The district, as currently proposed, would consist of a one-acre, one-vote system and a board of directors comprised entirely of basin landowners.
But, the Senate Governance and Finance Committee and the California Office of Legislative Counsel have recommended changing the makeup of the district board to allow residents in the district who do not own land to run for three at large seats on the nine-member board.
Negotiations are currently underway to make the amendment to the bill. The recommended amendment would require that residents be registered voters in the district in order to run for the three at large board seats.
The Senate committee must finalize amendments to the bill and send it to the Senate floor by June 27. Though the bill has already passed the Assembly, it would have to return to the lower house if the Senate approves any amendments.
The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors has already voiced support for the proposed amendment, as have two groups backing the bill — Pro Water Equity and Paso Robles Agricultural Alliance for Groundwater Solutions.