Friday, June 16, 2006
Assembly Rejects Bid to Ease Passage of Bill on Divorce Records
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The state Assembly yesterday rejected a proposal to allow a bill that would permit financial records in divorce proceedings to be “redacted” upon request of either party to pass with a simple majority, rather than as an urgency measure requiring a two-thirds vote..
The bill, SB 1015, had been on the Assembly inactive file but was revived earlier this week at the request of its author, Sen. Kevin Murray, D-Los Angeles. Yesterday’s amendment, also authored by Murray, would have removed from the bill an urgency clause which allows the bill to take effect immediately upon passage but requires a two-thirds majority vote for the bill to pass.
Without the clause, the bill could pass with a simple majority, but will not take effect until Jan. 1.
The amendment was declared to have passed after a voice vote, but then a roll call vote was requested and resulted in a deadlock with 31 votes being cast in favor and 31 against.
Murray did not return a MetNews phone call.
Tom Newton, general counsel for the California Newspaper Publishers Association, which opposes the bill, commented to the MetNews that lines in the Assembly seem 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 in its present form. He also said that majority Democrats plan to meet next Tuesday to discuss the future of the bill.
CNPA is unenthusiastic about a proposal to give a judge some discretion in deciding whether such documents should be “redacted,” Newton explained. “Our advice is just kill [SB 1015].”
The bill is 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.
The state Supreme Court declined to hear the case last month.
Burkle, former owner of the Ralphs supermarket chain, has lavished contributions on political figures in both parties, and is backing the current bill, Newton said. Burkle’s attorney told the Sacramento Bee last month that Burkle supports the bill’s purpose, but would not personally benefit from it because the press has already obtained his financial information.
Copyright 2006, Metropolitan News Company