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Merger Explored Between ABC, State Police 

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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