Legislation

Articles about Legislation that may be useful to Massachusetts retirees.

Early Retirement Legislation Filed

JANUARY 2002 - First 6,700 Applicants Would Go By Spring - Dejavu struck Beacon Hill as Governor Jane Swift filed an early retirement bill

Legislation On Temporary Hold

JANUARY 2002
- When the House and Senate adjourned on Thanksgiving eve, it signaled
the cessation of all formal legislative activity for the remainder of
the year. Most legislation came to a standstill during the lengthy
budget process and will be taken up when the Legislature returns in
January for the second half of the 2001-2002 session.

Tax Break For Pensions Now In Congress

NOVEMBER 2001
- While the recently enacted federal tax cut law (the Economic Growth
and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001) reduces the tax on at least
the first $6,000 of the pension for a retiree ($10,000 for a couple),
the fact remains that one's public pension is subject to federal income
tax. In contrast, a taxpayer may be able to exclude all of his Social
Security if one-half of his SS benefits plus his other income does not
exceed $25,000 ($32,000 for a couple).

Legislative Status Report

SEPTEMBER 2001 - As we have previously mentioned,
the Joint Committee on Public Service has completed the first round of
public hearings and has discharged a number of bills. The following is
the Association’s 2001-2002 legislative package. In all, some eighteen
separate bills are being actively supported by the Association.

Public Service Committee Acts On Association Bills

SEPTEMBER 2001 - Joyce & Dempsey Key To Retirees - It took months of public hearings, countless
hours of testimony from advocates, and many long days of work by the
staff, but on June 26 the Joint Committee on Public Service completed
the first leg of the 2001-2002 Legislative Session.

Boston Teachers May Enter State System

JULY 2001 - House Budget Seeks Change For New Hires - In
November, we reported on a bill that would have transferred Boston
teachers into the Commonwealth’s Teachers’ Retirement System. The late
filed bill, sponsored by the House Republican Leader Francis Marini,
died when the last session ended.As
we predicted, the issue re-emerged during the current session, when an
amendment was added to the House version of the FY’02 state budget.
Instead of being championed by the GOP, this time the issue is being
promoted by a member of the Democratic leadership team, Representative
Paul Casey (D-Winchester).

Credit For Military Service Considered

JULY 2001 - Association Fights For Inclusion Of Retirees - At
a Public Service Committee hearing on May 22, speaking on behalf of
legislation (S1321) filed by Senator Edward Clancy Jr. (D-Lynn),
Association lobbyists asked that retirees be included in the 1996 law
(Ch. 17) which allowed actively employed veterans to purchase up to
four years service credit.Chapter
17 granted veterans, as defined under Chapter 32, the ability to
purchase up to four years of their military time to use towards their
Massachusetts pension. Veterans, as defined under the retirement law,
must have served in active duty during certain dates of war and
conflict.

Swift Names Forman Chief Of Staff

JULY 2001 - Represented Governor On GIC & PERAC - Governor
Jane Swift has named Peter Forman as her chief of staff, as she begins
her tenure in the corner office. Forman, a Plymouth native, served for
14 years as a state representative, including four as House minority
leader. In 1995, he was appointed by former Governor Bill Weld as
Sheriff of Plymouth County.After
twice being elected sheriff by wide margins, he stepped down from the
office in late 1999, at the request of former Governor Paul Cellucci,
to serve as the Governor’s Undersecretary for Administration and
Finance. It was in this capacity that Forman worked closely with the
Association on a number of issues.

Stefanini Becomes Top Finneran Aide

JULY 2001
- Popular Framingham Rep Friend of Retirees - Veteran Framingham Representative John Stefanini has resigned his
House seat to become the top aide to House Speaker Thomas Finneran.
Stefanini, who was serving his fifth term in the House, is now chief
counsel and advisor to the powerful Speaker.First
elected to the House from his native Framingham in 1990, Stefanini
served as a member of the committees on Ways and Means, Post Audit and
Oversight, and Local Affairs. He previously served as vice chairman of
the Health Care Committee.

Legislative Package Pending

JULY 2001
- Public Service Committee Weighs Options - With over 1,000 separate pieces of legislation to examine, the Joint
Committee on Public Service continues to hold weekly hearings while
committee members and staff weigh the various issues before them.