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Legislative News

Supreme Court Pension Ruling Eliminates Ability to Purchase "Air Time" Service Credit – No Impact on California Rule

Posted: 3/4/2019 Tags: legislation policy Tags Views: 1127

The California Supreme Court published a March 4, 2019 opinion in Cal FIRE Local 2881 v. CalPERS. The lawsuit challenged the portion of the Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013 (PEPRA) which eliminated the ability of state employees to purchase up to five years of additional CalPERS service credit, known as “air time.”

Although the Court’s decision upholds the portion of PEPRA which took away the opportunity to purchase air time service credit, the ruling is narrow in scope. The Court held the ability to purchase air time was not a constitutionally vested pension benefit protected by the contract clause. It is important to note this decision has no impact on those who purchased additional service credit prior to 2013.

Because the Court concluded the opportunity to purchase additional retirement service credit was not protected from impairment by the contract clause, its elimination does not implicate the State Constitution or the “California Rule.” Since 1955, the courts have held under the California Rule that once pension benefits are granted to a public employee, they are vested and cannot be modified for the duration of an employee’s career.

While this decision has no impact on the California Rule, two significant pension cases which may impact the California Rule remain pending before the State Supreme Court. ACSS previously filed a request that these cases be reviewed because of the lower court departure from precedent concerning vested pension rights. We are also working closely with the law firm handling these cases to ensure your vested pension interests and the California Rule are protected.

ACSS’ legislative efforts to preserve and protect members earned and promised pension benefits continue. ACSS is also part of Californians for Retirement Security, a coalition of more than 1.6 million public employees and retirees that seeks to educate the public, lawmakers, and the media regarding public employee pensions.

ACSS will continue to keep you apprised of important pension issues and inform you of actions taken to protect the interests of excluded state employees.


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2019-20 State Budget: Responsible, with Lots of Bold One-Time Investments

Posted: 1/15/2019 Tags: budget legislation policy Tags Views: 1986

On January 10th, 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom released his proposed 2019-20 State Budget that would fund state government for the 12-month period starting July 1, 2019.

State spending next year would total just over $209 billion, with $144.2 billion in general fund and $59.5 billion special funds spending.  Another $5.4 billion in state bond spending makes up the difference.  This is about a 4% increase over current fiscal year spending.  State general fund revenue is booming.  According to the governor, there is $21 billion in surplus revenue.  In November, the LAO had predicted a $15 billion surplus.  This is in addition to the $16 billion held in the state’s rainy day fund and other reserve accounts.  The Newsom proposed budget will sock an additional $1.8 billion into the rainy day fund alone.

The governor preached responsible budgeting while also touting his many well-publicized new budget initiatives.  

On the fiscal responsibility front he sounded much like Jerry Brown in recent years.  He said his Administration is preparing for the inevitable next recession, plans to build the largest state budget reserve in history, and noted that his new budget initiatives are largely one-time funding proposals.  

The governor spent the rest of his time outlining what he called bold investments in California’s future, including plans to increase access to affordable health care and prescription drugs, address the housing and homelessness crisis, and provide universal preschool for four-year-olds, among other expansions in education funding.  

Click here to read a quick rundown on a few items that will specifically interest ACSS members...
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ACSS-Endorsed Candidates – 2018 General Election Results

Posted: 11/8/2018 Tags: election legislation legislature PAC Tags Views: 706

ACSS Legislative Advocate, Ted Toppin, provides a summary of how well our ACSS-Endorsed Candidates fared in the recent General Election:

Election Day results were very positive for ACSS and ACSS-endorsed candidates. Overall, the ACSS candidate or ballot measure was successful in 99 of the 103 races that have been determined thus far. Six races are still too close to call.

Statewide Races
In races that were decided yesterday, seven out of 8 of ACSS’ endorsed candidates for statewide office – including gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom – were victorious. Newsom will be sworn in as the next Governor of California on January 7, 2019. Other winners were Xavier Becerra for Attorney General, Betty Yee for Controller, Fiona Ma for Treasurer, Alex Padilla for Secretary of State, Malia Cohen for BOE District 2, and Joel Anderson for BOE District 4. The races for Insurance Commissioner and Superintendent of Public Instruction are too close to call at this time. Unfortunately, ACSS-endorsed Senator Dr. Ed Hernandez was unsuccessful in his race for Lieutenant Governor.

Legislative Races
In legislative races, the ACSS-endorsed candidate prevailed in 92 and lost in 3 of the races in which ACSS took a position. Three Assembly seats and one Senate seat are still up in the air.

In the Assembly, the ACSS candidate won in 77 races and lost in 1. In contested open seat contests, ACSS was 4-1, including victories by Buffy Wicks (D-Berkeley) in AD 15, Robert Rivas (D-Hollister) in AD 30, James Ramos (D-Inland Empire) in AD 40, and Tasha Boerner Horvath (D-Carlsbad) in AD 76.

In AD 38, ACSS-endorsed candidate Dante Acosta (R-Santa Clarita) is neck and neck with his opponent Christy Smith. With only 1% of votes separating them, it is too close to say who will come out on top. In AD 60, ACSS-endorsed Sabrina Cervantes (D- Corona) is essentially tied with her Republican challenger Bill Essayli. Similarly, ACSS candidate Matthew Harper (R-Huntington Beach) holds only a narrow lead over Democrat Cottie Petrie-Norris in AD 74. The one unsuccessful ACSS-endorsed candidate was Josh Lowenthal (D-Huntington Beach) who was defeated in AD 72 by Republican Tyler Diep.

Of the 18 Senate races in which ACSS took a position, 15 candidates were victorious, 2 candidates lost, and one is still too close to call. In open seat races, ACSS was 2-1. ACSS-endorsed candidate Maria Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles) was victorious in SD 24, as was Brian Jones (R-Santee) in SD 38. Mike Eng (D-Los Angeles) was defeated in the race for SD 22. ACSS-endorsed candidate Anna Caballero (D-Salinas) is holding on to a narrow 1% lead over her opponent in SD 12 with votes still to be counted. In SD 14, ACSS-endorsed Senator Andy Vidak (R-Hanford) was defeated by his Democratic challenger Melissa Hurtado.

Statewide Ballot Measures
The ACSS Board voted to oppose Proposition 6 (2017 Gas Tax Repeal Initiative), which failed on Election Day.

Click here for complete election results for ACSS-endorsed candidates. Open seat candidates are in bold.


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ACSS and CalHR Discuss Salary and Benefit Improvements

Posted: 10/4/2018 Tags: bargaining benefits legislation meeting policy representation Tags Views: 1729

On October 1, 2018, CalHR Acting Director Adria Jenkins-Jones met with ACSS President Frank Ruffino, ACSS Executive Director Rocco Paternoster, ACSS Director of Representation Nellie Lynn and ACSS Legislative Advocate Ted Toppin to discuss improvements to the salary and benefits of excluded state employees.

“It was a pleasure to meet with the Association of California State Supervisors, and I look forward to working with ACSS as CalHR’s Acting Director,” Adria Jenkins-Jones said. “I have enormous respect and appreciation for the state’s managers and supervisors and the jobs they do. They drive California state government and ensure that we fulfill our mission to serve the public.”

ACSS acknowledged the progress made under the Brown administration and previous CalHR Director Richard Gillihan. In addition to General Salary Increases in 2017 and 2018, the Administration provided excluded employees a 3% General Salary Increase (GSI) effective on October 1, 2016, as well as various special salary adjustments to address salary compaction. The October 2016 GSI was a departure from previous practice by providing excluded employees a GSI before several rank and file Unions reached collective bargaining agreements. ACSS is committed to continuing to work with CalHR and the next administration to ensure excluded employees receive equitable and appropriate salary and benefit improvements.

ACSS advocated for a minimum 10% pay differential between excluded employees and their staff. We also provided salary data supporting ACSS’ request for special salary adjustments for various excluded classifications to address salary compaction and pay parity for excluded employees.

Additionally, we advocated for salary increases for excluded employees related to bargaining units 06, 09 and 10. Rank and File employees in those units recently reached new labor contracts (called Memorandum of Understanding or MOUs) with salary increases, in which ACSS urged CalHR to pass on those benefits to excluded employees.

In addition, ACSS reiterated a request for disability insurance benefit improvements and paid family leave. CalHR confirmed they will notice and meet with ACSS under the Meet and Confer process on a proposal to provide state managers and supervisors with paid family leave benefits by July 2019. Governor Brown’s veto message on ACSS supported AB 3145 revealed plans to provide paid family leave benefits for excluded state employees.

More information on AB 3145 and paid family leave can be found here.

As always, ACSS will provide updates as information is available about specific salary and benefit improvements for excluded employees.


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Governor’s Veto: Paid Family Leave for Supervisors and Managers on Its Way

Posted: 10/4/2018 Tags: benefits legislation legislature policy Tags Views: 1319

Although Governor Brown has vetoed ACSS backed legislation, the veto message makes clear our collective voice has been heard. AB 3145 would have given individual supervisors and managers the option of selecting enrollment in the State Disability Insurance Program or choosing to remain in the current Non-Industrial Disability Insurance or Enhanced Non-Industrial Disability Insurance programs. This individual choice would have allowed employees to participate in the program that best met their needs. In his veto message, Governor Brown noted the Department of Human Resources (CalHR) “is developing a plan to offer paid family leave benefits to state managers and supervisors by July 1, 2019.”

ACSS supported AB 3145 and the option of allowing individual supervisors and managers the choice to elect to participate in the State Disability Insurance Program (SDI) in large part because of the Paid Family Leave Program. SDI carries with it an employee contribution, but provides greater benefits, the most significant being coverage by the Paid Family Leave Program, which provides up to six weeks of partial pay to care for a sick family member or bond with a new child.

ACSS will be meeting with CalHR as it develops the details of the new paid family leave benefits program for supervisors, managers and confidential employees and will keep you informed about the new program.

Read Governor Brown’s AB 3145 Veto Message here.


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