Monday, July 3, 2017

Alliance Legislative Report 100-29

LEGISLATURE ADJOURNS – RECONVENES TOMORROW

There will be no end to the legislative session today (Monday). The House of Representatives, a day after approving a state spending bill and legislation to add revenues to sustain a budget, adjourned early and will reconvene on Tuesday, July 4, at 4:30 p.m. The Senate also adjourned to return Tuesday morning.

Representatives did approve the budget implementation bill (BIMP), SB 42, which contains the substantive language necessary to implement the budget items. Now all of the budgetary items have been sent to the Senate for consideration. However, after hours of leadership meetings and party caucuses Monday, no action was taken up on the floor.

The BIMP bill also includes pension language that would affect school districts. It authorizes state retirement systems, including the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS), to offer a Tier III defined contribution plan. In such a plan, the employee would contribute 6.2 percent of his/her creditable earnings while the employer would contribute 2 percent. SB 42 also would shift the normal pension costs from the state to the local school district for the amount of salary for any employee whose creditable earnings is higher than the salary of the governor ($140,000).

Other things are still very fluid in the Capitol. Though the budget bills have been approved by the House, bills that represent the other parts of the “agreement” have yet to be finalized. 15 House Republicans supported SB 6 and SB 9 Sunday with the understanding that reform bills (pensions, workers’ compensation, property tax caps, school funding reform) would follow. The issues are still works in progress and no bills or amendments were filed Monday on these issues.

In the Senate, without these additional issues being addressed, Republican votes for a budget may be more difficult to count on. Though Democrats have enough votes in their caucus to approve the budget and revenue bills without the other party’s support, there may be some reluctance for them to do so. Thus, the slowdown in the Capitol today.

The Alliance will continue updating on these issues through reports, tweets, and blog articles.