U.S. Judge Blocks State's Effort to Reduce Benefits

Associated Press

A federal judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked the state from cutting welfare benefits for people who move to California from other states.

U.S. District Judge Milton Schwartz, responding to a class-action suit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups, said attorneys for the poor had raised serious questions about whether the new residency requirements are legal.

Schwartz issued a temporary restraining order against the state that will remain in effect at least until Jan. 7, when another federal court hearing is scheduled.

The residency restrictions, proposed by Gov. Pete Wilson and approved by the Legislature, were part of their cost-cutting attempts to balance the state's deficit-plagued 1992-93 budget.

Under the rules that took effect Dec. 1, applicants who have lived in California less than a year are paid welfare benefits at the same level they would have received in their previous states, instead of at California's generally higher level.

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