Call To Action: SB 184 and SB 430
Dear CJA Member:
 
Two bills involving judges’ pensions will be heard June 26 in the Assembly Committee on Public Employment and Retirement. CJA urges you to VOICE YOUR SUPPORT for bills.
 
SB 184 ( SB 184 ), authored by Senator John Moorlach, addresses the unfair cliff-vesting under the Judicial Retirement System II (JRS II). Under the current provisions of JRS II, a judge at age 65 with at least 20 years of service, or at age 70 with a minimum of 5 years of service, may retire and receive a defined benefit. SB 184 provides for a deferred early retirement for a judge who is at least 60 years of age with 5 or more years of service or who has 20 or more years regardless of age.
 
Senate Bill 430 ( SB 430 ), authored by Senator Bob Wieckowski, is a CJA sponsored bill that will help a group judges who were elected in 2012 but were not sworn into office until 2013, thus subjecting them to the new pension contribution rates under the California Public Employees' Pension Reform Act (PEPRA). 
 
These judges came from private practice and filed, ran, and won their respective offices in 2012. However, because these judges were unable to be sworn in until January 2013, for pension purposes, they are treated differently than judges that were appointed during 2012 because PEPRA went into effect on January 1, 2013. PEPRA required an equalization of employer and employee contributions to the Judges Retirement System for new judges. This change approximately doubled the judge’s contribution to the retirement system from 8% to roughly 15-16%, with no benefit increases or other changes.

SB 430 clarifies that these judges elected during 2012 but not taking office until 2013, are not “new members” of the Judges Retirement System. By doing so, SB 430 standardizes the treatment of all judges elected or appointed during 2012 under PEPRA. Simple fairness suggests that these judges should be subject to the retirement law in effect when they were elected to office.
 
Both of these bills have passed through the Senate and now begin review in the Assembly.  
 
CJA strongly supports legislation to improve the inequalities in the judicial retirement system for all judges, regardless of when you took your oath of office. Please help this effort and contact legislators and EXPRESS YOUR SUPPORT.
 
What Can Members Do?
 
  1. First, look up your legislators HERE using your voting address. Next, review the committee roster for the Assembly Committee on Public Employment and Retirement HERE.
 
  1. If your Assemblymember is on the committee or if you have any personal connections to these members contact their offices and ask them to vote AYE on SB 430 and SB 184. This is the most effective way to let individual legislators know how important judicial pension reform legislation is to their constituents and their communities. 
 
Thank you in advance for taking the time to participate in this important legislative effort.

Judge Paul A. Bacigalupo
President, CJA
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The California Judges Association is dedicated to promoting judicial excellence to achieve fair and impartial justice through education, ethics, inclusivity, and advocacy.