Packed into a hot, crowded conference room for a public hearing on Monday, almost two dozen speakers denounced a proposed Orange County law that would allow authorities to keep cash and other assets involved in misdemeanor drug cases once the defendant has been convicted or pleads guilty.

County Executive Steve Neuhaus held the mandatory hearing before deciding by Friday whether to sign or veto the proposal, which the Legislature passed in a 12-9 vote on Dec. 4, with all Republicans in support and all Democrats in opposition.

Around 75 people squeezed into a meeting room on Matthews Street for back-to-back hearings on that law and another that would allow the county to sell its Government Center. The hearings generated so much interest between them that Neuhaus also scheduled sessions at 6 p.m. Monday in a larger venue.

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