San Francisco Chronicle: California consumer privacy bill dies

Christian Berthelsen reports on the state Assembly’s failure to pass SB773, the Financial Information Privacy Act of 2002.

Moderate Democrats joined Republicans to defeat the bill on a 34-36 vote, ending what was possibly the most contentiously debated piece of legislation this year.

The closely watched political drama pitted consumer advocates against banks and insurers, which spent more than $10 million on lobbying and campaign donations.

“I will not stop until we have a strong privacy law in effect,” said the bill’s author, Sen. Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough.

It is now very likely that the next step for this legislation will be to take the whole issue completely out of the legislator’s hands via a citizen-sponsored initiative campaign. From the San Jose Mercury News article on the act’s defeat last night:

Despite defeat, privacy proponents remain undeterred. A coalition to put the issue to voters has already received a $1 million donation. And a poll commissioned by supporters showed 77 percent of Californians in favor of Speier’s bill and just 14 percent opposed.

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