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Posted by Jerry Bender
The Nexus Group: Retirement & Benefits for April 24
ESTRAGON: Let’s go.
VLADIMIR: We can’t.
ESTRAGON: Why not?
VLADIMIR: We’re waiting for Godot.
ESTRAGON: (despairingly) Ah!
–SAMUEL BECKETT, Waiting for Godot
Session number one has ended, some would say, with a whimper. And now we must wait.
Until the budget(s) get negotiated and agreed to by the members of each caucus and then by both houses, the status of some legislation remains in doubt.
The focus of the upcoming special session(s) will be on budget money (general, transportation, and capital) and on addressing the Supreme Court’s McCleary ruling.
Many policy bills proposed earlier in the session have failed to advance by Sine Die. Therefore, the legislative focus on these issues and resulting legislation has shifted and they appear to be “dead” or in a deep sleep:
- Increasing the state’s minimum wage.
- Funding and providing sick and safe leave for all employees in the state.
- Fundamentally changing any aspect of the state’s current pension system.
- Addressing the need to increase the substitute teacher candidate pool.
A few issues remain alive and are of concern:
- The Senate budget cuts the health care insurance benefit for school Medicare retirees from the present $150/month to a proposed $110/month. This insurance is purchased through the Public Employee Benefit Board (PEBB).
- SB 6109 dealing with teacher compensation, collective bargaining, and levies will assuredly be part of the final negotiations. Details on this bill were discussed in earlier reports. The Legislature, led by Senate Republicans, but with some strong Democratic support, wants to move to statewide collective bargaining on behalf of school employees. A part of that move would be the development of consolidated health insurance plans similar to the present statewide PEBB model.
The Nexus Group