Today’s News: Lawmakers backpedal on access laws; Shocked peers mourn Gandolfini; Dead over a dollar

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Right to know. Sacramento lawmakers are rethinking changes to the state’s open records laws amid a barrage of criticism from media organizations and watchdog groups. But opinions remain split about what to do about the political kerfuffle.

The changes were included in trailer bills attached to the state’s $96 billion budget. They would free the state from its obligation to pay back local governments for the cost of making public documents available. The idea was too save the state money, but critics said the move could severely restrict access to local records by making access to records a suggested policy rather than a requirement.

Assembly leaders want to remove the provisions included in the budget bills sent to the governor. But Senate leaders say they oppose that idea. Instead, they want to introduce a Constitutional Amendment that would require a statewide vote. The amendment would make compliance mandatory, but it would require that local governments foot the bill. Gov. Jerry Brown supports the Senate proposal.

Democrats will ultimately decide the issue because they hold two-third majorities in both houses of the state Legislature, in addition to the governorship. Lawmakers are expected to try to meet again today to try to hammer out their differences. San Jose Mercury News

Gandolfini praise. Tributes are pouring in for actor James Gandolfini, who died of a heart attack yesterday while vacationing in Rome. The 51-year-old acted in movies and theater, but he will forever be known as Tony Sorpano, the volatile mob toss with the tortured psyche who ruled television for six seasons in the early 2000s on HBO. “Sopranos” creator David Chase calls Gandolfini “a genius,” and “one of the greatest actors of this or any time.” Spranos co-star Lorraine Bracco says “I’m extremely heartbroken.” ABC News

Hollywood stabbing. L.A. Police say a woman was stabbed to death in Hollywood because she refused to pay $1 to three transients after taking a photo of their home-made signs. Three men have been arrested are due in court today in the death of 23-year-old Christine Calderon. The incident happened just after sunset Tuesday near Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue, in the heart of the Hollywood tourist district. Police say Calderon and a co-worker were attacked after she used her cell phone to take a picture of the signs, which featured profane requests for money. L.A. Times

New ballgame. A federal judge in the Bay Area will hear arguments today on a lawsuit filed by former college athletes seeking compensation for commercial use of their likenesses. The suit – first brought in 2009 by former UCLA player Ed O’Bannon – could potentially cost the NCAA billions of dollars. Bill Russell, Oscar Robertson and other high-profile former college stars have joined the suit and the plaintiffs are seeking class action status, which would open the doors to thousands of new claims. The athletes say they should be paid when the NCAA licenses their images for use in video games, trading cards and other business ventures. The NCAA says students give up those rights when they accept college scholarships. Sports Illustrated

‘Hi yo’ auction. Lone Ranger fans have a chance this weekend to get their hands on some original gear worn by Clayton Moore in the 1950s TV show. A white Stetson, a powder blue suit and a double holster gun rig are among the items going on the auction block. There are also boots and a kerchief but, alas, no mask. The items are being sold by Moore’s daughter, Dawn Moore, who says she was an only child and has no children of her own to hand them down to. The auction is being held in Denver but bidders can make their offers by phone or online. L.A. Daily News