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A union-backed bill to require public companies to disclose in their annual statement the names of the five most highly compensated retirees fell one vote short in the state Senate Tuesday, but will be reconsidered by week's end.

Senate Bill 1208 by Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Fransisco, would not require companies to change retirees' benefits, but to share that information with the public.

"We just want to see it disclosed," Leno said. "We're not trying to tell anyone how to do their business."

Current law requires public companies to release the names of the five highest paid employees, but not retirees.

Sen. Mark Wyland, R-San Diego, said the Senate should instead ask businesses what California could do to make them profitable.

Others argued that spending by state departments should be addressed before public companies' retirees' compensation.

But Leno said disclosure is justified.

"To argue that shareholders have no right to know how their corporations, which they own, are being run with regard to these retirement packages is to suggest that they should not have information about what is being done with their property," Leno said.


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