Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Flood Control Legislation

The ongoing discussions continue…

Editorial: Flood liabilities
Bill to reduce state risk faces key test
Published 12:00 am PDT Tuesday, June 5, 2007

The 2007 legislative session is shaping up to be a historic year for flood control --or more accurately -- ending the state's lack of control over flood risk and liability.

Key players are finally working together on solutions. They include Lois Wolk and Dave Jones in the Assembly, Mike Machado and Darrell Steinberg in the Senate and, most important, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. As noted on this page last week, the governor is floating a proposal that would prevent the approval of new subdivisions in flood basins that lack adequate levee protection.

If everything works out, the main players will come together on a bill, or a series of bills, that will guide the spending of flood bonds and reduce the risk for residents and state taxpayers.

Yet until such a deal is hatched, legislators need to continue advancing smart bills already on the table. One of those could come up as early as today on the Assembly floor.

For the second year in a row, Jones wants local governments to share liability with the state for flood damages in the Central Valley. Because of recent court decisions, state taxpayers can face liabilities of several billion dollars whenever a state-controlled levee breaks and floods hundreds of houses.