A proposed restoration of news media interview access to California’s state prisoners—legislation repeatedly vetoed over more than a decade by three prior governors—has passed its first two committees in the state Assembly and awaits a vote next week on the Assembly floor. AB 1270 by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) was initially referred to the suspense file by the Assembly Appropriations Committee yesterday (Thursday, January 19) but later that day was approved by the committee on a straight 11-5 party line vote. The bill’s previous attempts were each passed by the Legislature but vetoed by three prior governors since the press was cut off from arranging timely interviews with inmates in the 1990s after the publication of various media stories exposing problems in prison. It would, as summarized by Legislative Counsel, “require the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, upon reasonable notice, to permit representatives of the news media to interview prisoners in person, as specified. The bill would forbid retaliation against an inmate for participating in a visit by, or communicating with, a representative of the news media.”