California Proposition 57, Retirement Benefits for Elected State Constitutional Officers (1986)

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California Proposition 57 was on the November 4, 1986 ballot in California as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it was approved.
  • Yes: 4,851,214 (72.7%) Approveda
  • No: 1,820,746 (27.3%)

Proposition 57 eliminated the connection between future increases in the salaries of the persons serving in the 11 state offices and the retirement benefits of those officials who took office prior to October 7, 1974. This meant that beginning on November 5, 1986, these retired officials (or their beneficiaries) would receive only one adjustment, an annual cost-of-living increase.

Ballot summary

The official ballot summary said, "Presently retirement benefits for nonjudicial and nonlegislative elected state constitutional officers are governed by statute and differ depending upon the dates such officers held office. For those who took office prior to October 7, 1974, their retirement benefits have been increased as the compensation paid their successors has increased. This measure amends the Constitution to preclude the retirement benefits of any nonlegislative or nonjudicial elected state constitutional officers from increasing or being affected by changes in compensation payable to their successors on or after November 5, 1986."

Constitutional changes

California Constitution
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See also: Amending the California Constitution

Proposition 57 amended Section 7 of Article III of the California Constitution.

This text shows Section 1 with new provisions added or inserted by Proposition 57 in italic type.

SEC. 7. (a) The retirement allowance for any person, all of whose credited service in the Legislators' Retirement System was rendered or was deemed to have been rendered as an elective officer of the state whose office is provided for by the California Constitution, other than a judge and other than a Member of the Senate or Assembly, and all or any part of whose retirement allowance is calculated on the basis of the compensation payable to the officer holding the office which the member last held prior to retirement, or for the survivor or beneficiary of such a person, shall not be increased or affected in any manner by changes on or after November 5, 1986, in the compensation payable to the officer holding the office which the member last held prior to retirement.
(b) This section shall apply to any person, survivor, or beneficiary described in subdivision (a) who receives, or is receiving, from the Legislators' Retirement System a retirement allowance on or after November 5, 1986, all or any part of which allowance is calculated on the basis of the compensation payable to the officer holding the office which the member last held prior to retirement.
(c) It is the intent of the people, in adopting this section, to restrict retirement allowances to amounts reasonably to be expected by certain members and retired members of the Legislators' Retirement System and to preserve the basic character of earned retirement benefits while prohibiting windfalls and unforeseen advantages which have no relation to the real theory and objective of a sound retirement system. It is not the intent of this section to deny any member, retired member, survivor, or beneficiary a reasonable retirement allowance. Thus, this section shall not be construed as a repudiation of a debt nor the impairment of a contract for a substantial and reasonable retirement allowance from the Legislators' Retirement System.
(d) The people and the Legislature hereby find and declare that the dramatic increase in the retirement allowances of persons described in subdivision (a) which would otherwise result when the compensation for those offices increases on November 5, 1986, or January 5, 1987, are not benefits which could have reasonably been expected. The people and the Legislature further find and declare that the Legislature did not intend to provide in its scheme of compensation for those offices such windfall benefits.

Fiscal impact

The fiscal estimate provided by the California Legislative Analyst's Office said, "This measure would reduce the future retirement benefits of fewer than 20 people, resulting in annual state savings of about $400,000. The state would realize savings because these retirement benefits would not be adjusted for increases in the salaries of state elected officials due to take effect in January 1987 and in future years."

Path to the ballot

The California State Legislature voted to put Proposition 57 on the ballot via Senate Constitutional Amendment 32 (Statutes of 1986, Resolution Chapter 57).


Litigation involving Proposition 57 includes:

  • Walsh v. Board of Admin.. 4 Cal. App. 4th 682, 6 Cal. Rptr. 2d 118 (1992).
  • Knight v. Board of Admin. of the Pub. Employee's Retirement Sys.. 223 Cal. App. 3d 527, 273 Cal. Rptr. 120 (1990).

External links