Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Thursday, August 24, 2006


Page 1


Divorce Records Bill Apparently Dead for This Year


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Proponents have apparently given up, at least for this year, on passing a bill that would have permitted financial records in divorce proceedings to be “redacted” upon request of either party, subject to the power of the court to make the information public for good cause.

SB 1015 had been on the Assembly inactive file, but Assembly Majority Leader Dario Frommer, D-Glendale, gave official notice this week that he is removing the bill from the inactive list, thereby allowing amendments to be made to it.

A knowledgeable source told the MetNews that Frommer’s intent in allowing the bill to be amended is to completely change it so that it will no longer be a divorce-related bill. The action was not taken at the request of the bill’s author, Sen. Kevin Murray, D-Los Angeles, but had his blessing, the source said.

Tom Newton, general counsel for the California Newspaper Publishers Association, which opposes the bill, said the intent to gut the bill and replace it with something else “is fine with us.”

The bill was similar to one passed two years ago which was declared  unconstitutional in the divorce case of billionaire Ron Burkle. In that case, this district’s Court of Appeal  upheld Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Roy Paul’s ruling that the prior act violated the First Amendment.

In May the state Supreme Court declined to review the Court of Appeal’s decision.

In June the Assembly rejected by a 31-31 vote a proposal to allow the current bill to pass with a simple majority, rather than as an urgency measure requiring a two-thirds vote.

Newton commented that lines in the Assembly seemed to have been drawn along gender lines, with female members opposing the bill. Newton said proponents offered the amendment because they knew they did not have the two-thirds majority required for the bill’s passage.

Burkle, former owner of the Ralphs supermarket chain, has lavished contributions on political figures in both parties, and was backing the current bill, Newton said. Burkle’s attorney told the Sacramento Bee that Burkle supports the bill’s purpose,  but would not personally benefit from it because the press has already obtained his financial information.

Murray did not return a MetNews phone call. 


Copyright 2006, Metropolitan News Company