CalRTA Board of Directors Vote on Propositions:
- Support Prop 30 – CalRTA supports public education and the Board of Directors believes that all propositions that support public education deserve CalRTA’s support. If Proposition 30 passes it will provide approximately $7 billion a year to help fund public schools Kindergarten through Community Colleges.
- Support Prop 38 – One of the CalRTA objectives is to support public education. Proposition 38 would provide approximately $120 billion in additional funding to preschool, early childhood education and K-12 education programs.
- Oppose Prop 32 – The California Retired Teachers Association opposes Proposition 32 because it will harm organizations advocating for public pensions and public education. The Board agreed with the League of Women Voters that Proposition 32 is not real campaign finance reform.
ELECTION UPDATE from Legislative Advocate, David Walrath:
Congratulations! Proposition 30 passed and Proposition 32 failed. The CalRTA Board of Directors urged a yes on 30 and no on 32 vote and we were successful with that election outcome. The California State Senate and Assembly appear to have a two-thirds Democratic majority. This means placing constitutional amendments on the state ballot and other actions requiring a two-thirds vote will be easier to accomplish during the next two years.
While CalRTA is very pleased with the state election outcome we are saddened by the election loss of two long-time very good friends of CalRTA.
Representatives Howard Berman and Pete Stark both lost their elections last night. Representative Berman has been a friend to CalRTA and has been our lead sponsor for the repeal of the Social Security penalties. Representative Stark has been a leader in protecting Medicare benefits and carried CalRTA supported legislation to reduce Medicare late enrollment penalties and provide greater options for individuals who were not eligible for Medicare Part A. CalRTA regrets the loss of these two excellent members of Congress.
The Legislature has adjourned at the end of their two-year session. The Governor had until midnight September 30, 2012, to sign, veto or allow a bill to become law without signature.
All of the legislation opposed by CalRTA failed to advance to the Governor. Our supported legislation for single-payer health insurance and the legislation that would allow the California Insurance Commissioner to regulate insurance rates, died in the Legislature. CalRTA’s supported and sponsored legislation did pass the legislature.
Governor Brown Vetoed Assembly Bill 1101 (Eng) Asked for a retiree representative on the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) Board to be elected by retirees just as the community college classroom teacher and K-12 members are elected to the CalSTRS Board. CalRTA supported it and believes that CalSTRS Board members representing client groups should be elected to represent those groups rather than appointed by whoever is governor at the time. There is an inherent conflict created when a representative is appointed rather than elected.
The CalRTA supported Senate Concurrent Resolution 105 (Negrete McLeod) states legislative intent to enact legislation in 2013 to address the CalSTRS unfunded obligation. CalRTA is committed to working with the Legislature and CalSTRS members to ensure long-term CalSTRS solvency. SCR 105 is Resolution Chapter 123.
The CalRTA sponsored Senate Joint Resolution 30 (Hancock) urges Congress to repeal the Windfall Elimination Provision and the Government Pension Offset Social Security penalties applied againstCaliforniaeducators and other public employees. SJR 30 also urges President Obama to sign the repeal after it is passed by Congress. CalRTA believes benefits paid for should be benefits provided. The penalties deny paid for benefits. SJR 30 is Resolution Chapter 126.
AB 178 (Gorell) clarifies when retirees can return to work in a CalSTRS position and continue to receive the full pension. It eliminates the penalties for reinstating in CalSTRS in less than 12 months and increases the earnings limitation that may be earned before the CalSTRS pension is offset.
Governor Brown signed AB 340 (Furutani) is the comprehensive pension change legislation. Most of the significant changes affect new CalSTRS members, with some affecting both current and future members. Other than the AB 178 provisions, none of the changes affect current retirees. The new changes have no effect on current retirees. CalRTA is concerned that the changes will reduce retirement security for future teachers and will work with the Legislature and Administration on corrective legislation as needed.
CalRTA is now preparing for the 2013 legislative year. CalRTA will be working on CalSTRS funding, protecting current benefits and pension equity along with other priorities.