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Judge Rules State Controller Can’t Block Lawmakers’ Pay Over Budget Impasse

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California State Controller John Chiang. (CBS)

California State Controller John Chiang. (CBS)

SACRAMENTO (CBS/AP) – A judge has affirmed an earlier ruling that the state controller does not have authority to withhold lawmakers’ pay when the Legislature fails to pass a balanced budget on time.

Sacramento County Superior Court Judge David Brown on Wednesday affirmed a tentative ruling he issued a day earlier after about one hour of arguments.

He found that state Controller John Chiang violated the separation of powers clause of the California Constitution.

Chiang said he was acting under 2010’s Proposition 25 when he determined the budget adopted by lawmakers was not balanced. He halted their pay for 12 days last year after deciding they had failed to meet their constitutional June 15 deadline for passing a balanced budget.

Their paychecks resumed after they passed a new budget, but Democratic leaders filed a lawsuit in January, arguing the controller overreached.

KCBS, CBS 5 and Chronicle Insider Phil Matier Reports:

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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