Retiree Legislation On The Move

Retiree Legislation On The Move
Massachusetts House of Representatives

5 Key Issues Advanced By Public Service Committee

Association members received good news this month when the Joint Committee on Public Service favorably released five key bills filed by Mass Retirees. The bills apply to the veterans bonus, basic life insurance, Option C recalculation, post retirement earnings, and the right of surviving spouses to retain health insurance benefits upon remarriage.

The respective bill numbers are S1430/H2564 (Life Insurance), H1435/S1393 (Vets Bonus), H1354 (Option B/C), S1478 (Post Retirement Earnings), and H1366 (Survivor Remarriage).

Late last year, the Public Service Committee favorably released Mass Retirees’ sponsored legislation relative to retiree health insurance benefits. The bill, H2567, is sponsored by House Minority Leader Ron Mariano (D-Quincy). If passed into law, the bill would lock-in certain retirement benefits for current retirees and active employees, while modernizing benefits for future retirees.

Mariano has taken a keen interest in public retiree and employee healthcare and was recently named as the House point person on the subject by Speaker Robert DeLeo. H2567 is now before the Joint Committee on Healthcare Finance. Mass Retirees officials are now engaged in ongoing conversations with legislative and union leaders surrounding the overall issue of healthcare.

The five bills recently released by the Public Service are now in the process of being discharged to either the House or Senate Committee on Ways and Means, where financial analysis will be conducted.

“We want to thank Public Service Chairmen Jerald Parisella and Paul Feeney for the time and effort they and their staffs put into these proposals. Public Service had roughly 600 separate bills to conduct hearings on and review this session. The amount of work that it takes is a huge undertaking,” explains Legislative Director Shawn Duhamel. “While we work hard on every proposal that we file, realistically some areas will become a priority. Each of the bills that have advanced beyond public services contain well vetted proposals that now have a realistic chance of being passed this session.”

Being the second year of the two-year Legislative Session, formal business on Beacon Hill concludes on July 30th. While the legislature remains in session through the first week of January 2019, no roll call formal votes are taken after July.

Mass Retirees members can look to the March 2018 edition of our newsletter, the Voice, for detailed reports on these and other issues of importance to public retirees.