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May 24, 2011

Contact: Shannan Velayas
(916) 653-6575

Pension Initiative Enters Circulation

Modifies Public Employee Pension Benefits.
Eliminates Authority to Set Public Employee Retirement Benefits by
Contract or Collective Bargaining. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.

SACRAMENTO - Secretary of State Debra Bowen today announced that the proponent of a new initiative may begin collecting petition signatures for his measure.

The Attorney General prepares the legal title and summary that is required to appear on initiative petitions. When the official language is complete, the Attorney General forwards it to the proponent and to the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State then provides calendar deadlines to the proponent and to county elections officials, and the initiative may be circulated for signatures. The Attorney General's official title and summary for the measure is as follows:

MODIFIES PUBLIC EMPLOYEE PENSION BENEFITS. ELIMINATES AUTHORITY TO SET PUBLIC EMPLOYEE RETIREMENT BENEFITS BY CONTRACT OR COLLECTIVE BARGAINING. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT. Sets retirement age at 62 for persons who are or will be public employees. Limits pensions to 60 percent of employee's highest average base wage for three consecutive years. Requires employees match public agency pension contribution. Mandates public employees work fulltime for five consecutive years to receive pension. Provides public agency full discretion to modify pensions, and prevents pension changes through contract or collective bargaining. Retains current pension benefits for legislators and public employees retiring before initiative is effective. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Major reductions in state and local defined benefit pension contributions -- potentially totaling billions of dollars per year (as measured in today's dollars) -- over the long run. These reductions would be offset to an unknown extent by increases in other compensation costs for some public employees, depending on labor market conditions and future decisions made by governmental entities. (11-0007.)

The Secretary of State's tracking number for this measure is 1484 and the Attorney General's tracking number is 11-0007.

The proponent for this measure, Roger Niello, must collect signatures of 807,615 registered voters – the number equal to eight percent of the total votes cast for governor in the 2010 gubernatorial election – in order to qualify it for the ballot. The proponent has 150 days to circulate petitions for this measure, meaning the signatures must be collected by October 20, 2011.

The initiative proponent can be reached at (916) 442-7757.

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