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Legislation to adopt contract agreements reached with six state employee bargaining units including a controversial labor pact for state prison guards union, squeaked through the Senate today.

Senate Bill 151, by Democratic Sen. Lou Correa, initially came up one vote short of passage, 26-14, but cleared the upper house when Sen. Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres, changed his vote after a roughly two-hour recess. Sen. Sam Blakeslee, of San Luis Obispo, was the only other Republican who voted for the bill.

The bill ratifies the agreements Gov. Jerry Brown reached with bargaining units representing correctional officers, engineers, scientists, administrative law judges and other law enforcement officials. The measure now moves to the Assembly.

The most controversial agreement in the batch was the deal reached with the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, which had been without a contract since July 2006.

The proposed contract drew criticism for falling short of the savings levels Brown had set out to meet in his budget proposal and for including provisions like lifting the vacation cap and allowing fitness incentive pay.

Democrats urged opponents to consider the fact that they said the bill does net $350 million in savings and that the agreements included some major concessions sought by the Schwarzenegger administration for years.


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