Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Patrick Marlette today denied Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's request to immediately compel State Controller John Chiang to pay state employees minimum wage.
The denial means there will be a hearing on the issues on July 26, with a full hearing sometime in August, but Marlette's ruling is a boost for about 200,000 state workers, who were facing paychecks for $7.25 an hour for the July pay period. Chiang has said he would issue full pay unless the legal process went against him before July 22, the cutoff to send payroll to the check printer.
Today's hearing extended a stop-and-start legal battle between Chiang and Schwarzenegger stretching back to the state's last budget impasse in the summer of 2008.
Then, as now, Schwarzenegger invoked a 2003 state Supreme Court ruling to order state workers' pay withheld to the least allowed under federal law when the state fails to appropriate money for payroll by the July 1 start of a fiscal year. Once a budget is in place -- which could take weeks or months -- the employees receive their withheld pay.
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