In Arkansas, the House today failed to pass a bill that would end age-related retirement of state judges.
Of those legislators voting on this bill, 18 are over 70 years of age. State representatives do not have the same age-related limit.
Under state law, any judge who turns 70 during their term of office will forfeit retirement benefits if they choose to run again.
Such a decision would cost them thousands of dollars and acts as a huge discentive. Judges can qualify for retirement benefits of up to 80% of full time pay - more than $130,000 a year.
Rep. Doug House (R-North Little Rock) said the generous retirement package was initially provided to offset low pay, but Judges’ pay has now been raised substantially. Rep. Mickey Gates (R-Hot Springs, and currently accused of multiple felony crimes) argued against the bill as he reported once seeing a judge fall asleep during a hearing.
Rep. John Walker (D-Little Rock) spoke in favour of the bill and raised age discrimination.