Last week Senator Mike Bennett, Chair of the Senate Community Affairs Committee (and sponsor of SB 1902.) mentioned in committee “that all of the retirement bills will be rolled into a study for over the summer.” This would include the most adverse, HB 1319 and HB 1543, in addition to SB 1902 and SB 2022, and tentatively put the retirement benefits bills on hold, most likely until the next session of the Florida legislature. We will try to get verification on this as soon as possible.
It is my understanding the legislators were so overwhelmed with calls from YOU, and there was such an outpouring of concern, that the decision was made to table all bills relating to retirement benefits until after a special study could be done over the summer to determine the best route to take. This is not a victory! It most likely means the committee will meet a consensus of what changes to make to your benefits, and it will then be easier to pass the bills in the next session of the legislature.
I would again remind everyone of the 125 page report from the Florida Tax Watch group. You may recall this group consisted of many powerful members of the Florida Legislature (Previous discussion at FRSOptions). It would be a mistake to believe that the summer study will not propose cuts to your benefits, and it would not be coincidental if the final version corresponds to the Tax Watch proposal.
As of this time, HB 5701 , which will cut the Health Insurance Subsidy after December 31 of this year, has passed both the house and the senate, and is now in the process of the two groups negotiating the final version. It looks like you will lose that benefit!
While just prolonging the process, the summer respite does give you, Florida Retirement System participants, some breathing room to make some decisions in regard to your future (Take Control of your Retirement ). Now is the time to meet with knowledgeable and trusted advisors about possible actions you can take. It also provides more time to communicate your concerns to your representatives’ and senators. It would be wise to keep a close eye on Tallahassee and keep those phones ringing! Your calls are having and affect. Keep up the good work!