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Court Says State Can Fire Employees Who Seek Office

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- State agencies can police employees who seek political office. That's the ruling today from the Utah Supreme Court.

The court ruled in a case that centers on the Hatch Act, a federal law that bars people from running from political office if their regular job involves federal funds.

Citing that federal law, the Utah Department of Human Services fired Brent Hughes in 2004 when he ran for the Utah House. Another agency overturned the dismissal, saying the department exceeded its authority.

Today, the Utah Supreme Court said the state can enforce the federal law. But it also said Hughes' case should be reviewed for claims of unequal treatment.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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