SACRAMENTO, CA - At this point, pension reform will not be on the November ballot.
The proposal failed to get enough votes on the Senate floor Thursday.
Senate Republicans were pushing hard for a public vote. The governor's 12-point reform plan raises the retirement age to 67 and offers hybrid pension schemes that blend smaller guaranteed pensions with a more volatile 401K-style plans.
"The results of the elections in the cities of San Diego and San Jose (when voters passed local pension reform measures) -- they have sent a strong message statewide: this Legislature needs to act and we need to act now," said Sen. Tom Harman, R-Huntington Beach.
The bill was defeated during a contentious 24-to-13 vote.
Top Democrats have long argued pension reform is too complicated to put in the hands of voters.
"Come on, you want to be a part of the comprehensive solution? You want to be part of the comprehensive solution here in California and in this Legislature?" said Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento. "Then participate in all parts of governance, not just the parts that you find to be the most politically appealing."
Steinberg told members that pension reform would be taken up during this legislative session but after the budget is delivered.
California's pension obligation drags down the state budget by billions of dollars every year.
In fact, critics argue, if unchecked, the pension system could be underfunded by $500 billion over the next 20 years.
The deadline for getting pension reform on the November ballot, through a vote of the Legislature, is June 28.