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PARLIER February 13, 2019 – Governor Gavin Newsom today signed his first bills as Governor, focusing on drinking water and fire recovery. Alongside students, teachers and community leaders, the Governor signed Assembly Bills 72 and 73 at Riverview Elementary School in Parlier — a school where kids have been without safe drinking water for almost a year.
Governor Newsom heard from parents who are forced to drop water bottles off at the principal’s office when their kids forget them at home, and he listened to teachers who worried whether their students were unknowingly using unsafe water from their home faucets.
“This legislation provides emergency funding as a down payment — but it’s only the first step to addressing the clean drinking water crisis in our state,” said Governor Newsom. “The fact that more than a million Californians can’t rely on clean water to drink or bathe in is a moral disgrace. Our state must forge a long-term solution to this crisis, and I’m looking forward to working with the Legislature in the coming months to do just that.”
AB 72 and AB 73 are early action budget bills that provide urgent assistance for communities that have contaminated and unsafe water and also support communities that have been rocked by California wildfires. Hundreds of water systems across the state are contaminated by lead, arsenic, or uranium.
AB 72 appropriates $10 million General Fund to continue funding for emergency drinking water projects and adds $10 million General Fund to local water districts for technical assistance related to compliance with current drinking water standards.
The legislation also clarifies that funding in last year’s budget for drinking water in schools can be given as grants to public agencies, public water systems, or non-profit organizations to help with water management, and re-appropriates the balance of 2016 drinking water funds for schools.
Tomorrow, Governor Newsom will travel to Butte County to meet with Paradise residents and survivors of the Camp Fire, and highlight emergency funding in the bills for fire recovery and emergency preparedness.