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Governor Vetoes AB 313 but Leaves the Door Open to Future Changes in Water Rights Adjudications

Author: Bradley Herrema

Author: Jessica Diaz

On Oct. 15, 2017, California Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed Assembly Bill (AB) 313, authored by Assemblymember Adam Gray (D–Merced). AB 313, covered in an earlier blog post, proposed to shift hearing authority over water right violation matters from the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) to administrative law judges (ALJs). In his veto message, the governor signaled his support for having ALJs preside over “complex adjudicative matters,” but expressed concerns about AB 313’s stringent requirements for the new ALJs and the costs for water right holders. The governor directed Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency Matthew Rodriguez to provide recommendations on the role of ALJs in water right matters.

Based on the governor’s veto message, the debate over the State Water Board’s hearing process is far from over. Both proponents and detractors of AB 313 will be awaiting Secretary Rodriguez’s recommendations, due Jan. 1, 2018. A copy of the governor’s veto message can be found here.

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