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Rincon chairman testifies at state capitol hearing

The California State Assembly Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife, chaired by Marc Levine, held a hearing on February 2 on Proposition 1, California’s Water Bond: The Water Quality, Supply & Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014.

Rincon Tribal Chairman Bo Mazzetti was one of two state tribal leaders, together with Craig Tucker of the Karuk Tribe, requested to testify before the Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee.

On November 4, 2014, voters approved Proposition 1 with 67% of the vote. Proposition 1, also referred to as the “Water Bond” provides $7.545 billion in general obligation bond funding for various water-related projects and programs. Voter approval of Proposition 1 provides permission for the State to sell general obligation bonds up to the total amount specified, and only for the purposes set out in specific chapters.

“Proposition 1 bond funding is likely to stretch out over many years,” said Chairman Mazzetti. The Chairman explained that portions of the funding will be proposed each January in the Governor’s budget and then responded to by the Legislature through the budget appropriation process where the amounts could be reduced, enlarged, accepted as-is, or provided additional parameters in budget language.

Governor Brown is proposing additional appropriations from Proposition 1 in the 2016-2017 state budget. The four new proposed expenditures include appropriations for the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement; the Central Valley Project Improvement Act; the San Joaquin River Settlement Agreement that includes a portion to the Department of Fish and Wildlife; and a proposal to protect the habitat for the Salton Sea.

“It is very important that the state’s tribes and their tribal leaders be directly involved in the budgeting process when it comes to statewide water issues,” said Chairman Mazzetti. “In the past the tribes were ignored by the state legislature when it came to issues that impacted tribes and reservations. Rincon has taken a strong leadership position over the past six to eight years in not only bringing recognition of the tribes by the legislature, but also including tribal leaders in the legislative and budgeting process – especially those issues affecting the state’s tribes.”

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