Thursday, May 25, 2006

State Flood Bills Afloat

In this editorial from today’s Bee, the latest on two flood bills in the California Legislature is discussed.

Here is an excerpt.

Editorial: A life jacket
Two flood bills, still afloat, come up today
Published 12:01 am PDT Thursday, May 25, 2006

Sensible bills often die senseless deaths in the Legislature. Until last week, it appeared Assemblyman Dave Jones' bill to protect state taxpayers from billion-dollar flood liabilities would meet such a fate.

Then, something remarkable happened. The Assembly Appropriations Committee -- to everyone's surprise -- passed AB 3050 by a 12-5 margin.

The panel's approval was a victory for taxpayers and a setback for the bill's powerful opponents -- particularly the League of California Cities, the Chamber of Commerce and the Building Industry Association. They want state government to retain sole legal liability when a levee breaks, even though the state has no control over development in floodplains.

AB 3050 moves to the Assembly floor today. It isn't the only timely flood bill lawmakers will hear. Back in Assembly Appropriations, the committee will vote on AB 1899, a bill by Lois Wolk of Davis known as the "show me the levees" legislation.

Wolk's bill would require cites and counties to demonstrate they have adequate levee protection before approving new construction in floodplains. One might think that would already be law. It is not. In Yuba County and Natomas, flood engineers are scrambling to upgrade levees to safeguard existing structures.