With Legislative Spring Break now behind us, legislators are sharpening their focus on the final few weeks of the 2015 session. LAGERS has been hard at work on several important pieces of legislation, so I thought I’d give our readers a quick update on where LAGERS’ bills stand and what we expect to see in the coming final weeks.
LAGERS knew entering the 2015 session that our top priority was going to again be our “Local Plans” bill. As Jeff wrote about back in December, this is legislation that LAGERS pursued at the request of several LAGERS members with frozen pension plans who wished to transfer the administration of those plans to LAGERS.
Following the Governor’s veto of last year’s bill, the slightly modified language in this year’s bill has again received overwhelming support in both chambers, with none testifying in opposition. As of this blog’s posting, House Bill 494 has been voted out of committee and is awaiting perfection before heading to the Senate. Companion bill, Senate Bill 283, has already been perfected by the Senate and sent to the House. LAGERS expects both bills to continue moving as we approach the last few weeks of this session, as this is win-win public policy for all Missourians and their local communities.
Another focus during this session for LAGERS is a second piece of legislation, House Bill 643, which would allow employers the option to elect to cover emergency dispatchers, EMS personnel, and jailors as ‘Firefighters’ or ‘Police Officers’ for LAGERS purposes. Expanding the definition would allow those employers to provide an earlier retirement age of 55 as the full retirement age for those covered employees. This bill has also been voted out of Committee without anyone testifying against the bill and is awaiting perfection by the House before moving on to the Senate.
As with most legislative sessions, there are a handful of other bills that LAGERS continuously monitors to ensure that the LAGERS system, our members and retirees have a voice at the capitol. LAGERS staff works diligently to educate our policy makers on the value of the services our members provide to their local communities and the benefits of having a defined benefit that allows Missouri’s hard working public servants to retire with a little dignity and security.
To keep track of all legislation with potential impact to the LAGERS system, check out our bill tracker!