Legislation

Articles about Legislation that may be useful to Massachusetts retirees.

FALL LEGISLATIVE SESSION BEGINS

Busy Schedule For Public Service Committee

SEPTEMBER 5, 2013: With the summer recess now in the rearview mirror, the state Legislature has returned to Beacon Hill with an aggressive fall agenda.

On Tuesday, September 10th, the Joint Committee on Public Service will reconvene with what is expected to be a lengthy public hearing in the State House’s Gardner Auditorium. Association officials will be on hand to testify on further increases to the COLA base (S1259 & S1263) and the Option B & C recalculation (H2235).

HALLOWEEN HEARING SET FOR RETIREE HEALTHCARE REFORM

H59 Marks Largest Issue of 2013

AUGUST 7, 2013: The Joint Committee on Public Service has announced that on October 31, 2013 it will hold the long awaited public hearing on H59, Governor Deval Patrick’s proposal to reform retiree healthcare benefits.

As members know, H59 largely reflects the findings of the 2012 Special Commission on Retiree Healthcare, on which our Association held a seat. Legislative Liaison Shawn Duhamel represented public retirees on the Commission.

FALL EYED FOR HEALTH REFORM HEARING

Public Service Weighing Association Proposals

JULY 26, 2013: September looks to be when the legislature will begin to actively consider H59, Governor Deval Patrick’s much anticipated Retiree Healthcare Reform proposal. As employees and retirees are well aware, the bill has been awaiting action before the Joint Committee on Public Service since filed by the governor in February.

ASSOCIATION BILLS ON PUBLIC SERVICE DOCKET

Next Hearing To Focus on Healthcare Proposals

JULY 19, 2013: With one remaining public hearing scheduled to take place prior to the legislature breaking for its summer recess, the Joint Committee on Public Service is set to review a host of Association proposals centering on retiree healthcare.

Slated to receive a public hearing on Tuesday, July 23, are four Association-backed bills that address improvements in healthcare benefits for retirees and survivors. They include:

COMMITTEE FOCUSES ON KEY ASSOCIATION INITIATIVES

COLA, Option C & Life Insurance Get Early Hearing

JULY 2013 VOICE: The Joint Committee on Public Service kicked-off its 2013 schedule with a public hearing that focused on thirty-seven bills earmarked for early action. Each are bills that received a favorable report from the Committee during the last legislative session or are issues deemed of pressing nature by the House and Senate Leadership.

LEGISLATURE APPROVES 3% STATE/TEACHER COLA

Systems On Track For July Payment

JULY 1, 2013: The House and Senate approved a full 3% COLA on a $13,000 base for state and teacher retirees effective this July. Eligible retirees and survivors should receive the first payment in the July pension check, which is issued at the end of the month.

BILL WOULD ALLOW FREE REIGN ON DENTAL PRICING

Association Opposes ‘Anti-Consumer’ Proposal

JUNE 13, 2013: A bill that would allow dentists to negate contractual agreements with insurance companies that offer discounted pricing on dental care is now pending before the Joint Committee on Financial Services. The proposal, if passed into law, would allow dentists free reign to set prices on dental services at any level they choose, once a patient exhausts their annual dental insurance benefit.

SENATE BUDGET INCLUDES 3% STATE & TEACHERS’ COLA

GIC Contribution Percent Intact For State Retirees

May 24, 2013: There are no unwelcome surprises for retirees and survivors in the Senate version of the FY’14 State Budget, approved Thursday night. In fact, the $34 Billion package includes some good news for retired state employees and teachers.

Governor Files Retiree Healthcare Reform

Mirrors Special Commission Report

MAY 2013 VOICE: True to his word, Governor Deval Patrick has filed a bill (H59) to reform retiree healthcare benefits that mirrors the recommendations made by the Special Commission on Retiree Healthcare. See March Voice for Commission details, including retiree/survivor protectons.

HOUSE APPROVES 3% STATE/TEACHER COLA

37 Local Systems Adopt July Increase

APRIL 25, 2013: This week, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed the $34 billion state budget for Fiscal Year 2014, which begins July 1. Contained within the budget is a full 3% COLA for eligible state and teacher retirees, which will be applied to a $13,000 base.