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Calif. Supreme Court allows governor to furlough state workers

People find the Department of Motor Vehicles office closed for a mandatory state furlough day in East Los Angeles Friday, July 10, 2009. Most California state government offices are closed Friday, the first of three monthly furlough days intended to save the state money.
People find the Department of Motor Vehicles office closed for a mandatory state furlough day in East Los Angeles Friday, July 10, 2009. Most California state government offices are closed Friday, the first of three monthly furlough days intended to save the state money.
AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

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Most California state workers will stay home this Friday without pay. The state Supreme Court today stayed a lower court ruling that had blocked Governor Schwarzenegger’s plan to furlough 144,000 state employees to save money until lawmakers pass a budget.

The governor saved $1 billion last fiscal year when he furloughed state employees three Fridays a month. 

This year, when lawmakers failed to enact a new budget by July 1, Schwarzenegger issued an executive order to resume the furloughs.

State workers sued to stop him.  They say the governor lacks the authority to order unpaid days off. 

Last week an Alameda County Superior Court judge ordered the governor to hold off on furloughs while the matter’s decided.

Schwarzenegger's attorneys asked the California Supreme Court to stay that order. 

The state's highest court granted the request — but only until it rules on the issue.  The California Supreme court has taken three cases that challenge the furloughs — and has scheduled a hearing on the matter on September 8. 

Schwarzenegger plans to furlough state employees three days this month: Friday the 20, the 27, and one additional floating furlough.