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Darrell Steinberg apologizes for barring televising of tax hearing

August 13, 2012 |  1:45 pm

Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) apologized Monday for blocking the televising of a legislative hearing last week about tax measures on the November ballot, saying it was a mistake. Steinberg said he acted out of concern the hearing would provide fodder for political ads.

"It wasn't right and won't happen again as long as I am here," Steinberg told reporters.

The Senate Governance and Finance Committee was holding a hearing last Wednesday on the arguments for and against Propositions 30, 38 and 39, and Steinberg’s office directed the California Channel not to show the hearing as part of its government programming on local cable systems.

Steinberg is a leading supporter of Proposition 30, Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to raise sales and income taxes, and the hearing featured criticism of the initiative.

Sen. Lois Wolk (D-Davis), chairwoman of the panel, said the decision last week not to broadcast the hearing was made by Steinberg’s office without her knowledge or consent.

"I strongly disagree with the decision, as the hearing was held to fulfill a state-mandated discussion on the initiatives so as to inform the public," Wolk said in a statement.

Last week, a spokesman for Steinberg said the order was given to prevent both sides of the issue from using excerpts of the hearing in campaign commercials. Audio of the hearing was available over the Internet.


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-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento