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Judge rules Florida pension changes unconstitutional
In a dramatic defeat for the governor and the Florida Legislature, a Leon County circuit judge on Tuesday ruled that the decision last year to cut public employee salaries was an unconstitutional breach of the state’s contract and ordered the money returned with interest. “The 2011 Legislature, when faced with a budget shortfall, turned to the employees of the State of Florida and ignored the contractual rights given to them by the Legislature in 1974,” wrote Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford, who also relied on a 1981 state Supreme Court ruling favoring public employees. She said the Legislature’s decision to cut public employee salaries 3 percent, without renegotiating their contracts, was an “unconstitutional taking of private property without full compensation” that violated the rights of public employees “to collectively bargain over conditions of employment.”
Read the full story here: http://www.tampabay.com/news/courts/civil/judge-rules-florida-pension-changes-unconstitutional/1218591