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Merger Explored Between ABC, State Police

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If the plan is approved by the 2004 General Assembly, it would take effect.

The restructuring under consideration would divide the dual roles of the Virginia ABC — enforcement and regulation. It would move ABC's enforcement arm, which includes 140 sworn enforcement officers, into the department of the state police. The ABC would maintain its regulatory arm.

A similar merger idea was raised by the Assembly in 1995, but failed.

Word of the possible merger comes on the heels of a 10 percent cut by the General Assembly last week to the ABC enforcement department's roughly $13 million budget (89 percent of that budget is personnel)

Of the reductions just ordered, $331,735 must be cut from the current budget ending June 30; $1.32 million will come from the 2004 fiscal year budget.

Gettings says the department is in the process of determining how it will be affected by the changes. — Brandon

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