Assemblymember Steve Fox, D-Palmdale, of the 36th district voted in support of critical drought relief legislation that was approved by both the state Assembly and Senate, officials said Friday.
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The legislation would provide aid in the immediate and long term to the region and state as a whole, according to a news release by Fox’s office.
“What we voted on will go a long way toward mitigating some of the worst effects of the ongoing drought,” Fox said. “It will ensure access to emergency drinking water supplies and food assistance, employment training for drought-affected workers and efforts to mitigate the effects of little water by helping farmers switch over to the more efficient drip irrigation systems.”
Related Story: Santa Clarita Valley Water Action Plan Created For Drought
The legislation requires part of the funding already allocated in Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed 2014-15 state budget to immediately become available for use toward water efficiency grants, groundwater quality monitoring and additional grants for disadvantaged communities because the state cannot afford to wait out the usual budgetary process, according to the news release.
“The emergency drought legislation is a $687 million package,” said Sandra Kramer, a spokeswoman for Fox’s office. “First of all, it brings money into communities to build infrastructure, and projects that are already in the works are now going to be funded. The package also helps individuals and communities that are directly impacted by the drought, like agriculture communities, by providing emergency food, housing assistance and worker training. It goes directly to families that are impacted by drought.”
Senate Bill 104, the first piece of the legislation, received a vote of 33-3 by the state Senate and 68-1 by the state Assembly, both in favor of the bill, and the second piece, Assembly Bill 80, will be voted on sometime next week, Kramer said.
“Left unchecked, the drought has the potential to devastate the local economy,” Fox said. “This was the right thing to do.”
While final approval of the legislation is an ongoing process, both measures include an urgency clause to ensure they move quickly, officials said.
“One of the most important things that people need to remember is that the way out of this is going to involve everybody’s conservation efforts,” Kramer said. “The governor has asked people to conserve up to 20 percent of their water usage and there are ways that people can learn how to do that. We urge everybody to go to Mr. Fox’s website to get water saving tips.”
For more information on these water saving tips, click here.
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