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Governor’s line-item vetoes illegal, legal opinion states

A legal opinion obtained by Assemblyman John Perez, D-Los Angeles, finds the latest cuts made by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger may be against the law. 

"The vetoes appear to have exceeded the Governor’s authority under Article IV, Section 10 of the California Constitution," states the opinion from attorney Stephen Kaufman.

Perez sent an e-mail to his Assembly colleagues this week, urging them to hammer on the budget cuts to their constituents. 

"Madame Speaker and I are asking you to drive home this message in your districts – “the Governor has acted illegally”.  This is the message that we encourage all of you to be sharing with your constituents," the e-mail states.

The governor has maintained that he was within his power to make those additional cuts. Democrats argue that certain cuts, including the cuts to Healthy Families, MediCal, in-home suppport services, state parks and domestic violence shelters are against the law. They say other cuts to child welfare services, the California Conservation Corps are most likely legal.

Below is a copy to the e-mail from Perez, and a copy of the legal opinion from Kaufman.

TO:  Democratic Caucus
 
FR:    Assemblymember John A. Pérez
           Democratic Caucus Chair
 
RE:  Legality of the Governor’s Blue-Pencil Action
 
 
Members I am writing to inform you that I have sought legal counsel to render an analysis on the actions Governor Schwarzenegger has taken with his blue-pencil.  Preliminary analysis from my attorney is that the vetoes appear to have exceeded the Governor’s authority under Article IV, Section 10 of the California Constitution.  In short the Governor’s vetoes exceed the authority granted under the California Constitution.  The Governor has clearly violated his authority and the constitution.
 
I want to be clear, not only are his actions heartless, but more importantly his actions are illegal.  Madame Speaker and I are asking you to drive home this message in your districts – “the Governor has acted illegally”.  This is the message that we encourage all of you to be sharing with your constituents.
 
This morning I shared this opinion on “Good Day LA”, Channel 11 TV and on KPPC talk radio with Larry Mantel.
 
Enclosed is a legal opinion from my attorney, Stephen J. Kaufman, on this issue.  I have also enclosed legal talking points provided by my attorney.  Please feel free to use these legal talking points in your districts. 

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