Slow start to negotiations for California water legislation

SACRAMENTO — With only 10 days to go in the session, state lawmakers are taking a final stab at solving California's water woes.

But the last-minute push for legislation got off to an inauspicious start Tuesday after leaders had trouble deciding who would serve on a newly formed committee charged with drafting a plan.

Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, announced his members for the joint Assembly-Senate 14- member panel in the morning. He promised to make water his top priority in the remaining days of session, which ends on Sept. 11.

"Water is the best opportunity we have right now to show that we can do something big," said Steinberg, who named himself as the panel's leader. "Maybe we won't get it done in the next 10 days," he added, "but I'm sure going to do my darnedest."

But the Assembly delayed its announcement of who would serve on the committee, forcing the postponement of the first meeting until today.

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