Thursday, April 22, 2010

Bankruptcy bill finally clears committee
Highly controversial, union-backed legislation that would make it more difficult for local governments to declare bankruptcy has made it out of the Senate Local Government Committee after a nearly yearlong stalemate.

Assembly Bill 155 by Assemblyman Tony Mendoza, D-Artesia, was passed by the Assembly nearly a year ago, but was bottled up in the Senate Local Government Committee because one Democrat, Lois Wolk of Davis, refused to vote for it.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg removed Wolk from the committee and with the change, the measure was approved on a 3-2 party-line vote.

The measure, backed by public employee unions, would require local governments to get permission from the California Debt and and Investment Advisory Commission, which is dominated by Democratic officials with union ties, before filing for bankruptcy.

Local government groups oppose the measure, contending that it creates a mechanism for their unions to extract conditions, such as a pledge not to abrogate labor contracts, in any bankruptcy action. ...