California is one step closer to becoming one of the first states to ban companies from asking job seekers and workers for their user names and passwords on Facebook and other social networking websites. The state Assembly on Thursday passed a bill sponsored by Assemblywoman Nora Campos (D-San Jose) that would make anything workers designate as private on social networks off-limits to employers. The bill, which passed the Assembly without a dissenting vote, now goes to the California Senate. Assembly Bill 1844 would not prevent employers from checking social networking websites for information that's publicly available. Employers frequently use social media to screen job applicants, but to avoid exposing themselves to liability, they generally stop short of asking to see private information, employment lawyers say. Judge Eugene Hyman says "Even though employers can't access social media passwords, there is plenty of information online."