After attempts to get two pieces of legislation related to pension reform through the committee process failed, Sen. Bob Huff decided Thursday to take the bills directly to the Senate floor.
Frustrated that the bills were bogged down in the committee process, the Republican Senate Leader, R-Diamond Bar, called on all of his colleagues to vote on his proposed legislation. The Senate opted not to vote on the pension reform measures or debate the issue, something Huff said is an effort on the Democrats’ part to shut out Republicans.
“You had an opportunity to bring the Governor’s public pension reform plan to the Senate Floor, to debate it in the open and you said no,” Huff said in a statement. “You don’t want to have a debate in public. You want to work on a secret plan behind closed doors, away from public view.”
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, told the Sacramento Bee last month that pension reform is still very much on the table, although the time frame for when negotiations would be done and a comprehensive package completed is unknown at this time.
This is not the first time Huff has voiced disappointment that pension reform is not moving at the pace he would like.
In April, he lamented the failure of two proposed pension reform bills, one on the Senate side and another considered by the Assembly, to gain any traction with state lawmakers.
In February, Huff and several other lawmakers held a press conference announcing support for Gov. Jerry Brown’s pension reform plan.
Huff had authored Senate Constitutional Amendment 18 and Senate Bill 1176, which complemented similar measures proposed on the Assembly side.
The governor’s plan calls for public employees to contribute more to their pension, raises the retirement age, and reduces benefits for new hires, among other changes.
“It’s time to fix our pension systems so that they are fair and sustainable over a long time horizon,” Brown said in October. “My plan raises the retirement age and bans abusive practices like ‘spiking’ and ‘air time’ while mandating that public employees pay an equal share of pension costs.”