The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) The current and projected assets of the State Teachers' Retirement Plan administered by the State Teachers' Retirement System with respect to the Defined Benefit Program are insufficient to meet the obligations of that program already accrued or projected to be accrued in the future with respect to service credited to members of that program before July 1, 2014.
(b) Various legal rulings have determined that vested contractual rights of existing members generally cannot be changed without providing a comparable new advantage.
(c) The improvement factor currently provided under the Defined Benefit Program pursuant to Sections 22140 and 22141, as those sections read before July 1, 2014, is not a contractually enforceable promise.
(d) The Legislature hereby increases the contributions of active members by an amount not to exceed the normal cost of the improvement factor, providing a comparable new advantage by removing the statutory right to adjust the improvement factor, and thereby establishing the improvement factor as a contractually enforceable promise.
(e) The statutory changes adopted by the act that added this section address the long-term funding needs of the Defined Benefit Program in a manner that allocates increased contributions among members of the system and school employers, consistent with the contractual rights of existing members.
(f) The provisions of the act that added this section were based on various legal understandings and would not have been adopted without those understandings. The new obligations and benefits provided in Sections 7 and 9 of the act adding this section are contingent on those legal understandings being accurate. Thus if there is a final unappealable judicial decision that holds that the increased contributions in Section 22950.5 constitute a new functional responsibility for schools and community colleges pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 41204, and correspondingly require an adjustment pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 8 of Article XVI of the California Constitution, or a final unappealable administrative or judicial decision that holds that the increased contributions in Section 22950.5 constitutes a reimbursable mandate pursuant to Article XIII B of the California Constitution, then it is the intent of the Legislature that the provisions added by the act adding this section shall cease to be effective.
(g) It is in the public interest and a matter of urgency to authorize, and to implement as soon as possible, a remedy to the funding problem of the system. This remedy is necessary to ensure that funds will be available to support a pension system upon which hundreds of thousands of teachers rely and for which the current funding structure raises significant fiscal policy concerns.
(h) It is of great importance to the state, the system, and school districts that there not be long term doubt about the feasibility of the solutions provided in the act that added this section. In order to fulfill the important objective of facilitating the system's and school districts' financial transactions the legality of the act that added this section must be quickly affirmed. The system, school districts, and teachers need to settle promptly all questions about the validity of each other's duties and obligations under this statute.
(i) It is well-established that the terms and conditions of public retirement plans generally are established by statute or other comparable enactment rather than by contract. Statutes governing the terms of compensation and deferred compensation of public employees are thus significant financial obligations contemplated and covered by Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 860) of Title 10 of Part 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
(Added by Stats. 2014, Ch. 47, Sec. 1.)