Legislative panel OKs $1 billion water plan amid drought

Lawmakers in the Senate budget committee have approved a $1 billion proposal to speed up water projects in drought-stricken California, with few details on where most of the money will go.

The committee on Wednesday unanimously approved legislation for immediate drought relief and expedited infrastructure funding.

Republicans opposed a second bill that would allow state wildlife officials to fine people for illegally taking water, but it passed with Democratic support.

Nearly two-thirds of the $1 billion plan funds flood protection. The legislation doesn't say which levees, dams and communities would benefit.

A nonpartisan analyst says lawmakers typically know what flood protection projects they are approving. The legislation also allows state water officials to wait five years to select recipients.

The full Senate plans to consider the bills later Wednesday.

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