Legislature tries to end Calif. furloughs | TheUnion.com

Legislature tries to end Calif. furloughs

SACRAMENTO -The California Legislature approved a Democratic bill Monday aimed at ending three-day-a-month furloughs for nearly 80,000 state employees.

However, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was expected to veto the measure.

“The governor cannot support any measure that would limit the state’s ability to respond to a fiscal emergency,” Schwarzenegger’s spokesman Aaron McLear said.

The bill by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, would reverse some of the 200,000 state employee furloughs imposed by Schwarzenegger.

The reversal would apply only to those workers whose wages are paid from sources outside the general fund such as the federal government or user fees.

Democrats argued that the furloughs cost the state more than it saves in wages because state auditors and money collectors are spending less time at work.

“We are losing $10 million per month in federal funds, just for failing to process disability claims,” said Assemblywoman Alyson Huber, D-Lodi.

State employee unions and others have filed more than 20 lawsuits challenging the furloughs.

An Alameda County Superior Court judge has issued several rulings against the policy and last month ordered back pay for more than 50,000 state workers he determined were illegally furloughed.

Schwarzenegger’s office appealed that ruling and has asked the state Supreme Court to consolidate all the furlough lawsuits.

The governor plans to end the furloughs when they expire at the end of June, McLear said.

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