Sunday, February 25, 2024

COLA Bill and Month of Death Bills Continue to Advance

COLA bill and Month of Death bills continue to advance through the legislative process

This last week, H.B. 1985 (one time cost of living adjustment in 2024 for PERS/TRS 1 retirees) received a unanimous House vote.  The bill has been advanced to the Senate Ways & Means Committee for consideration.  We thank all RPEC members, as well as the members of the Select Committee on Pension Policy, who sit on the House Appropriations Committee for ensuring this bill remained a priority for House legislators.  We especially thank RPEC’s definitive legislative champion, Rep. Mari Leavitt, for her efforts with the Rules Committee, to ensure the bill received a timely full House vote.

The House Appropriations Committee declined action on HB 2013 (month of death bill).  HB 2481, filed on January 25th (state pays the month-of-death health insurance premiums for retirees who receive their insurance through PEBB) is awaiting a full House floor vote and remains in the Rules Committee.

In addition to advocating for bills that we initiate or those that support RPEC’s Legislative Priorities, we are vigilant in our efforts to stop bills that will harm our members.  Case in point, this last Friday night, Senator June Robinson introduced a Proposed Second Substitute Bill (PSSB 6315) that would have significantly changed self-insured medical plans like Uniform Medical Plan (UMP) Classic.  The bill would have negatively impacted all those insured under this plan, especially PERS/TRS 1 members who already have some of the lowest pensions in the state among public sector retirees.  PSSB 6315 would have eliminated the plan’s savings bank which reimburses members for qualified out-of-pocket medical expenses as a mechanism to fund the above-mentioned one-time COLA.  President Clair Olivers testified on Saturday, February 3, and RPEC submitted a letter of concern for the public record.  Through President Olivers’ testimony, our organizational letter, and testimony by our partner organizations, the bill failed.

Last week marked the cut-off date for bills to pass successfully through the two fiscal policy committees.  At this juncture, the other top bills that RPEC was advocating for, including H.B. 2188 (changing the Medicare Explicit Subsidy to lower premiums for Plans F/G and Medicare Advantage Plans) failed to advance and are now dead.

The Fiscal Policy cut off is February 13th. Any bills that have advanced to the Rules Committees and are not scheduled for Senate and House floor votes will die this legislative session.  Bills that do not advanced can be reintroduced in subsequent legislative sessions.

Keep apprised of RPEC’s legislative priorities by attending the weekly Legislative Update calls on Fridays from 2-3 p.m.

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