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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on August 20th, 2014, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 15, Issue 24 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 15, Issue 24

Political Watch 8/21/14

• After months of party-line squabbling that followed January’s drought emergency declaration, Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation on Aug. 13 to put a comprehensive water bond before voters in November. “Water is the lifeblood of any civilization and for California, it’s the precondition of healthy rivers, valleys, farms, and a strong economy,” Brown said in a press release. “With this water bond, legislators from both parties have affirmed their faith in California’s future.” Voters will see a $7.5 billion measure that represents a compromise between Republicans and Democrats. The Sacramento Bee reported that Assembly members voted 77-2 in favor of the measure and then broke into applause. The Senate margin was 37-0. Watersheds around the state would receive $1.495 billion through the bond, $810 million would go to fortify local water systems, $520 million is allocated for increasing access to potable drinking water, $700 million is set aside for water recycling projects, $395 million for flood protection, and $900 million for groundwater, the Bee reported. State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) referred to the bill as a fiscally responsible water package, in a press release sent out by her office, adding that it will provide important funding for water supply, quality, and infrastructure improvements while simultaneously protecting the environment. “I’m pleased that in a state that is so regionally diverse and is sometimes divided, we were able to come together on a bond that offers something for all,” Jackson said in the release.

• California’s Department of Managed Health Care is reviewing whether it made the right call when approving health plans that limit abortion coverage, according to a KQED blog. Leaders of the California Legislative Caucus sent a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown on Aug. 13, asking him to urge the department to reconsider its recent position on what is considered a “medically necessary” abortion. Recently, two Catholic universities, Santa Clara and Loyola Marymount, announced their decisions to deny most abortion insurance coverage for their employees. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that until the current controversy arose, insurers in the state treated all abortions sought by women as medically necessary. The Chronicle added that the federal health care law doesn’t mandate insurance coverage, but California is one of few states that guarantees abortions rights by both statute and with privacy protections in the state Constitution. Marta Green, the Department of Health Care’s chief deputy director, told the Chronicle that the department was conducting an “in-depth analysis of the issue surrounding coverage for abortion services under California law.”

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