California lawmakers sue controller over pay

January 24, 2012 7:24:29 PM PST
State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John Perez are suing Controller John Chung for blocking lawmakers' pay during last year's extended budget dispute.

"Neither the governor nor any other member of the executive branch may brandish the threat of withholding legislative pay because they disagree with the decision made by the branch," Steinberg said.

Chung says he had legal authority to dock those salaries when lawmakers failed to deliver a budget by the constitutional deadline of June 15. The decision cost lawmakers about $4,800 each, equal to 12 days' pay plus expenses.

The suit is not asking for any back pay. Lawmakers say they just want the courts to clarify whether Chung violated the constitutional separation of powers.