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Political notes from Free Press staff writers Terri Hallenbeck, Sam Hemingway and Nancy Remsen



Session lands in court

It was surreal this morning - though fitting - to realize that the 2009 legislative session was ending in court.

In a Burlington courtroom a short time ago, a judge denied the state employees union request to stop layoffs that are happening today because of wording in legislation passed this week that requires legislative oversight of job cuts.

So this strange session wound up in court. Some of the players from the Statehouse instead in a courthouse.

Finance Commissioner Jim Reardon was there on the stand describing how the cuts were necessary and stopping them would only make things worse.

Deputy Administration Secretary Linda McIntire was there at the defense table. The governor's legal counsel, Susanne Young, was sitting in audience.

Vermont State Employees Association Director Jes Kraus was at the plaintiff's table, all part of his strange first year at the helm of the union.

The judge, by the way, decided that the law was indeed not in effect until July 1, so no stopping the layoffs now. Kraus said the union will decide by Monday whether to appeal to the Supreme Court.

That the 2009 session would lurch on into the Supreme Court would not surprise me.

- Terri Hallenbeck

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