By Andy Furillo
Published: Friday, Dec. 18, 2009 – 12:00 am | Page 4A

A lobbyist group’s lawsuit to kill a ballot measure that wants the influence industry to pay for an experiment in public campaign financing has been kicked out of Sacramento Superior Court.

Judge Michael P. Kenny, in a ruling last month, said the Institute of Governmental Advocates and other plaintiffs can’t pursue the action until and unless voters approve the measure.

The lobbyist plaintiffs, meanwhile, have filed a writ in the California 3rd District Court of Appeal to try to knock the measure off the June 2010 ballot.

The proposal, which the Legislature placed on the ballot, would require lobbyists, lobbying firms and lobbyist employers to pay $700 each to fund California’s campaigns for the secretary of state elections in 2014 and 2018.

Derek Cressman, the Western states regional director for Common Cause, said the demurrer granted by Kenny on Nov. 20 and the vacating of today’s court date on what was supposed to be a hearing on the merits of the suit, effectively terminates the lobbyists’ effort.

A federal judge had previously dismissed an identical measure that the lobbyists filed in U.S. District Court in Sacramento.

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