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Judge rules Florida pension changes unconstitutional

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seafan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-07-12 02:52 PM
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Judge rules Florida pension changes unconstitutional
Source: Tampa Bay Times (formerly St. Petersburg Times)

TALLAHASSEE In a dramatic defeat for the governor and the Florida Legislature, a Leon County circuit judge on Tuesday ruled that the decision last year to cut public employee salaries was an unconstitutional breach of the state's contract and ordered the money returned with interest.

.....

"The 2011 Legislature, when faced with a budget shortfall, turned to the employees of the State of Florida and ignored the contractual rights given to them by the Legislature in 1974,'' wrote Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford, who also relied on a 1981 state Supreme Court ruling favoring public employees.

She said the Legislature's decision to cut public employee salaries 3 percent, without renegotiating their contracts, was an "unconstitutional taking of private property without full compensation" that violated the rights of public employees "to collectively bargain over conditions of employment."

The governor and Republican legislative leaders cut salaries 3 percent, eliminated cost of living adjustments, or COLAs, and shifted savings into the general revenue fund to offset the state's contribution to their retirement account.

.....



Read more: http://www.tampabay.com/news/courts/civil/article121859...



Judge Fulford was also quoted in this piece (I'm paraphrasing) saying that the court could not ignore its constitutional obligations in this case, regardless of the raging legislative budget crisis, because it would mean that a contract with Florida state government would be rendered meaningless.


Of course, Rick Scott, Senate President Haridopolos and Senator JD Alexander are spitting with fury.


Tough.


This is fine news today for Floridians.



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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-07-12 04:21 PM
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1. I read that and rejoiced. But they will keep trying. Again and again.
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dtexdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-08-12 03:26 PM
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2. Damn Florida government, always unconstitutionally taking private property!
;-)
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-10-12 08:01 AM
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3. Freedom of parties to contract as they choose upheld. Great.
If a judge had ever allowed invalidation of a contract the Republicans wanted, we would have heard about an activist judge, substituting his or her judgment for the decisions others had lawfully made.

Double standard will not doubt prevail here, though. The judge will be lambasted, because, at bottom, they simply want courts to decide what they think courts should decide, regardless of what the law is.

Between this and the parent trigger, sounds like an unusually good week for Florida.

Congrats, Floridians!
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