The 2014 Environmental Legislative Recap: An Election Year Drought*
by Gary A. Lucks**
The 2014-2015 Legislative Session yielded 930 new laws amid the back drop of an extended three-year drought and a low key, off-year election. Governor Jerry Brown sailed to an unprecedented fourth term. He staked his low-key reelection strategy backing a statewide water bond and an expanded rainy day fund, both of which were approved overwhelmingly. The rainy day funding formula was reconfigured to earmark revenues from the state’s general fund to strengthen the reserve and pay down state debt.
Water supply and water quality policies dominated the legislative session with the Legislature crafting a first-ever comprehensive groundwater management program for the state. Governor Brown was less willing to sign legislation crafting other new programs. Rather, the Governor was more apt to approve adjustments to existing programs that are designed to optimize program performance. Nonetheless, Governor Brown approved a balanced and wide-ranging collection of new environmental, health, and safety laws.
WATER QUALITY AND WATER SUPPLY