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CA Supreme Court Discusses Legality of Furloughs

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The hotly debated issue of state worker furloughs came before the California Supreme Court Wednesday. At issue is whether a lower court was correct when it ruled the governor does not have the authority to order furloughs.

Attorney David Tyra, who represents the governor, says Schwarzenegger has existing authority to furlough state authorities, but a San Francisco appellate court earlier this month didn’t agree – upholding a judges order blocking those furloughs for more than 140,000 state workers.

Now the case is bumped up to the high court in San Francisco, where Tyra argued that not only does the governor have authority to alter workers hours, just as he has to layoff workers, it was the only way to deal with a budget meltdown that required immediate action.

Still, opponents, auguring for state workers say the furloughs violate state worker contracts.

Here the governor claims that certain statutes give him the power to cut hours, and therefore to cut pay,” said Attorney Patrick Wheland. “While we disagree with that, even if the statutes at issue in this case did delegate to the governor the power to cut hours, those statutes are superseded by the parties’ labor contracts.”

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