The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

July 21, 2011
A.M. Reading: Hurdles to changing pensions; Minn. reopens for business; Kan. pension liabilities grow

Thumbnail image for newspaper_5.gifThe State Worker: Six reasons pension reform might not make next year's ballot
Six factors are working against getting a statewide public pension "reform" initiative on the ballot next year. (Sacramento Bee)

Californians would rather ease penalties than pay more for prisons
Cash-strapped Californians would rather ease "third-strike" penalties for some criminals and accept felons as neighbors than dig deeper into their pockets to relieve prison overcrowding, a new poll shows. (Los Angeles Times)

Minnesota reset: State government powers up after 20-day shutdown, some services back now
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota's government is reopening for business after a nearly three-week shutdown closed state parks, laid off some 22,000 public workers and demonstrated the wide reach of state agencies. (Washington Post)

Questions remain for how budget will affect state workers (Minnesota Public Radio)

End of Minn. shutdown brings relief, frustration
Minnesota's state government shutdown ended Wednesday after 20 days, millions in lost revenue and frustration on the part of residents and politicians. (Bloomberg Businessweek)

Jerry Brown assumes uncommon influence over FPPC
Gov. Jerry Brown has seized uncommon influence over the political watchdog agency he helped create almost four decades ago as an independent body. (Sacramento Bee)

Toxic Asset Dealers to Audit Reg Compliance
WASHINGTON (CN) - The Securities and Exchange Commission plans to adopt business conduct standards for security-based swap dealers similar to existing standards used by self regulatory organizations, such as stock exchanges, because it expects most such swap dealers to be members of a self regulatory organization. ... The strict rules for dealing with special entities follow SEC investigations, which revealed that people responsible for investing government pensions and trust funds frequently did not understand the nature of the security-based swaps and, in some cases, stood to gain from the transactions. (Courthouse News)

Opinion: Closing Hagedorn Psychiatric Hospital in NJ leaves residents in limbo
I was appointed to the governor's State Mental Health Facilities Evaluation Task Force, charged with the responsibility of determining whether the Sen. Garrett W. Hagedorn Psychiatric Hospital in Hunterdon County should be shuttered. (nj.com)

Kansas pension system funding falls despite 13% investment return
Kansas Public Employees Retirement System, Topeka, returned 13% for calendar year 2010, but the gains were not enough to prevent the system's liabilities from increasing by $590 million. The rise in liabilities caused the system's funding ratio to drop to 62% for 2010; it was 64% at year-end 2009. The unfunded liability was $8.3 billion as of Dec. 31, 2010, up from $7.7 billion a year earlier. (Pensions & Invesments)

PolitiJax: Florida pension plan enjoys big returns
Lifted by gains in the stock market, the Florida Retirement System pension plan gained $19 billion in the fiscal year that ended on June 30, the News Service of Florida reported Wednesday. (Florida Times-Union)

SB 5 outlook looks grim in latest poll
Ohio's collective-bargaining law would be crushed out of existence if the vote were today, a new poll shows. Senate Bill 5 trails by 24 points, 56 percent to 32 percent, in the Quinnipiac Poll released yesterday. The measure, which limits collective bargaining by government employees, is losing big among all demographic groups except Republicans, and across all regions of the state. (Columbus Dispatch)

Snyder orders departments to prepare to fire state workers
In preparation for the ongoing negotiations with state employee unions designed to force $145 million in concessions, Michigan Republican Gov. Rick Snyder ordered departments to prepare to fire some employees. (Michigan Messenger)

State readies new health plan model for workers
State workers signing up for their 2012 health insurance later this year will be faced with a new choice, one that goes beyond which health plan they prefer. They will have to choose to either participate in a health care model that requires them to take steps to improve their health, or pay more for their health insurance. (Statesman Journal)

Arbitrator: State Workers Are Entitled To Pay Raises
(Springfield) -- State workers are entitled to a two-percent pay hike despite the fact that the General Assembly did not budget money for the increases. (mystateline.com)

For links to more news, views and video, check out The State Worker's Individurls page. To see our vast archive of searchable A.M. Reading headlines, go to Publish2.

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at jortiz@sacbee.com.

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