State Sen. Tony Strickland, R-Thousand Oaks, on Thursday urged amendments to Assembly Bill 790, which would appropriate money from the General Fund to pay for state employees’ salaries and benefits in the event a state budget has not been enacted by July 1.

Currently, when a budget is not passed by July 1, state employees are paid federal minimum wage.

“A budget is a blueprint of our priorities,” Strickland said during the floor debate. “In this case, the Democrats are saying state employees are more important than the blind, aged, disabled and those who are in nursing homes. If we’re going to provide state workers their salaries during budget delays, we should also ensure funding for those most in need.

“Not more than 30 minutes before taking up AB 790, we passed a resolution officially recognizing April as Autism Awareness Month. Why are state employees more important than children with autism or people in nursing homes? AB 790 needs to be amended to reflect our priorities.”

AB 790 was voted down 23-10 in the Senate. The measure has been granted reconsideration.

— Matt Guthrie is a communications director for Sen. Tony Strickland, who represents California Senate District 19.