Committees approve $687 million in drought relief

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - A $687 million drought-relief plan is headed for floor votes in the Legislature after winning quick approval in legislative committees.

Assembly and Senate budget committees passed the bills Wednesday, just days after the package was announced by Gov. Jerry Brown and the Democratic legislative leaders.

Most of the money will accelerate water conservation and recycling projects. The legislation also provides $15 million for communities with dangerously low water supplies and calls for increased penalties for illegal water diversions.

Republican lawmakers questioned the Democrats' plan to tap $40 million from a fund created for projects that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The governor's office says water efficiency and energy efficiency go hand-in-hand.

Both houses of the Legislature are expected to vote on the drought legislation Thursday.


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