The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

February 15, 2012
A.M. Reading: CalPERS' investment forecast; ME pension reform lawsuit; TX double dippers; AZ bill makes firings easier

Thumbnail image for newspaper_5.gifCalPERS will look again at adjusting forecast
CalPERS is going to look again at adjusting its investment forecast, a move that could increase taxpayer contributions while ramping up the political heat on public pension funds in California. (Sacramento Bee)

OR: State wellness plan penalties up for consideration
The Public Employees' Benefit Board put itself ahead of the curve -- but not too far ahead -- when it decided to penalize state workers who don't participate in its new wellness program, experts say. (Statesman Journal)

California Assembly decision to fight budget release cost nearly $200,000
The California Assembly spent nearly $200,000 in public funds fighting against release of member-by-member budgets allocating tens of millions in public funds, records show. (Sacramento Bee)

CA: Editorial: Lawmakers and courts need to end their rift
In an effort to defeat a bill that would greatly diminish her power and that of the state Judicial Council, California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye made a tactical mistake last week. (Sacramento Bee)

MD: Workers call for more money at state mental hospital
JESSUP, Md. -- Workers at Maryland's maximum-security mental hospital are calling on legislators to boost the budget to improve safety at Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center. (AP / ABC 2)

CA: Editorial: As We See It: Pension deflation
Pension reform is apparently just so ... 2011. (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Michigan unions sue to halt mandated DB-or-DC choice
A new Michigan law requiring state employees to either contribute 4% of pay to the $9.1 billion Michigan State Employees' Retirement System, Lansing, or join a defined contribution plan is unconstitutional because the state Legislature overstepped its authority in passing the law, according to a class-action lawsuit filed Monday by a coalition of unions. (Pensions & Investments)

ME: Public workers sue Maine
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) -- An organization representing retired Maine state workers and teachers has filed a lawsuit challenging retirement system reforms implemented last year to save money. (AP / Seacoastonline)

ME: Bill to allow state workers to bring guns to workplace passes through committee
AUGUSTA, Maine -- A legislative committee approved a bill on Monday that would allow state employees to bring guns to their workplace, provided they have a concealed weapons permit and keep the firearm locked in their vehicle and out of sight. (Bangor Daily News)

TX: Pensioners on job growing
Gov. Rick Perry is just one in an elite but growing group of 189 Texas employees who collected a state pension to top off a paycheck of more than $100,000 last year, records obtained by the Houston Chronicle show. (Houston Chronicle)

TN: State employees group ends talks with Haslam
Tennessee's biggest public employees association broke off talks with Gov. Bill Haslam Tuesday, saying the administration would not yield ground on planned reforms to the state's system for hiring and firing government workers. (The Tennesseean)

FL: Prison privatization dies in Senate 21-19
TALLAHASSEE -- A massive expansion of private prisons in Florida collapsed in the Senate Tuesday as nine Republicans joined a dozen Democrats in handing a setback to Senate leaders and a victory to state workers. (Tampa Bay Times)

AZ: Brewer's personnel reform plan to be introduced today
Gov. Jan Brewer's plan to make sweeping changes to the state's personnel system -- including making it easier to fire employees -- will be introduced later today through legislation. (Arizona Republic)

Vt. state workers' union ratifies new contract
MONTPELIER (AP) -- The union that represents Vermont state workers has ratified a new contract that restores a 3 percent pay cut and adds a two percent increase in each of the next two years. (Bennington Banner)

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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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