Please do not think the war is over to protect your benefits. While Representative Grady’s office has indicated HB 1319, which is particularly radical in its changes, is dead, it still appears on the legislative slate. HB 1543, another really nasty bill, shows up as having been withdrawn on the legislature’s slate. Senate Bill 2022 is a relative newcomer, and is very much in play. SB 2022 was introduced by Senator J.D. Alexander, a very powerful figure in Tallahassee and the Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, and has already passed through the Senate Committee in very rapid manner. It will mandate all employees make a payroll contribution to their retirement benefits.
It is an interesting coincidence that the two most radical bills were withdrawn concurrent with the introduction and rapid push through committee of SB 2022. In comparison to HB 1319 and HB 1543, SB 2022 looks like a dream. I am hoping that wasn’t the plan. Scare everyone with radical changes, then a seemingly innocuous bill comes up, and it might be more easily pushed through. I am hoping this isn’t the legislative version of “good cop, bad cop”. If FRS participants are mandated to pay a portion of their pay, where does it end? Next year will it be more and more? The national average for employee contributions to pensions is around 5%. That is a significant cost to you!
Below is a list of about 30 different bills that have been introduced and are still on the table that could negatively affect your benefits in one way or another. I would urge you all to keep on your toes, and continue to call your Representatives and Senators and let them know you do not want them to vote in favor on ANY bill or amendment which will take away your benefits. Simply click on the blue link and it will take you to the Florida Legislature site where you may review the status and original version of the bills.
HB 1543 – [Withdrawn]
This bill by Representative Zapata would have limited benefits payable to certain members of retirement system . . . .
|FRS Membership Classes:
Elected Officers’ Class – HB 1319, HB 1543
Regular Class – HB 1319, HB 1543
Senior Management Service Class – HB 147, SB 1230, HB 1319, HB 1543
Special Risk Class – HB 49, HB 123, HB 127, SB 162, SB 198, SB 212, HB 249, SB 612, HB 1193, SB 1204, HB 1315,HB 1319, HB 1543, SB 1902, SB 1932, SB 1996
|FRS Pension Plan Benefits, Rights and Features:
Average Final Compensation – HB 1319, SB 2468
Compensation/Bonuses – HB 1319, HB 1543
Contributions/Funding – HB 1319, SB 2022, HB 5607, HB 5703
Military Service Credit – SB 810, HB 1579
Other – SB 232, HB 477, HB 1319, SB 1412
Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP) – HB 249, SB 612, HB 1319
Public Employee Optional Retirement Program (PEORP) – HB 413, SB 660, HB 1319
Obviously, your benefits are a prime target for potential cost savings in Tallahassee. Please continue to call, email, and write letters to your legislators and voice your concerns!