SACRAMENTO (CBS / AP) — State Department of Justice special agents are suing Gov. Jerry Brown in a bid to block layoffs.

Attorney General Kamala Harris said $71 million in budget cuts over two years will force her to lay off 170 agents in December. That would virtually eliminate bureaus that coordinate marijuana eradication programs and task forces that target drugs and gangs.

The Association of Special Agents claims the cuts infringe on the attorney general’s constitutional authority. The lawsuit filed Wednesday in Sacramento County Superior Court also says it is illegal to eliminate agents’ duties without passing a separate law.

It accuses Brown of retaliating because the union endorsed his opponent, Republican Meg Whitman, last year.

Brown spokeswoman Elizabeth Ashford says the cuts reflect the state’s “harsh fiscal realities” and are not a vendetta.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Comments (2)
  1. Duncan20903 says:

    These people really are making a mockery of the history and purpose of labor unions. In 1890 these bums would have been Pinkertons. If there really is a law that says they have to get paid, does that also mean they have to be provided with police stations, cars, and all the other gizmos, gadgets and paraphernalia associated with modern law enforcement? What about overtime, is that also a codified entitlement for this particular litter of piglets squealing to suckle at the government teat? Can we put them all on administrative leave, send them a check for their 40 hour base pay and tell them to get lost? Better yet, could we rent them out for security personnel to recoup at least part of their costs?

  2. Brian says:

    Duncan. Put down the weed pipe and the porn, open your blinds in your 212 ft studio apartment in Berkley and check your expired drivers license. Your 52 years old divorced and your two kids who you thought were yours hate you. Your 18 months at San Fran state do not qualify you for any opinion on anything. Im actually surprised you have Internet. Well maybe not because your snagging it from your neighbor for free on your 1999 Dell computer. Leave comment sections to those who still have brain cells. Yours have obviously left the building.