Legislation

Articles about Legislation that may be useful to Massachusetts retirees.

FORMAL LEGISLATIVE SESSION WINDS DOWN

Major Issues To Be Addressed

JULY 30, 2012: As formal activity in the 2011-2012 Legislative Session draws to a close this week, a flurry of activity on Beacon Hill will occur to resolve several major issues. Paramount among the remaining bills is a House/Senate Conference Committee report on Healthcare Payment Reform.

GOVERNOR APPROVES RETIREE BUDGET AMENDMENTS

3% State & Teacher COLA On $13k Base Included

JULY 9, 2012: On Sunday, Governor Patrick signed the $32.6 billion FY13 state budget into law. Contained within the budget is a new 3% State & Teacher COLA, a minimum survivor pension increase for disability retirees’ survivors and access to the Group Insurance Commission’s retiree dental plan for municipal retirees insured under the state plan.

HEALTHCARE COMMISSION CLOSELY WATCHED

Tasked With Reducing Retiree Insurance Costs

JULY 2012 VOICE: Retiree and labor advocates are keeping a close eye on the new Special Commission on Retiree Healthcare that is now entering its 3rd month of deliberations.

LEGISLATURE PASSES RETIREE AMENDMENTS

Extends Dental & Survivor Benefits

JUNE 28, 2012: Retirees and survivors were greeted with good news late last night, as House and Senate budget negotiators announced an agreement on the $32.5 billion FY13 state budget. Beyond a 3% state & teacher COLA on the new $13,000 base are two long-sought benefit enhancements.

GIC DEADLINE EXTENDED

Peabody & Orange Eye January Entry

JUNE 20, 2012: A newly enacted change to insurance law has opened the door for mid-year entry into the state’s Group Insurance Commission (GIC). Unless otherwise provided by special act, enrollment in the GIC has traditionally begun on July 1.

Under Chapter 118, the FY13 Supplemental Budget signed into law by Governor Patrick on June 19, 2012, municipalities may now also enter the GIC on January 1, if they notify the agency of their intention to do so by July 1 of the previous year.

SENATE BUDGET DEBATE UNDERWAY

Retirees Eye Amendments

MAY 22, 2012: The state Senate is now in the midst of its debate of the Commonwealth’s $32 billion FY13 budget. Debate on the 694 amendments is expected to last from Wednesday through Friday.

While the Senate has included a full 3% state and teachers COLA within its budget and maintained state retiree insurance rates, there is still work that remains to be done. With the support of Senator Ken Donnelly (D-Arlington), our Association has sponsored two budget amendments.

BUDGET DEBATE UNDERWAY IN HOUSE

3% COLA Approved & GIC Rates Maintained

APRIL 25, 2012: This week, debate is underway in the House of Representatives over the Fiscal Year 2013 State Budget. The weeklong debate will consider over 850 amendments to the $32 billion budget proposal.

PROGRESS ON LEGISLATIVE FRONT DESPITE LAGGING ECONOMY

Formal Session Ends July 30

MARCH 2012 VOICE: As the first half of the 2011-2012 Massachusetts legislative session drew to a close last November, members witnessed several of our Association’s legislative initiatives (bills) become law through the passage of Chapter 176 (Pension Reform III).

New Studies Target Retirees

Association Appointed To Commissions

JANUARY 2012: Anyone hoping that the recently passed “Pension Reform III” (Chapter 176) would mark the end, at least for the foreseeable future, of further changes in pension and health insurance benefits will be sorely disappointed. Contained within the final pages of the new law is the establishment of four separate studies or commissions – all aimed at making greater changes to pension and health insurance benefits.

Pension Reform 3 Now Law

JANUARY 2012 VOICE: Chapter 176, landmark Pension Reform, signed into law by Governor Deval Patrick on November 18, brings to a close the longtime concept of a public pension plan that provides full pensions for long-term employees, but allows a reduced pension for anyone who must retire before age 60.