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BB Dave Cox.JPGIt took nearly a year and a committee shakeup for Assembly Bill 155 to make out of the Senate Local Government Committee.

Now, a month after the committee approved the measure, the committee chairman wants another shot at considering changes to the bill, which would make it more difficult for local governments to file for bankruptcy.

Senate Local Government Committee Chairman Dave Cox, R-Fair Oaks, wrote a letter to Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg yesterday asking that he route the bill back to the committee in light of amendments added May 20.

The measure, by Democratic Assemblyman Tony Mendoza of Artesia, would require that local entities get approval of the California Debt and Investment Advisory Commission before filing for Chapter 9 bankruptcy. The amendments create a mechanism for local public entities to override the decision of the commission.

Cox, who voted against the bill in committee, wrote in the letter that the amendments "raise substantial new policy questions" that the committee should review.

The measure is opposed by local government groups. It is backed by public employee unions and other labor groups, including the California Labor Federation, California School Employees Association and California State Employees Association.

The Appropriations Committee shipped the measure to the suspense file during yesterday's hearing. Because Appropriations is set to take up the suspense file Thursday, the Rules Committee will likely consider Cox's request when it meets tomorrow afternoon.

Click here to read the letter. Bee columnist Dan Walters writes more about the fight over this bill in this post.

PHOTO CREDIT: Sen. Dave Cox, R-Fair Oaks, talks on the floor Feb. 16, 2009. Sacramento Bee file photo, Brian Baer.

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