SACRAMENTO (AP) — A California appeals court has effectively barred the sale of state government buildings from proceeding until after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger leaves office.

The Republican governor was the proposal’s biggest cheerleader, leaving the sale of 24 state-owned buildings in doubt.

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A three-judge panel in San Jose decided Monday to continue a stay until it hears arguments next month.

Three former state building authority members had sued to stop the sale, saying it amounted to an unlawful gift of public funds and illegally bypassed the state Judicial Council.

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Their request initially was denied, but the appeals court issued a stay, temporarily halting the sale.

Department of General Services spokesman Eric Lamoureux says the state is pleased the appeals court has agreed to hear the case.

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