Saturday, November 09, 2013

Pension Reform Efforts Continue

Governor Deval Patrick has been committed to pension reform since his first term in office.  While most agree that reform is needed, the question of how to accomplish reform is still being debated.

On November 18, 2011, a Press Release from the Governor's Office announced that the Governor had signed "comprehensive pension reform legislation, continuing the Patrick-Murray Administration's efforts to end abuses and close loopholes to create a sustainable public pension system."  The law, Chapter 176 of the Acts of 2011 (S. 2065), entitled, "An Act Providing for Pension Reform and Benefits Modernization" builds on earlier legislation passed in 2009 (An Act Providing Responsible Reforms in the Pension System (Chapter 21 of the Acts of 2009).

The 2013 law created a "special commission to study retiree healthcare and other non-pension benefits."  The commission's "Final Report" was submitted on January 11, 2013. 

On February 12, 2013, the Governor filed legislation (HB-59) to reform healthcare benefits based on the recommendations of the special commission.  The bill, entitled, "An Act Providing Retiree Healthcare Benefits Reform" was referred to the Joint Committee on Public Service, and a public hearing was scheduled for October 31, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. in the Gardner Auditorium at the State House. For the text of the bill, filing letter, and bill summary - as well as other information about the bill, see the Executive Office of Administration and Finance posting at "Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB)".

For coverage of the public hearing and the possible fate of the bill the reader is referred to the Friday, November 01, 2013 post by Colleen Quinn for the State House News Service, "Patrick's Healthcare Bill Met With Backlash From Workers".

The hearing was also reported by OPEIU Local 6 in a November 01, 2013 "Bulletin to OPEIU, Local 6 Membership" entitled, "OPEB Hearing".

It appears that the conversation over pension reform in the Commonwealth continues.