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News Posted on October 20, 2017

Professor Frank Urges Veto on California Water Bill

Professor of Environmental Practice Richard Frank ’74 drafted and sent an October 10th letter to California Governor Jerry Brown urging him to veto AB 313. That bill, which was passed in the waning hours of the California Legislature’s 2017 session, would have stripped the State Water Resources Control Board of its administrative powers to halt and penalize illegal diversions of water and transfer that authority to California’s Office of Administrative Hearings.

Professor Frank’s letter, which was co-signed by 20 California-based natural resources law professors, argued that AB 313’s proposed “reforms” were ill-advised and would add time and expense to often-urgent state efforts to curb illegal water diversions statewide. Professor Frank’s letter further noted that claims by AB 313’s proponents that the Water Board’s existing administrative authority raises due process concerns are effectively rebutted by a 2007 unanimous California Supreme Court decision finding the Board’s administrative enforcement procedures fully comply with constitutional requirements of due process.

On October 15, Governor Brown vetoed AB 313. In his message accompanying the veto, the governor expressed several of the same concerns about the bill set forth in Professor Frank’s letter.

Frank is a leader in the field of environmental law and the founding Director of the California Environmental Law and Policy Center at UC Davis School of Law.