By Daniel Menefee
A bill to raise pension contributions for new judges was amended in the House of Delegates Saturday to strike down a contentious provision in Maryland law that awards judges automatic pay hikes if the legislature fails to reject them.
The House was pressured on March 12 to pass a Senate bill that increased judges’ salaries up to $14,500 over three years — or risk missing a March 15 deadline that would automatically trigger raises as high as $29,000.
House members had doubts the Senate would consider amendments to reduce or reject the raises by the March 15 deadline — since the Senate had already cut the increase from 6% down to 3% a week before the House vote.
UPDATE: Agreement on pension contributions, conference could decide vesting
A Senate version of the bill agrees with the House on raising the pension contribution from 6% to 8% for all judges but the House and Senate must iron out the time it takes for a judge to be vested in the pension system.
The House version of the bill would require judges to wait five years to be fully vested in the pension system. The Senate bill takes no action and allows judges to be vested on the first day of employment.
It is likely a conference committee could take up the issue of vesting or the Senate could accept the House version of the bill.