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Public Access Bill Stalls In Assembly

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A constitutional amendment to bolster public access to government records and meetings has stalled again in the state Assembly.

The measure breezed through the Senate and three Assembly committees without opposition, but it became entangled in a state budget dispute and never came up for a vote in the full Assembly before lawmakers adjourned for the year early Saturday morning.

It could be taken up again when legislators begin their 2004 session in January.

The amendment became entangled in a dispute over whether to approve 126 million dollars in funding sought by Assembly Republicans for schools, sheriffs and other programs.

As a result of the disagreement, Assembly Republicans refused to vote on most legislation like the open government amendment that required a two-thirds majority to pass. An earlier version of the amendment stalled in the Assembly last year after Republicans refused to waive deadlines so it could be voted on late in the session.