SACRAMENTO — The Senate on Tuesday passed a bill legalizing the decision of the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee to pay $750 each to 3,600 people who worked as volunteers.
The bill by Assembly Speaker Willie L. Brown (D-San Francisco) was passed 39 to 0 without debate on the Senate's "consent" calendar. It was returned to the Assembly for concurrence in amendments.
The bill followed the decision of the Olympic committee, a nonprofit corporation, to make the $750 payments to "the top 10%" of those who voluntarily supported or worked for it for periods of up to two years before and during the Games.
Committee section chiefs nominated those to receive the payments, which would amount to about $520 a person after tax deductions.
The legality of the payments was questioned by the attorney general's office, which said the payments could be a violation of the committee's articles of incorporation.
The bill authorizes payments of up to $1,000 a person to volunteers working for staging of national or international sports competitions, "whether or not there existed an expectation of payment at the time the services were rendered."
Another section of the bill makes it retroactive.
A spokesman for Brown said the Olympic committee wound up with a surplus of about $250 million. The money is being divided among the International Olympic Committee, national amateur sports associations and groups promoting youth sports in Southern California.