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MAJ_CALIFORNIA_STATE_CAPITOL_2008.JPGFor a couple of weeks, media warriors for labor unions and local governments traded daily barrages of charges and countercharges over union-sponsored legislation aimed at curbing local officials' use of auxiliary organizations' funds for political campaigns.

And then, suddenly, it was over.

Late Friday, with most of the Capitol's denizens already departed for a long Labor Day weekend, the two warring factions announced that they had reached a compromise agreement.

The accord was announced simultaneously by Kathy Fairbanks, a spokewoman for the local governments, and Carroll Wills of California Professional Firefighters at 4:49 p.m., less than five hours after Wills had fired the last email blast alleging that the League of California Cities "stonewalls source of dark money."

The issue was Senate Bill 594, carried by Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, which would have prohibited local government groups such as the League of California Cities and the California State Association of Counties from using funds raised through nonprofit groups for ballot measure campaigns.

The unions said that the groups were indirectly using public funds for campaigns, while local government officials insisted that they were not public funds.

The compromise, which emerged from the Assembly Appropriations Committee, narrows the definition of "public funds," exempts school groups from the legislation and creates new transparency obligations.

PHOTO: The California state Capitol in Sacramento, Thursday, Dec. 25, 2008. The Sacramento Bee/ Michael Allen Jones


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