A lawsuit filed Monday by state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) alleges that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger violated the state Constitution when he used line-item vetoes last month to cut nearly $500 million from the budget.

"The governor has overstepped his authority," according to the lawsuit filed in San Francisco County Superior Court. It asks Judge Peter Busch to void Schwarzenegger's actions and order the state to allocate funds as approved by the Legislature.

Schwarzenegger and his legal counsel have argued that he acted within his authority.

The lawsuit filing says the governor's actions will hurt many Californians. "Virtually all of the reductions made by the governor are to funding for the most vulnerable members of our society: the poor, the young, and the very old," said the lawsuit filed on Steinberg's behalf by four attorneys from the law firm of Remcho, Johansen & Purcell.

-- Patrick McGreevy

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