What: All Issues : Government Checks on Corporate Power : Agriculture : Legislation designed to overcome a court decision that reduced the flow of water in the California Central Valley - - on a motion to table (kill) an appeal of a ruling of the chair that a move to bring the legislation to a vote was not in order
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Legislation designed to overcome a court decision that reduced the flow of water in the California Central Valley - - on a motion to table (kill) an appeal of a ruling of the chair that a move to bring the legislation to a vote was not in order
house Roll Call 616     Jul 23, 2009
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Progressive

There had been an ongoing dispute between farmers and environmentalists regarding the protection of a small fish that lives in the Sacramento River in the Central Valley of California. The environmentalists had won a federal court ruling to limit water flow in the river in order to protect the fish. This dispute was occurring during a period of severe drought, which was causing major problems for Central Valley farmers. Legislation designed to overcome the court ruling, called the “Turn on the Pumps Act”, had been introduced by Members representing the Central Valley. That bill had been referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources, which would not report it to the full House for consideration.

A resolution to force the Natural Resources Committee to report the bill for House consideration had been offered by Rep. Nunes (R-CA), who represents part of the Central Valley. He called the resolution a matter of “privilege”. Under House procedures, “matters of privilege” are voted on immediately. The Nunes resolution had been ruled out of order by the chair because House rules do not permit a “privileged” resolution to be used to force a committee to report a bill. Nunes appealed that ruling. This was a vote on a motion to table (kill) his appeal.

Speaking in support of his resolution and his appeal of the ruling, Nunes said that passage of the “Turn on the Pumps Act” would “rectify the problems that the Democrat leadership has created out in California. If we move forward with this today, 40,000 people can go back to work . . . .”

The appeal of the ruling was killed by a vote of 249-179 along almost straight party lines. Two hundred and forty eight Democrats and one Republican voted “aye”. One hundred seven-five Republicans and three Democrats voted “nay”. As a result, the House decided not to force the Committee on Natural Resources to report legislation overcoming the federal court decision limiting Central Valley water flow.

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