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Legislative News

OPEB Increases for Some Excluded Employees Effective July 1, 2019

Posted: 4/26/2019 Tags: policy Tags Views: 2699

CalHR announced changes to the Other Post-Employment Benefit (OPEB) program for excluded employees not related to a bargaining unit. All state employees have begun prefunding retiree healthcare. The contribution as a percentage of salary is matched with a state employer contribution. The goal is to reduce the “unfunded liability” for retiree healthcare and ensure your valuable earned health benefits will be available when you retire.

For excluded and exempt employees not directly associated with a bargaining unit (e.g. E48, E97, E98 and E99), prefunding of retiree healthcare will change from 0.8% to 1.6% of salary effective July 1, 2019 with a matching employer contribution. Click here for more information about this announcement on CalHR’s web page.

As the state budget progresses, CalHR is expected to make other announcements increasing excluded employee salaries effective July 1, 2019 and increasing the contributions required to prefund retiree healthcare.

Contact your ACSS Labor Relations Representative if you have further questions.


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Lobby Day 2019 Was a Huge Success!

Posted: 3/15/2019 Tags: legislation Lobby Day meeting Tags Views: 854


On March 6th, 2019, ACSS members marched into the Capitol and met with legislators to discuss important issues affecting managers, supervisors and confidential state employees. Lobby Day was a resounding success with 44 members in attendance. Thanks to the dedicated members who attended, our presence at the Capitol was visible and our voices were clearly heard! For 19 consecutive years, ACSS members have participated in Lobby Day to deliver the ACSS message in person to Assemblymembers and Senators.

This year, we continued to lobby for the resolution of salary compaction. Salary compaction continues to harm California state government operations and ACSS is committed to fixing unaddressed compaction problems by encouraging legislative support for this issue. Also, we asked for support of Assembly Bill 271 (Pay Equity for All State Employees, written by Jim Cooper, AD 09). AB 271 will ensure that California state employees are paid equally and appropriately for performing substantially similar work functions. And lastly, ACSS continues to protect pensions for excluded employees. We are dedicated to the sustainability of CalPERS, but we urged lawmakers to oppose legislative efforts that encourage the state to abandon pension promises or replace defined benefits with alternative savings plans that do not provide retirement security to public servants. Lawmakers listened to our message and acknowledged our concerns.

ACSS thanks the attendees who helped make ACSS Lobby Day 2019 a huge success. Over the years, ACSS has worked hard and progressed to make our presence known, and is now a well-recognized association that lawmakers pay attention to, thanks in part to the efforts of members who attend Lobby Day.

Click here to view all Lobby Day 2019 photos.


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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: 1348

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: 2090

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: 783

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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