The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

October 27, 2011
A.M. Reading: Brown's pension plan; R.I. pension debate; Texas 'grudge match'

Jerry Brown to propose higher retirement age, lower pension benefits for new state workers
Gov. Jerry Brown will propose a higher retirement age and less-generous pension benefits for newly hired state employees, sources familiar with Brown's pension plan said Wednesday. (Sacramento Bee)

The State Worker: Navigating the rocky world of state service
The long tail of former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's administration, the state's iffy economy and Gov. Jerry Brown's famous unpredictability continue to keep state workers off balance. A recent email to The State Worker illustrates what's happening: (Sacramento Bee)

Defending Public Pensions (ABC News)
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California leads nation in escalation of college costs
Steep funding cuts to higher education in California and elsewhere were significant factors in pushing average tuition and fees up 8.3% at four-year public colleges and universities nationwide this fall, according to a report by the nonprofit College Board. (Los Angeles Times)

Editorial: No need for alarm over parole changes
Just where do people serving a term in state prison go at the end of their sentence? When they have done their time, they get $200 in "gate money" and return to their home counties. (Sacramento Bee)

R.I. Pension Reform Hearings

RI pension debate heats up with dueling rallies as lawmakers review major overhaul proposal
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Rhode Island's long-simmering pension fight reached a boiling point Wednesday as a business-backed group and public workers voiced opposing views on a major pension overhaul proposal in dueling Statehouse rallies. (Washington Post)

Changes to workplace rules coming for state employees
State workers' unions still reeling from a new plan released Tuesday that would freeze salaries for two years warn they also have serious concerns about other aspects of the proposal, including merit pay, overtime changes and revamped grievance procedures. (Wisconsin State Journal)

Judge questions new law requiring state workers to contribute to pension plan
TALLAHASSEE -- A circuit judge sharply questioned key elements of the state's decision to force state workers to pay 3 percent of their salaries for retirement costs, raising the prospect that she could declare the move unconstitutional. (Gainesville Sun)

Gregoire asks Wash. unions to open benefit talks
Gov. Chris Gregoire is asking state employees to reopen talks on health-care benefits, letting the state cut its $850 average monthly contribution to employee benefits as low as $801 in 2013. The surprise call to negotiate served as a harbinger for today's bigger news: Gregoire is expected to lay out grisly options for bridging a $2 billion budget shortfall in the 30-day special session scheduled to begin Nov. 28. Steep reductions in health care spending for the poor and vulnerable and cuts to public safety programs at the Department of Corrections are likely in the mix. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Nikki Haley Bashes Labor Unions in Chamber of Commerce Appearance

Cross expects House to pass pension bill in November
Illinois House Minority Leader Tom Cross, R-Oswego, said he will be ready to call a bill to set up a three-tiered pension system for state workers during the second week of the legislature's veto session, which starts Nov. 8. (State Journal-Register)

About 1,000 attend hearing on proposed closing of Logan Correctional Center
More than 1,000 people turned out Wednesday for a special hearing on the proposed closing of Logan Correctional Center. The hearing was held at Lincoln Christian University, and practically everyone there appeared to be a supporter of the prison. (Peoria Journal Star)

Michigan, union leaders OK tentative deal
Lansing-- Unions representing about 35,000 state workers soon will be voting on new contracts after a tentative agreement reached Wednesday with Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder's administration.
The tentative deal would cover the state's 2012-13 and 2013-14 budget years, meaning economic changes such as wages would kick in Oct. 1, 2012. (Detroit News)

Inmate convicted in officer's death loses lawsuit claiming abuse by Tennessee prison guards
Nashville, Tenn. -- An inmate convicted of killing a police officer has lost a bid to be compensated for what he claimed was mistreatment by guards at a Tennessee prison. (Associated Press / The Republic)

Battle brewing over Texas public pensions
Texas could be gearing up for its own Wisconsin-style grudge match over public employee benefits. A group of high-powered Houston business leaders is starting a statewide campaign to overhaul retirement for future teachers, firefighters, police officers, judges and other state and local government workers. (American-Statesman)

OCC wants to jam prison cell phones
A strip search incident that occurred in December at Fairbanks prison has led the Cayman Islands government watchdog to propose cellphone signals be jammed at both of the Islands' adult lock ups. (Cayman Free Press)

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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


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