Following Packed Hearing H59 Under Review

Following Packed Hearing H59 Under Review
Hundreds Attend Halloween Hearing

2013 Legislative Session Winds Down

NOVEMBER 12, 2013: Hundreds of public employees from across all walks of state and local government made their concerns known at a packed public hearing on retiree healthcare reform on October 31st.

The hearing, on H59, was held before the Joint Committee on Public Service. Chaired by Senator William Brownsberger (D-Belmont) and Rep. Aaron Michlewitz (D-North End), the Public Service Committee is now conducting a thorough review of the bill.

Since formal legislative business for 2013 ends on Wednesday, November 20th, further action on H59 will most likely be delayed until early in 2014. At that point the Public Service Committee will likely release a redrafted version of the bill to the House Committee on Ways and Means. This Committee, chaired by Rep. Brian Dempsey (D-Haverhill) will then conduct a detailed cost analysis of the proposal before the full House takes action.

“As we’ve been saying for months, H59 is moving forward at a very slow and deliberate pace. This is an important bill that has a great impact on the lives of retirees and active employees for many years to come,” said Association Legislative Liaison Shawn Duhamel. “As we heard at the hearing on Halloween, a good number of active employees would be inadvertently impacted by H59 in its current form.

“If this bill is to pass, more needs to be done to make sure that active employees, who are close to retirement age, are not impacted. It is incredibly unfair to change the rules on people in this manner. It seems that the Committee heard this message and are carefully weighing all of the options.”

Once again, Association officials recommend that active employees keep a close eye on ongoing developments, but not to act in haste. If passed in 2014, a new law is not likely to take effect prior to July 1, 2014, if not later in the year.