State Sen. Lois Wolk, who chairs the Senate Governance and Finance Committee, criticized Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg on Friday for cutting off a cable television broadcast of her committee hearing Wednesday.
The hearing -- one required by law -- was called to present facts and pro and con arguments about four pending ballot measures, Propositions 30, 31, 38 and 39, and as it opened, Wolk said she hoped it would give voters with information to cast informed votes.
But just before the hearing began, someone from Steinberg's office ordered the California Channel, a public affairs channel carried by most California cable systems, to not air the hearing.
A Steinberg spokesman said later that it was to prevent advocates and opponents of the measures from using recordings of the hearing in campaign advertising.
"The decision not to broadcast the hearing was made by the president pro tempore's office without my knowledge or consent, or that of my staff," Wolk said in a statement. "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."
Steinberg has strongly backed Proposition 30, a sales and income tax increase sponsored by Gov. Jerry Brown. One of the opponents to the measure, Jon Coupal of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, cited Steinberg's approval of Senate staff raises as a reason not to vote for the measure. But his testimony, along with that of others on the four measures, was confined to the hearing room and a difficult-to-find Internet audio feed.