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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The head of Missouri's public defender system says furloughs may be necessary if Gov. Jay Nixon does not release additional money for the system by January.

The Jefferson City News Tribune reportsthat state Public Defender Cat Kelly sent notices last week to judges warning them that the system could face staff shortages. She said a hiring freeze would start Nov. 1 and furloughs could kick in two months later.

Nixon withheld $1.4 million from the public defender system when then budget year started July 1.

A spokeswoman for Nixon's Office of Administration says the public defender system and many other agencies had 4 percent of their budgets restricted - slightly more than the standard 3 percent that's kept in reserve.

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