AP NEWS

The Latest: California high court upholds pension rollback

March 4, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Latest on a closely watched ruling by the California Supreme Court on a pension benefit for public workers (all times local):

10:40 a.m.

The California Supreme Court has upheld former Gov. Jerry Brown’s rollback of a retirement benefit that allowed public workers to pad their pensions.

But the justices on Monday avoided ruling on the larger issue of whether retirement benefits can ever be taken away once promised.

At issue in the decision was a provision of a 2012 pension reform law that eliminated the ability of public workers to pay for more years of service for a more lucrative pension when they retire.

Attorneys for a union argued that the change violated a long line of California court rulings that have made pension benefits for existing employees sacrosanct.

Brown’s office said the state Legislature had broad authority to change pension benefits for existing employees unless it clearly indicated it intended a benefit to continue.

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9 p.m.

The California Supreme Court will rule on a closely watched lawsuit that has the potential to upend California’s long-held rule that retirement benefits for government workers can never be taken away once promised.

At issue in the decision the justices will release on Monday is a provision of a 2012 pension reform law backed by former Gov. Jerry Brown. That provision eliminated the ability of public workers to pay for more years of service for a more lucrative pension when they retire.

Attorneys for a union argued that the change violated a long line of California court rulings that have made pension benefits for existing employees sacrosanct.

The justices during a hearing in the case in December appeared inclined to sidestep the larger issue over the sanctity of pension benefits.