State District Judge William Movant agreed on Thursday, January 24, with RSEA that the Cash Balance Plan was not properly passed by lawmakers because it lacked a two-thirds vote in the 2012 legislative session. The measure received 68 votes in the House of Representatives, two votes shy of the required 70 votes. Judge Morvant ruled the law (Act 483 of 2012) to be unconstitutionally passed. In a narrowly crafted decision, Judge Morvant did not rule on the merits of the Cash Balance Plan itself, but merely the procedure by which the law was enacted. The judge stated, "I know of no authority for the Legislature to receive the constitutionally-mandated note from the legislative actuary and say, Great, we got it, now we can ignore it."
While RSEA is declaring VICTORY at this time, the Governor's Office has already stated they would appeal the judge's ruling to the Louisiana Supreme Court. RSEA will keep you up-to-date on future developments in this matter.
At the preliminary hearing held on December 3, District Judge William Morvant ruled the RSEA lawsuit can move forward to trial based on the merits of the suit. The Jindal administration had requested Judge Morvant dismiss the suit claiming that RSEA and individual plaintiffs did not have legal standing to file the suit. Judge Morvant disagreed and set the trial date for January 24, 2013. The trial is scheduled for 9:00 a.m., 19th Judicial District Court, 300 North Boulevard, Baton Rouge. RSEA members and interested parties are invited to join RSEA at the court hearing.
Attorneys representing the Retired State Employees Association (RSEA) filed a lawsuit Thursday, August 16 in the 19th Judicial District Court in Baton Rouge challenging the constitutionality of House Bill 61, which became Act 483 of the 2012 Louisiana Legislative Session. The act, known as the Cash Balance Plan, affects future non-hazardous duty state employees of LASERS, post-secondary education members of the Teachers' Retirement System, and is optional for certain Louisiana School Employees' Retirement System members. The plan would not take effect for these new hires until July 1, 2013.
RSEA and their attorneys, Robert "Bob" Tarcza of New Orleans and Robert "Bob" Klausner of Plantation, Florida, reached the conclusion that Act 483 required a two-thirds vote for passage, rather than a simple majority. The Louisiana Constitution, Article X - Section 29(F), mandates a two-thirds vote when an actuarial cost is associated with enactment of benefit provisions for members of a public retirement system. The Legislative Actuary had determined that the Cash Balance Plan would not have an actuarial cost. The bill passed in the Louisiana House of Representatives by a simple majority, but lacked the required 70 votes of the elected members.
The lawsuit is entitled The Retired State Employees Association, Frank L. Jobert, Jr., et al vs. State of Louisiana, Honorable Governor Bobby Jindal and Honorable John Neely Kennedy, State Treasurer.
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