Thursday, July 1, 2004

Judge approves Fletcher's plan


State can spend at previous level

By Charles Wolfe
The Associated Press

FRANKFORT - A judge ruled Wednesday that Gov. Ernie Fletcher could run state government under his own spending plan since the General Assembly failed to pass a budget for the fiscal year that begins today.

Franklin County Circuit Judge Roger Crittenden said government could continue "at the last level the legislature approved ... in its last, regularly approved budget," which was passed last year.

Crittenden said that meant Fletcher could not undertake building projects or new programs not previously authorized and funded by the General Assembly. But neither would state government grind to a halt.

"I don't believe the legislative branch can destroy the government of the commonwealth by inaction," Crittenden said in a hearing. "The question is in the details of what the governor can be authorized to do."

Fletcher on Monday issued a "public services continuation plan" to run through Sept. 30 - the end of the first quarter of the fiscal year.

Crittenden said questions that would have to be litigated included whether state government and school employees would have to be given 5 percent pay raises, as specified in a statute. Fletcher's plan would give 2 percent raises.




TOP STORIES
Higher gasoline tax kicks in today
Pair of homers just divine for nun
Hiker's fall a lesson in gorge survival
Briefing leaves Maupins with hope, but no news

IN THE TRISTATE
'Partial birth' ban in effect
Health groups announce changes
Yates fast to jump on board for gambling
Tests find more lead in yards
GE donations make impact for organizations and people
Critical eyes on health levies
Go 4th: fun, fireworks
Liberty's new head a resident since 1997
Ex-deputy found guilty in drug case
Children's study: Obese kids at risk
Ohio epicenter of anti-Bush group's national offensive
Ex-treasurer will repay funds, says her attorney
More money for Lakota
Union Twp. trustee's death leaves board to fill vacancy
Public safety briefs
News briefs
Neighbors briefs

ENQUIRER COLUMNISTS
Bronson: Drake Center doesn't need to go negative
Young People's Theatre hopping

LIVES REMEMBERED
Alvin L. Schulte owned N.Ky. drugstores
Arthur Wiedenbein, 57, trustee, 'visionary'

KENTUCKY STORIES
Williamstown may get 'wet'
Bohman 'likely' to run for board of education
Kentucky news briefs
Judge approves Fletcher's plan
Fireworks fizzle, but ballpark beer $1
Multi-vehicle crash kills trucker, closes I-71
Independence gets life squads
Kenton joins Scholars initiative