The buzz…constitutional amendment on pensions? > IEA Capitol Report

2 Apr

On the heels of the third reading bill deadline in the House and Senate today, a proposed constitutional amendment has surfaced. The constitutional amendment, which has not yet been introduced, would require a 3/5 “yes” vote from members of the General Assembly for any bill that would provide a benefit increase under any pension or retirement system of the state, unit of local government or school district. The proposal defines a benefit increase as a change to any pension which results in a member receiving a new benefit or enhancement to an existing benefit. The definition also would include changes to the pensions that expand the class of persons who might become members of a retirement system. Increases in salary and wages, by themselves, do not constitute a benefit increase, unless they exceed limits set forth in law. It would also require any state or local government action, such as approval of a collective bargaining agreement, which resulted in a new benefit or benefit enhancement to be approved by a 3/5 vote of that governmental body. Again, increases in salary and wages, by themselves, do not constitute a benefit increase, unless they exceed limits set forth in law.

The timing of this proposal, coupled with the unanimous support in the House of HB 4513 (see below), signals that there is likely to be movement in the General Assembly on the issue of pensions when they return from spring break on April 17. If you recall, that is the same date that the governor set for the introduction of a pension proposal by his pension panel.

We urge all of you to make the most of the time when the General Assembly is on break from now until April 17, and pay a visit to your local legislators to remind them about the issues that you care about and that impact your profession. This will probably be the last opportunity you have to visit with them before the end of the school year. Don’t pass up this opportunity. They need to hear from their local constituents!

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