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Florida headed to Supreme Court, yet again, this time over 3-percent pension law

The state of Florida will be going back to the Supreme Court, again, this time over its controversial law requiring state workers to contribute 3 percent of their salary to their retirement.

The First District Court of Appeals granted the request of the Florida Education Association to allow the case to go directly to the Supreme Court, FEA said Friday.

Earlier this month, a circuit court judge ruled that the state’s 3-percent contribution plan was unconstitutional, ordering the state to halt its program and refund as much as $1 billion. Immediately, Gov. Rick Scott and legislative leadership said they would appeal the decision.

Now that appeal will head directly to the Supreme Court, where Florida’s litigious legislature might as well set up camp. The state’s executive and legislative branches are facing at least three Supreme Court lawsuits, and more than a dozen other legal challenges. Just yesterday a legal battle over tuition was sent up to the state’s highest court.

Scott is being sued for an executive order requiring some agencies to begin random drug tests for their employees. The Supreme Court last week threw out the Senate political maps that were drawn by lawmakers, calling them unconstitutional.

Also, the Legislature passed several laws this year that are Constitutionally-questionable and could face lawsuits in the future: The so-called “prayer in school” bill, a state-employee drug-testing program and a Medicaid billing law that could cost counties millions. 

For a story on Florida’s host of legal challenges, click here.

The Florida Education Association hailed the First District Court of Appeals’ decision.

“We’re pleased that this case will move more quickly toward its final resolution,” said FEA President Andy Ford. “This could help hundreds of thousands of middle-class Florida families who have seen their incomes tumble while the governor and legislative leaders handed out tax giveaways to corporations.”

Here’s the press release:

Pension case headed directly to Florida Supreme Court

TALLAHASSEE -- In another setback to Gov. Rick Scott and the other defendants, and another victory for Florida’s public workers, the First District Court of Appeal has granted the Florida Education Association’s request that last week’s pension decision be certified directly to the Florida Supreme Court for final determination.  

“We’re pleased that this case will move more quickly toward its final resolution,” said FEA President Andy Ford. “This could help hundreds of thousands of middle-class Florida families who have seen their incomes tumble while the governor and legislative leaders handed out tax giveaways to corporations.”

Last week’s ruling found the 3 percent tax on public workers’ salaries was unconstitutional and Leon Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford directed that the money that was wrongfully withheld from salaries be returned to workers with interest.

Scott and the other defendants immediately appealed Fulford’s ruling to the intermediate court. In today’s ruling, the District Court of Appeal found that the case was one of great public importance requiring immediate resolution by the Supreme Court of Florida.

Today’s ruling rejected the state’s opposition to the case being certified to the high court.

            
Copies of FEA’s suggestion for certification, the state’s response, and today’s order can be found at:http://www.meyerbrookslaw.com/Litigation.htm

 

 

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