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Victory for Ventura County Employees – Superior Court Deemed Pension-Cutting Measure Invalid

Posted: 8/14/2014 Tags: court pension Tags Views: 1437

Saying it would be a "waste of public resources" to put it on the ballot, the Ventura County Superior Court Judge Kent Kellegrew on August 4, 2014 ordered the removal of a ballot measure that would have replaced the County's defined benefits pension plan with a 401(k) and set a cap on retirement benefits.

This is a victory for the Citizens for Retirement Security ("CRS"), a coalition of nine unions within Ventura County that filed suit against the County. CRS argued that the county can't unilaterally repeal its participation in the County Employees Retirement Law of 1937. Only the legislature has the power to authorize a pension phase-out plan.

The measure was also eliminated because it violated the single subject requirement imposed by the California Constitution. The subject initiative sought to 1) eliminate defined benefit retirement programs and 2) impose a five year salary cap. Ventura County employees can take in a sigh of relief knowing that their pensions are still in place, for now.

However, the Judge provided the parties time to appeal prior to the election by staying his decision until August 14th. An appellate ruling would likely issue before the final deadline for printing the November ballots later this month. We will keep you updated as the appellate process unfolds.


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Reed drops pension attack after unfavorable ruling

Posted: 3/17/2014 Tags: court election pension Tags Views: 1387

As expected, a Sacramento Superior Court judge adopted a tentative ruling on Friday shutting down San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed's frivolous lawsuit against Attorney General Kamala Harris. Reed then formally announced that he was withdrawing his Constitution-altering pension attack, from which several of his fellow mayors had already distanced themselves.

Though the California Constitution establishes the Attorney General as the sole person responsible for preparing ballot intitiative titles and summaries, Mayor Reed's attorney - Jim Sutton - argued that the court should instruct the Attorney General to change the wording of her official summary.

Sutton stated that Mayor Reed and his campaign favored the word "remove" instead of the word "eliminate" in the first sentence of Harris' summary.

When pressed by Judge Allen Sumner, Sutton admitted that he was unable to find precedent for the court intervening in the ballot initiative summary process.

Mayor Reed's camp also argued that the public was "unlikely to understand" what pensions are.

Judge Sumner closed the proceedings by officially adopting his tentatve ruling, stating that "just because the word 'remove' polls better" he could not justify the court "injecting itself" into ballot language.


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Tentative ruling against pension lawsuit

Posted: 3/13/2014 Tags: court election pension Tags Views: 1443

EDIT: This post has been updated to reflect that Mayor Reed's attorneys argued the case at a hearing on Friday.

It appears the saga of San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed's pension attack is drawing to a close.

Reed et al fired off a hasty lawsuit in February against Attorney General Kamala Harris, claiming her summary of their constitution-altering ballot initiative was "false" and "misleading" and calling on the Sacramento County Superior Court to force Harris to alter the wording.

A tentative ruling from the Sacramento County Superior Court released on Thursday, March 13th, appears to have ended the argument by denying Reed's petition to force Harris to change her summary.


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Open enrollment for same-sex spouses

Posted: 7/23/2013 Tags: court Tags Views: 1362

In light of the Supreme Court ruling on DOMA and Prop 8, CalHR has announced a special open enrollment period for same-sex spouses and their dependents, effective immediately.

Per CalHR:

Effective immediately, employees who married a same-sex spouse prior to or following the US Supreme Court decisions on June 26th, 2013, or who were in a Domestic Partnership but married following the Federal Court decision, and wish to add their spouse and/or their spouse's dependent children, have the opportunity to enroll their same-sex spouse and eligible dependent children onto their dental and/or vision plan(s). A special one-time enrollment period is now in effect through December 31, 2013.

Instructions and further details are available in the full text of CalHR's personnel memo.


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Steinberg - Pension reform goes "beyond" Brown's plan


A newsletter released to Senator Darrell Steinberg's constituents claims that his pension slashing plan goes "above and [Gov. Brown's] proposal to include more than a dozen additional reforms."

According to the newsletter, that plan will include (among other things) a "hybrid system"; tossing a portion of employees' modest retirement benefits into a risky 401(k).

Many are speculating that Sen. Steinberg and Governor Brown are attempting to curry favor with the public for the tax raises that will appear on the November ballot by showing that they are taking a strong stand for pension reform.

Does Sen. Steinberg's politically motivated and personal attack on your hard-earned, modest benefits make you less inclined or more inclined to support the Governor's tax increases that will appear on the General Election ballot this November?

Weigh in on this hot button issue in the comments section.

The full text of the newsletter appears after the jump.


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CDCR Alert: Meet and Confers

Posted: 7/6/2012 Tags: court health layoff prison rights salary Tags Views: 1602

As the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) moves forward with a drastic reform of California's penal system, the Association of California State Supervisors (ACSS) is meeting with CDCR to protect the rights of state excluded employees.

According to CDCR, the plan blueprint - titled The Future of California Corrections - will "cut billions in spending, comply with multiple federal court orders for inmate medical, mental health and dental care, and significantly improve the operation of California's prison system."

In July and August ACSS will meet and confer with CDCR and CalHR over changes to the working conditions of excluded employees.

Read more about what ACSS will discuss, and how you can help, after the jump.


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Budget sent to Gov. without specifics

Posted: 6/15/2012 Tags: budget court election governor legislature Tags Views: 1408

In a race to meet a deadline to avoid having their pay docked, legislators sent Governor Jerry Brown a $92 billion budget and six trailer bills on Friday, June 15th.

There are a number of outstanding trailer bills that the Legislature intends to vote on next week. Many of the outstanding bills are related to issues that are still under negotiation, such as the Governor's realignment plan.

Last year, State Controller John Chiang attempted to dock legislators' pay, stating that outstanding trailer bills violated the deadline established by Proposition 25.

A Sacramento Superior Court decision overturned the Controller's attempt to reduced legislators' pay, however, so it is likely the Legislature will not face similar pay cuts this year.

Your ACSS is still calling on legislators to avoid balancing the budget on excluded employees' back with cuts that unfairly target state supervisors, managers, and confidential employees.


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Court upholds citizens' redistricting

Posted: 1/27/2012 Tags: court election legislature politics Tags Views: 1491

The California Supreme Court unanimously agreed on Friday to uphold the revised Senate districts drawn by an independent citizens commission for use in the June primary and November general election.

A Republican-backed initiative attempting to throw out the maps drafted by the non-partisan California Citizens Redistricting Commission (CCRC) is expected to qualify for the November ballot. Opponents of the public commission filed the lawsuit, arguing that the independently redrawn Senate map should not be used until the ballot measure challenge passed before voters.

Acting CCRC Chairman Peter Yao - a registered L.A. County Republican - called the high court's decision to uphold the redrawn districts "a great victory for the people of California."

Read more on the participatory democratic efforts of the CCRC: http://wedrawthelines.ca.gov/


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