The gridlock that held many bills hostage in the final days of Missouri’s 2015 Regular Legislative Session made no exceptions for three LAGERS bills, all of which stalled in the final days of session last week.
LAGERS entered 2015 hopeful that this would be the year that the “Local Plans” bill would pass. LAGERS filed similar language in the 2014, with Senate Bill 675(2014) being Truly Agreed and Passed; however the bill never made it to law as it was vetoed by Governor Nixon last summer. House Bill 494 and Senate Bill 283 were LAGERS top priority this year, and with modified language to address the Governor’s veto concerns, LAGERS felt confident that this was year we could achieve a legislative solution for those member employers wishing to transfer the administration of their frozen pension plans into LAGERS.
Both House Bill 494 and Senate Bill 283 looked promising as they initially moved through their respective chambers meeting no opposition and with legislators agreeing that this language is good, common sense policy for Missouri’s taxpayers and local municipalities.
Unfortunately, SB 283 became weighted down with extra amendments, many of which were unrelated to LAGERS, and eventually succumbed to its injuries in Conference. HB 494 sailed through both its House and Senate committees, and looked as though it was on track to the governor’s desk. However it became one of the countless pieces of legislation held up in the final days of the filibuster that shut down the Senate in its last week.
It was a tough year politically to accomplish anything at the capitol, but LAGERS still firmly believes that this legislation is great policy for Missouri’s taxpayers and for our members. We will continue to work towards a legislative solution that could potentially enable political subdivisions who wish to get out of the pension business to do so.
LAGERS’ other bill, House Bill 643, which would have allowed employers the option to classify certain public safety personnel as either ‘police’ or ‘fire’ employees for LAGERS purposes, also suffered a similar fate in the final days of session.
LAGERS looks forward to continuing to work with law makers next year to help ensure that the best policy for Missouri and Missouri’s taxpayers can be reached. And while 2015 did not move forward as hoped, LAGERS is reminded that our ultimate focus is to ensure that our members’ benefits are secure and protected today and into the future, something we continue to do every day.