LOS ANGELES (AP) _ It could be a wonderful afterlife for late film director Frank Capra if the California Legislature approves a bill that would forgive his tax debts in exchange for his property.

Capra, director of such classics as ``It's a Wonderful Life'' and ``Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,'' died in 1991 owing the state $1.2 million.

A proposed bill would allow the state to acquire 160 acres of Southern California wildland owned by Capra to forgive his tax debts.

The land has ``priceless environmental value,'' said the bill's sponsor, Assemblywoman Sheila Kuehl.

The property is along the Backbone Trail _ a hiking trail federal and state parks officials hope will eventually wind from Will Rogers State Historic Park in Los Angeles County to Point Mugu State Park in Ventura County.