Ala. court hears suit between Riley, legislators

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - The Alabama Supreme Court has heard arguments in a lawsuit that members of the Legislature's Joint Fiscal Committee filed against Gov. Bob Riley.

The arguments Tuesday were over Riley using a line-item veto to remove language that the Legislature put in the new state General Fund budget.

The language shielded some health and social service programs from budget cuts if state tax collections fall below expectations.

The cuts of up to $183 million would come out of other programs, including the courts and prisons.

An attorney for the governor argued that the suit should be dismissed because no shortfall in General Fund revenue has occurred and no one has been harmed.

An attorney for legislators said the suit is ripe for the courts to consider because harm occurred to legislators when the governor used his line-item veto to change the budget they wrote.

The Supreme Court did not indicate when it will rule.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)