CalRTA Legislative Accomplishments
In recent years, CalRTA has won passage of a number of bills that have improved the financial well-being of the state’s retired educators. CalRTA has also gone to court to enforce statutory obligations of the state to pay required retirement funds to the California State Teachers’ Retirement System.
Recent activities include:
- Protected current retiree pension benefits from “Pension Reform” reductions.
- Increased post-retirement earnings allowance from approx. $32,000 to approx. $40,000.
- Passed CalRTA sponsored SJR 30 (Hancock) urging Congress to repeal the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset (GPO).
- Passed CalRTA co-sponsored AB 1101 (Eng) to allow election of CalSTRS Board retired member; unfortunately the Governor vetoed the bill.
- Passed CalRTA supported SCR 105 (Negrete McLeod) to start process for improving CalSTRS long-term funding.
- Achieved nearly 200 co-sponsors for federal legislation to repeal the WEP/GPO Social Security penalties.
- Held a successful Advocacy Day in Sacramento and Lobby Day in Washington D.C.
- HR 1332 and S 2010 were reintroduced for Social Security Fairness
- AB1862 (Eng) was introduced which would allow for the election of a retired member on the State Teachers’ Retirement Board (STRB).
- Protected full state contributions to CalSTRS and purchasing power, even during a $23 billion state deficit.
- Protected Medicare Part A payments for retirees eligible through 2012 by blocking an attempt to eliminate the payments.
- Achieved full state contribution to the Teachers’ Retirement Fund even when the state had a $19 billion budget deficit.
- Co-sponsored AB 1862 (Eng) to elect the retiree representative on the Teachers’ Retirement Board, passed the Legislature, but was vetoed by the Governor.
- Conducted a series of pension education meetings in order to prepare for a threatened pension reduction initiative.
- Held two WEP/GPO repeal rallies.
- Testified for WEP/GPO repeal before the Commission for Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.
- Sponsored Assembly Joint Resolution 10 for the California Legislature to urge Congress to pass the Social Security Fairness Act.
- Achieved more than 300 co-sponsors for federal legislation to repeal Social Security penalties, the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO).
- Held public rallies to educate people about the Social Security penalties.
- Supported the comprehensive health insurance program proposed in SB 810 (Leno). This is a two-year bill so support continues into 2010.
- Increased purchasing power protection via the Supplemental Maintenance Benefit Account (SBMA) to 85% from 80%.
- Defeated proposals to cap purchasing power protection at less than 85%
- Defeated proposals to restrict CalSTRS investments.
- Achieved 351 co-sponsors for federal legislation to repeal the Social Security penalties
- Had federal hearings on WEP and GPO and held California press events for WEP and GPO repeal.
- Successfully litigated for payment of $500 million owed for purchasing power protection funding.
- Won interest on the $500 million at 10 percent.
- Reintroduced the Social Security Fairness Act to repeal the Social Security penalties on California educators.
- Sponsored Assembly Joint Resolution 5 for the California Legislature to urge Congress to pass the Social Security Fairness Act.
- Supported the enacted SB 901 that continues the earnings limitation exemptions for retired educators returning to school districts in specified situations.
- Defeated the budget proposal to reduce state contributions for purchasing power protection and cap the protection at 80%.
- Supported the comprehensive universal single-payer health insurance program proposed in SB 840 (Kuehl). This bill passed the Legislature, but was vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger.
- Established a Political Action Committee (PAC) in order to raise money to fight any ballot proposals to cut retiree benefits.
- Worked on federal legislation to repeal the WEP and GPO.
- Successfully opposed legislation which would have provided public funding for private school tuition.
- Successfully opposed legislation implementing the Governmental Accounting Standards Board Circular 45 that would have been harmful to retiree health benefits.
- Successfully opposed the Governor’s pension change proposal and joined with other organizations to defeat all legislation regarding changing the retirement system from a guaranteed pension to a risky pension.
- Successfully opposed the Governor’s special election ballot propositions that would have reduced CalSTRS funding through having fewer career teachers and reducing future funding for public schools.
- Led a national coalition to repeal the WEP and GPO.
- Won our litigation to require the state to make its $500 million payment plus interest to the Supplemental Benefit Maintenance Account.
- Grassroots advocacy resulted in more than 100,000 signatures on petitions to repeal the Windfall Elimination Provision and the Government Pension Offset provisions in Social Security. Nearly 100 school boards statewide joined CalRTA’s campaign to repeal the penalties.
- Secured full funding of the state’s commitment to teacher pensions.
- Secured passage of bills to improve client services at the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, increase the earnings limit for retirees, and to study retirement option reforms.
- Won passage of a bill to increase purchasing power from 75% to 80%. This measure provided vital protection against loss of pension value due to inflation. More than 60,000 retirees saw their pension benefits increase.
- Won passage of a bill to provide a onetime, permanent increase in pensions up to 6% depending on the year of retirement.
- Won passage of legislation that provides premium-free Medicare Part A coverage for all retired California teachers.
- Secured passage of a bill to expand the eligibility for minimum guaranteed pensions for retired educators with at least 20 years of career service.