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Legislative leaders say they hope for a water deal this week

Legislators said today that they hope to reach a tentative deal by Friday on upgrading the state’s water system.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has demanded a water agreement before he’ll take action on the 700 bills on his desk. A Friday deal would give him two days to sign or reject the bills before a midnight Sunday deadline.

Schwarzenegger met for more than an hour today with the four top legislative leaders, who emerged saying that unresolved issues included the size of a water bond proposal.

"I am leaving the meeting feeling very positive that the governor knows how hard we are working on this [water] issue, that we will be able to work it through and that he will not do a mass veto of bills," said Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles).

The Legislature's leaders had been told by the governor and his staff that a mass veto was a possibility if lawmakers did not reach a water deal.

"The governor will consider every bill on its merits," Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear said today, without addressing the issue of mass vetoes. "Right now we’re focused on pushing the Legislature toward an agreement on water.”

-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

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