Gov. Jerry Brown vetoes labor-backed pension bills


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Gov. Jerry Brown wielded a heavy veto pen in the final days of bill-signing season, rejecting proposals that sought to undo past budget cuts and increase regulation.

As detailed in Tuesday’s Times, it was part of a broad effort to bolster the chances of Proposition 30, which seeks billions of dollars in new taxes to help balance the budget. By demonstrating that he was willing to say no to lawmakers, Brown could show that this tax increase wouldn’t end up squandered on legislative pet projects.


The vetoes, however, angered some of Brown’s Democratic allies, including organized labor.

Brown took particular umbrage to union-backed bills that he said would have undermined one of the chief accomplishments of his administration: an overhaul of the state’s public pension system.

He killed a measure that would have given county workers who have been laid off an additional six months to be rehired to maintain their pension benefits. Brown said the bill, AB 1885 by Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla (D-Concord), would have reversed part of the deal that led to this year’s signature pension legislation.

He also vetoed a bill that would have given teachers an additional seat on the board of the California State Teachers Retirement System. Brown said the measure, AB 1101 by Assemblyman Mike Eng (D-Monterey Park), would move California in the ‘wrong direction.’

‘The state’s retirement system boards need greater independence, not less,’ he wrote in a veto message.

Brown also rejected a bill that would have codified into law the vesting period for Bay Area Rapid Transit workers to receive retirement health benefits. Noting expiring labor contracts, the governor said the issue should be settled at the bargaining table. The bill was AB 2053 by Assemblyman Michael Allen (D-Santa Rosa).



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-- Michael J. Mishak in Sacramento