Allison Olson, CFRW Advocate
Friday, November 13, 2009
California Federation of Republican Women
Kathleen Brugger, President
As stated in last week’s Capitol Update, this week your CFRW Legislative Advocate will be answering your questions about the recently passed Water Package. I only received two questions, so if questions remain after this week, please feel free to send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will answer!
Early last week, the Legislature passed a 5 bill, $11.1 billion dollar water package. The $11.1 billion dollar bond will be presented to the voters on the November 2010 ballot. To read more about the specifics of the bill, please visit last week’s Capitol Update here.
1. Hi, you wrote that the conservancy won’t have the power of eminent domain. Isn’t a Joint Powers Agreement being created between different government agencies?
- In SB 1 X7 (Simitian, D-11), Section 32370 states: “ The conservancy shall not exercise the power of eminent domain.” Although a Joint Powers Agreement is not explicitly created within the bill, there is certainly the opportunity for one. Section 32368 states: “The conservancy may enter into an agreement with a government agency, nonprofit organization or private entity for the construction, management, or maintenance of facilities authorized by the conservancy.” This section certainly suggests that a JPA may be created, but that does not mean the conservancy will suddenly have the power of eminent domain. According to California Government Code 6500, any JPA must have mutual powers in order to exercise eminent domain. Since SB 1 X7 clearly states the conservancy will not have eminent domain powers, if it entered into a Joint Powers Agreement, that JPA would not have the power of eminent domain. But, this does not preclude an independent power from exercising eminent domain outside of the JPA with the conservancy.
2. Hi, I have a question regarding the practice of “log rolling” other types of legislation into a bill that is presented to solve one issue. Why is this done, and how can we get laws that stop congress/committees from doing this?
- Well, as the saying goes, politics is the second oldest profession in the world. The practice of log rolling has been around just as long. Legislators will trade votes on a particular bill for a vote on a bill more valuable to their issues. Usually a nice helping of “pork” will be added to a bill to make it more appealing and secure the votes necessary to pass it. This practice in politics is usually done to help politicians fund projects that only benefit their constituents, making it more likely they will be re-elected. Unfortunately, I don’t think there is an easy way to stop this practice at a state level, and it is also difficult to prevent at the local level. What makes it difficult is that when a legislator is successful in securing a pork project, it usually benefits a community or organization in his/her district, but at the cost of people across the state or nation. So the constituents of that district are happy, but they do not always realize the full effects of the pork project. It is important to hold your representatives accountable and let them know you do not agree with pork barrel spending.
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Although we are unable to give our members access to our web-based bill tracking service, there is a way you can find and monitor California legislation. You can access that information on the internet by going to the Legislature Home Page and completing the information on the right side by either indicating the bill number, the author, or key words. You can then subscribe to an email update and you will be notified when there is action on legislation of interest to you.
Disclaimer: The Capitol Update is an activity of the CFRW Advocate’s Office. The update is for information only. CFRW official positions on legislation are stated immediately preceding the stated legislation or immediately following the stated legislation in this report.