Senator Raymond J. Lesniak, D-Union, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, speaks in favor of a bill which would authorize the Legislature to set Judicial pension contribution rates in order to preserve the fiscal integrity of the pension fund.

30 Jul: Lesniak Floor Remarks On Judicial Pension Bill

TRENTON – State Senator Raymond J. Lesniak, D-Union, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued the following floor remarks in support of a measure which would post a ballot question to the electorate to give the Legislature the authority to legislate judicial pension contributions:

“I’ve sponsored three amendments to the NJ Constitution during my time in the Legislature. As an Assemblyman, I sponsored a change in the riparian rights section of our Constitution. That amendment was not adopted by the voters. As a senator, I co-sponsored with Senator Lance a limit on borrowing without voter approval. That amendment was approved by our voters. And just last year, I sponsored the sports betting amendment that was overwhelmingly approved by our voters as well. I guess I could say Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad.

Senator Richard J. Codey (D – Essex, Morris) testifies on the Senate floor regarding S-1, legislation that would establish marriage equality in New Jersey. The bill is sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen), Senator Raymond J. Lesniak (D-Union) and Senate President Stephen P. Sweeney (D-Salem, Cumberland, Gloucester). The bill was approved by the full Senate with a vote of 24-16.

30 Jul: Codey On Judicial Pension Bill Approval

TRENTON – Senator Richard J. Codey, D-Essex/Morris, issued the following statement today after the Senate approved a measure which would propose a Constitutional Amendment to the voters to allow the Legislature to legislate employee benefits for judges and justices of the Supreme Court:

“When employees think about their annual salary, they don’t often calculate out the cost of their fringe benefits and the deductions from their paycheck that go to pay for those benefits. Their salary is their salary, and any tax or benefit deductions are usually only reserved for the top portion of their pay stub.

30 Jul: Legislature Sends Turner/Sweeney Constitutional Amendment Ensuring Judges Contribute Fair Share To Their Pensions & Benefits To Voters

TRENTON – A state constitutional amendment sponsored by Senate President Steve Sweeney and Senator Shirley K. Turner that would ensure judges contribute their fair share towards their pensions and benefits today cleared the Legislature, putting the measure on the November ballot.

“Judges should not be considered different than anyone else in public service terms of their pension and benefit contributions,” said Sweeney (D–Gloucester, Salem, Cumberland). “In fact, the poor health the judicial pension system is largely due to judges contributing so little while collecting greater benefits, and we can’t allow this system – or any pension – to go bankrupt. We need to correct this out of fairness and out of the need to put our fiscal house back in order.”

“The law should apply equally to everyone. No one is better than anyone else,” said Turner (D–Mercer, Hunterdon). “The pension reform law is critical to returning our pension systems to health and the ability to deliver on their promises. With the Judicial Retirement System in such poor shape, our judges need to swallow hard and take their medicine, or else run the very real risk of seeing their pension system run aground.”

24 Jul: Turner: Pension Reforms Must Apply Equally To All

TRENTON – Senator Shirley K. Turner today said the Supreme Court ruling that pension reforms enacted last year do not constitutionally apply to judges’ pension means it must be left to the voters to ensure the law applies equally to all public employees.

Turner is prime sponsor – along with Senate President Steve Sweeney – of a proposed constitutional amendment (SCR-110) that would ensure that judges pay the higher contribution rate needed to help stabilize their pension system and prevent its bankruptcy. Currently, the Judicial Retirement System carries a $280.5 million unfunded liability – making it the most unstable of the state’s public employee pension systems, able to meet only 52.1 percent of its obligations.