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Supreme Court primed to take on 3-percent pension case, starting in September

The Florida Supreme Court has agreed to take up the case of state workers who sued the Legislature over its decision to require them to contribute 3 percent of their salaries to their requirement.

Earlier this month, a circuit court judge ruled that the state’s 3-percent contribution plan was unconstitutional, potentially causing a $2 billion budget fiasco.

Gov. Rick Scott  responded that he was sure the decision would be found Constitutional on appeal. 

The First District Court of Appeals referred the case was directly to the Supreme Court, which accepted jurisdiction on Wednesday.

Oral arguments are expected to begin in September.

"This court  hereby certifies...that this appeal is one presenting issues of  great  public importance and involves circumstances which require that  the Supreme Court of  Florida immediately resolve the issues," the First DCA wrote on March 16. 

Here's our original blog on the case referral.

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.”