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retiree returning to part-time public sector work. Our pro- posal, which was also backed by the Mass Police and Profes- sional Fire Fighters, was passed within the FY19 State budget as outside section 29.
The proposal would increase the annual hourly limit from the current 960 hours to 1,200. Mass Retirees advocated for the increase because the current limit, which averages just 18.5
Please See Page 12 ☞
ernor Charlie Baker has rejected A
s we go to press in late July, Gov-
a Mass Retirees proposal that would increase the hourly limit for any
and AFSME (American Federa- tion of State & Municipal Employees) as to whether or not they will support the proposal.
“In 2016, we had some groups oppose HR711 for no reason other than politics and gamesmanship. This is not a game to Mass Retirees or the nearly 2 million people who are victimized by WEP. If anyone has a better real- istic idea on how to fix this, let’s hear it. Otherwise, I ask you to join with us to pass a bill in 2018 that provides relief to all our members and creates a fairer system for future retirees,” says Mass Retirees President Frank Valeri.
“The average retiree loses over $400 a month due to the WEP. We cannot allow our members to con- tinue to suffer while we await the perfect solution that may never come. It is time to compromise and bring relief for retirees, while we work together to further improve the rebate going forward.”
In terms of the potential time- frame for Congressional action, Congress is in session through the end of 2018. There will be a short window to act early this fall before the mid-term election. Following the election, Congress will recon- vene for what is known as a lame duck session. If action is to take place on WEP reform in 2018, this is the most likely time for passage.
As of this writing in late July, Mass Retirees’ backed legis- lation raising the basic life insur- ance for state retirees, as well as a bill permanently extending the municipal insurance premium con- tribution rate moratorium for current retirees, remain unresolved.
Recent attempts to pass both measures have fallen short. The
The cost of increasing the state’s basic life insurance benefit from $5,000 to $10,000 continues to be an insurmountable legislative hurdle. Legislative leaders remain hesitant to appropriate the annual $9 million to fund a benefit increase.
Mass Retirees has enlisted the help of the state’s Group Insurance Commission (GIC) and Governor Charlie Baker to find an alter- native way to increase the life insurance benefit. As members are well aware, the last
increase occurred in 1985.
Under legislative rules, the formal session ends on July 31. This means that issues requiring roll call votes cannot be taken up after July 31. However, the infor- mal sessions continue through the first Tuesday in January, after which time the 2019-2020 session
begins anew.
Action on issues such as the
Option B/C recalculation bill or increased veterans benefits is not anticipated prior to the end of the formal session in July.
Members should look to the November edition of the Voice for a full legislative report on the 2018-19 Session.
Association’s legislative team had attempted to offer both as amend- ments to the state budget, as well as to the House’s Healthcare Reform bill debated in June. As has been the case with most major leg- islation in recent years, few – if any – amendments were adopted.
In the case of the municipal insur- ance moratorium, city and town officials have fought hard to prevent the passage of legislation that provides new legal protections for local retirees. Regardless, Mass Retirees and union officials will continue to fight to preclude local insurance contribution rates from being increased on existing retirees.

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