March 29, 2013
Provide to Florida Public Employees
By: Gary Rainey
Brothers and Sisters;
The Senate Appropriations Committee voted out their version of FRS reform bill yesterday, morning. This version is much less drastic than the House version (HB 7011) that was passed on the floor last week. The Senate version closes the FRS Pension plan to the Senior Management and Elected Officers classifications. The Regular class and Special Risk and Special Risk Administrative Support will remain open to new hires. The effective date of the changes was moved from January 1, to July 1, 2014. It also increases the vesting period for new hires in the pension plan from 8 years to 10 years of service and reduces the employee contribution rate for members of the Defined Contribution (Investment Plan) from 3% to 2%.
I drafted an amendment late last evening that would extend the selection period from the current 5 months to 11 months from date of hire, Senator Sobel offered it this morning, however it and 9 other amendments that would have improved the bill were defeated by party line votes. There was some discussion of a compromise of extending the decision period to perhaps 7 months, but that can only be done on the floor at this point.
Although we changed our position on the bill to support, most of law enforcement, teachers, and other affected groups remain opposed. It was once again a party line vote with all Republicans voting YES and all Democrats except Senator Ring voting NO.
Once the Senate passes their version of the bill it will most likely proceed to a conference committee, as it cannot go to the Governor Scott until both versions are identical. The conference committee is usually conducted behind closed doors, and whether the House version, the Senate version or a compromise of the two will prevail, will remain to be seen. We are half way through the session with 4 weeks to go. Most Committees will finish up their meetings in the next week or two, and then the budget negotiations will begin.
The Local pension bill and the transparency bill were also on the agenda today but the clock ran out and will probably be scheduled for next weeks meeting.
Stay tuned, we will be asking for your help over the next few weeks, and you can make a difference!
Gary Rainey, President
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