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Dems Dodge Vote on Brown's Pension Plan; GOP Upset

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(Sacramento, CA)
Thursday, April 26, 2012

Democrats and their union allies believe some of Brown's pension ideas go too far.  So Republicans put the governor's plan into legislation, hoping to force an up-or-down vote.  Instead, Democrats referred that - and other GOP pension bills - to something called "interim study."  That prompted a furious response from Assembly Minority Leader Connie Conway:

Conway: "For me, that's a chicken way out.  If you really don't want to vote for the pension bill, then just take the vote and let everybody know what your vote was.  Don't send it off someplace to Never Never Land where it doesn't get a full hearing.  Very disingenuous."

John Vigna in the office of Assembly Speaker John Pérez had his own chicken-related response to Conway's comments:

Vigna: "Quite frankly, that is a lot of clucking that we've come to expect from the Republican caucus."

Vigna says most GOP lawmakers didn't support previous pension reforms pushed by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.  And he says Democratic legislative leaders have made it clear they plan to pass pension changes this year.  Cameron Smyth believes they will.  He's a Republican Assemblyman who's been talking with Governor Brown, the Speaker of the Assembly and labor unions.

Smyth: "The hybrid issue (and the) retirement age are significant sticking points right now.   But in the discussions I've had, it seems that there is pretty good agreement on 10 out of the 12.  So things like spiking and buying airtime - which are pretty egregious - that we want to close those loopholes."

Neither the governor's office nor the speaker's office nor the union coalition involved in pension talks would confirm Smyth's comment.

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