New Legislative Session Begins

Bill Filing Underway

JANUARY 4, 2011: Following on the heels of the 112th Congress, which was sworn into office on Monday, the Massachusetts Great and General Court begins its 2011-2012 session on Wednesday. With the lingering effect of the recession continuing to hamper economic growth, the 160 member House and 40 member Senate will surely have their work cut out.

As was reported in the January edition of the Voice, the bill filing deadline for the new legislative session has been moved to January 21. The Association's legislative team is busy rounding up bill sponsors and building the legislative support that is key to the coming two-year session. We will again file 19 separate bills, each focusing on a different aspect of public retirement.

In Washington, efforts have already begun to file and bolster early support for legislation repealing the Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset (GPO). With talk of a mid-Winter push to reform Social Security gaining support, Association leaders are keeping a very close eye on Washington.

"After what we saw this past year, anything is possible in Washington," says Association President Ralph White. "We're paying close attention to what is happening and will be ready to jump on any opportunity to address the WEP and GPO.

"In the meantime, we have much to concern ourselves with here in Massachusetts. There is talk of an early effort by the Mass Municipal Association to gain control over local health insurance plans. And, of course, we're hard at work pushing for a higher state and teachers' COLA base, an option now offered to local retirement systems. This is going to be a very very busy couple of years, so please stay tuned!"

Following the legislature's swearing in ceremony on Wednesday, on Thursday Governor Deval Patrick will be the first Massachusetts governor in 16 years to be sworn into a second term. The last to do it was Bill Weld in 1995.

Then on Wednesday, January 19, the state's remaining constitutional officers will take office. Of peak interest to the Association are new State Treasurer and Receiver General Steve Grossman, along with State Auditor Suzanne Bump.