PHOENIX - The Supreme Court of California has agreed to hear an appeal of a landmark pension ruling that analysts and reformers had hailed as a positive for the state and local governments.

The state's top court is expected to rule in the next few weeks on an effort to overturn an August appellate court's decision that the Marin County Employees' Retirement Association was free to reduce unearned benefits for current employees. That ruling represented a less rigid interpretation of the so-called "California Rule," which arose from a 1955 California Supreme Court decision that the state constitution grants employees the right to continue earning pension benefits at least as good as those offered when they were hired.

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