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Contra Costa Taxpayers Association

Pension Reform Initiative 15-0077

03 Nov 2015 3:25 PM | Anonymous

15-0077 Arndt.# I

Government Pension Cap Act of 2016

SECTION 1. TITLE.

This measure shall be known and may be cited as "Government Pension Cap

Act of 2016."

SECTION 2. STATEMENT OF FINDINGS AND PURPOSE.

(a) Government has an obligation to provide essential services that protect the

safety, health, welfare, and quality of life enjoyed by all Californians. State and

local governments face reduction or elimination of essential services because of

costly, unsustainable retirement benefits granted to government employees.

(b) Almost all of these benefits were granted without the consent of voters.

Consequently, the need to empower voters to reform retirement benefits for

new government employees is a matter of statewide concern.

(c) Therefore, the people hereby amend the Constitution to limit the cost of

retirement benefits granted to new government employees and to empower

voters to approve or reject any proposed increases in those limits.

SECTION 3. Section 23 of Article XVI of the California State Constitution is

added to read as follows:

Sec. 23 (a) Government employers shall not contribute more than 11 percent of

base compensation for a new employee's retirement benefits. Government

employers shall not contribute more than 13 percent of base compensation for

a new safety employee's retirement benefits. All other costs, including

unfunded liability costs, of a new employee's retirement benefits shall be the

responsibility of the employee, unless the voters of that jurisdiction establish a

new limitation.

(b) Government employers shall not pay more than one-half of the total cost

of retirement benefits for new government employees unless the voters of

that jurisdiction have approved paying that higher proportion.

(c) Challenges to the actions of a government employer or retirement board

to comply with requirements of this section may only be brought in the

courts of California exercising judicial power as provided in Article VI or in

the courts of the United States.

(d) Nothing in this section shall alter any provisions of a labor agreement in

effect as of the effective date of this Act, but this Section shall apply to any

successor labor agreement, renewal or extension entered into after the

effective date of this Act. Nothing in this section shall be interpreted to

amend or modify section 9 of Article I.

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(e) Nothing in this section shall be interpreted to limit the ability of

government employers to offer defined benefit pension plans or defined

contribution plans or a combination of both plans for new employees, subject

to the limitations in this section.

(f) Government employers may provide disability benefits and death

benefits for new employees which are not subject to the limitations of

this section. ยท

(g) For the purpose of this section, the following definitions shall be applied:

(1) "New employee" means any of the following:

(A) An individual who becomes a member of any state or local public

retirement system in California for the first time on or after January 1,

2019, and who was not a member of any other state or local public

retirement system in California prior to that date.

(B) An individual who becomes a member of a state or local public

retirement system in California for the first time on or after January 1,

2019, and who was a member of another public retirement system prior

to that date, but who was not subject to reciprocity under subdivision (c)

of California Government Code Section 7522.02 as it existed on

September 1, 2015.

(C) An individual who was an active member in a state or local retirement

system in California and who, after a break in service of more than six

months, returned to active membership in that system with a new

employer. For purposes of this subdivision, a change in employment

between state entities or from one school employer to another shall not

be considered as service with a new employer.

(2) "Government employer" means the state, or a political subdivision of

the state including, but not limited to, counties, cities, charter counties,

charter cities, charter city and counties, school districts, special districts,

boards, commissions, the Regents of the University of California,

California State University, and agencies thereof.

(3) "Retirement benefits" includes defined benefit pension plans, defined

contribution plans, retiree healthcare plans, Medicare, Social Security,

or any form of deferred compensation provided by government

employers. "Retirement benefits" does not include death and disability

benefits.

(4) A "new safety employee" means any new government employee as

defined in (g) ( 1) who is also a police officer or sheriff duly certified in their

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law enforcement position, any licensed firefighter, any prison guard, or

other classification the government employer finds is a high risk law

enforcement or public safety position.

(5) "Base compensation" means the regular annual base pay of the

individual public employee and reflective of regular base pay of similarly

situated employees of the same group or class of employment for services

rendered on a full-time basis during normal working hours, pursuant to

publicly available pay schedules, and subject to any. exclusions as defined

in California Government Code Section 7422.34 as it existed on

September 1, 2015.

SECTION 4. GENERAL PROVISIONS.

(a) This Act is intended to be comprehensive. It is the intent of the People

that in the event this Act and one or more measures relating to the same

subject shall appear on the same statewide election ballot, the provisions of

the other measure or measures shall be deemed to be in conflict with this

Act. In the event that this Act receives a greater number of affirmative votes,

the provisions of this Act shall prevail in their entirety, and all provisions of

the other measure or measures shall be null and void.

(b) If any provision of this Act, or part thereof, or the applicability of any

provision or part to any person or circumstances, is for any reason held to be

invalid or unconstitutional, the remaining provisions and parts shall not be

affected, but shall remain in full force and effect, and to this end the

provisions and parts of this Act are severable. The voters hereby declare that

this Act, and each portion and part, would have been adopted irrespective of

whether any one or more provisions or parts are found to be invalid or

unconstitutional.

(c) This Act is an exercise of the public power of the people of the State of

California for the protection of the health, safety, and welfare of the people of

the State of California, and shall be liberally construed to effectuate its

purposes.

(d) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, if the State, government

agency, or any of its officials fail to defend the constitutionality of this act,

following its approval by the voters, any other government employer, the

proponent, or in his or her absence, any citizen of this State shall have the

authority to intervene in any court action challenging the constitutionality of

this act for the purpose of defending its constitutionality, whether such

action is in trial court, on appeal, and on discretionary review by the

Supreme Court of California and/ or the Supreme Court of the United States.

The fees and costs of defending the action shall be a charge on funds

appropriated to the Attorney General, which shall be satisfied promptly.

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