California lawmakers are on their version of Spring Break this week, so there’s been a bit of a drought, if you will, of news about bills and other legislative moves.

But the big news of the week was Gov. Jerry Brown’s move to implement the state’s first mandatory urban water restrictions. (Yes, politicians continue to take a bold anti-drought, pro-not-dying-of-thirst stance.)

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It’s a good time, then, to pool together some of the best water stories to trickle out over the past few years. (Once you start with water puns, it’s hard to stop.)

First, Vox works its magic explaining just what Brown’s move this week does.

And here’s a recap of what’s in the $1 billion emergency drought relief bill lawmakers pushed through late last month.  (Capitol Public Radio)

A reminder: Water is far too cheap in most places. (New York Times) And desalination is really, really expensive. (VOSD)

San Diego thinks it’s in a better position water-wise than some of the more water-strapped regions in the state. (VOSD)

Rancho Santa Fe couldn’t care less about a drought. (New York Times)

These products made and grown in San Diego and across the state suck up an awful lot of water. (VOSD)

All Eyes on Police

San Diego Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, who represents southeastern San Diego, has been thinking about cops a lot lately. She’s introduced bills that address everything from police body cameras, to data collection during traffic stops, to documenting use-of-force incidents.

In a Q-and-A with Liam Dillon, Weber says she had sort of an Aha Moment when she observed protests against police shootings happening locally and around the country, and told Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, “You are the speaker of the Assembly. I’m the chair of the state budget committee. We got juice. How do we use this juice? How do we try to intervene on behalf of our communities to make a difference?”

The U-T has a breakdown of Weber’s bill addressing police body cameras. It would forbid officers from viewing footage before they write a report. The rationale is that officers could use the footage to spot things that they might not remember on their own but can be used against a defendant. And defendants don’t have access to the footage initially (if at all), so there’s a fairness element at play as well.

There are at least seven different bills before the Legislature this session that address police body cameras. Not all of them have been fleshed out yet – one from state Sen. Joel Anderson, for example, still only has placeholder text, but indicates it will address citizen privacy issues.

State News Hits

Speaker Toni Atkins is part of a group that headed to Cuba during the spring recess. “The Assembly trip is organized by a Sacramento non-profit whose board members include lobbyists.” (Capitol Public Radio)

California’s out of room on death row. (Los Angeles Times)

State leaders regularly use private email to conduct government business.

“The Assembly does not have a policy on non-state emails used for state purposes, as the focus has always been to make sure state resources are not being used for private purposes,” Speaker Toni Atkins’ deputy chief of staff told the Associated Press.

Locally, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith was rapped by a judge in January for refusing to turn over emails from a private account. (Reader)

San Diego places in the top three statewide for counties with the highest number of “No Party Preference” voters, according to new data released by the secretary of state.

San Diego’s Shawn VanDiver has an op-ed in the Sacramento Bee urging leaders to reform the state’s “vile” referendum process, and describes the ways in which it’s been used locally.

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is not a fan of Indiana’s freedom-to-discriminate law. (Washington Post)

What California can teach other states about regulating climate change. (New Yorker)

Sara Libby was VOSD’s managing editor until 2021. She oversaw VOSD’s newsroom and content.

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