Half Moon Bay negotiating its surrender in Sacramento
The fate of AB1991’s successor now hinges on the cooperation of the bill’s opponents in the environmental community, reports Julia Scott in the County Times. This article does a great job of clarifying the arcane procedures of the state legislature that have made it so confusing to follow the bill’s progress and prospects. This is a must-read.
An amended bill would change the terms of the settlement agreement, which is tantamount to forfeiting the $18 million. It would likely also involve sending the amended language back to the Assembly for another floor vote, and possibly a new hearing by a committee. Before that can happen, however, the bill would need to be heard in a Senate Policy Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee by Aug. 15, followed by a floor vote in the Senate. (The bill has no Senate co-author, but could still be heard if a member volunteers to introduce it).
The last day both chambers can vote on any legislation is Aug. 31.
Paul Mason, legislative director for the Sierra Club in Sacramento, said the city had become much more receptive to negotiating an agreement in recent days when it became clear the bill was not likely to garner enough support in the Senate. AB 1991 is so controversial that every state Senator already knew about it by the time it passed in the Assembly, he said.
"Up until last week, they’ve been pushing forward with a kind of land, air and sea war to put their lobbyists on this — they were thinking, ‘If I ram hard enough, I’ll get what I want.’ And now it’s clear that’s not going to happen," said Mason. He would not describe the nature of the options under discussion, but said the talks were "initial and well-intentioned."
Mason suggested that an amended bill could still pass by the end of August.
"Extraordinary things can happen. A lot to this will come down to the city being realistic about what they’re entitled to," he said. "It should be clear by now that they’re not going to waive all environmental laws."