Thursday, March 11, 2010

HB 140 Goes for Guv's Signature

HB 140, Human Resource Management Amendments (Rep. Brad Dee), passed the House for the final vote on Wednesday morning (3/10), was signed by the Senate President and House Speaker Wednesday afternoon, and will be enrolled for the Governor’s signature.

UPEA is appreciative for Rep. Brad Dee’s willingness to work with us in ensuring merit principles were kept intact within the State Personnel Management Act.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

HB 140 Substituted in Senate - Sent Back to House

This morning, at approximately 11:15 AM, the Senate debated 1HB 140 (sponsor Rep. Brad Dee). Senator Dan Liljenquist, the senate sponsor of the bill, began the discussion by substituting the bill amending some provisions that UPEA had requested. UPEA lobbied very hard on the bill to ensure that merit principles within the Personnel Management Act were kept in place, including appealable items.   Liljenquist stated that "the bill has been worked on very aggressively by the Utah Public Employees' Association."

The bill passed both the Senate 2nd and 3rd reading calendars with a 20-5 vote. Because the bill was amended, it was sent back to the House for a final vote. It was placed on the House concurrence calendar, and should pass prior to the end of the legislative session.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Budget: Retirement and Health Insurance Update

Last night, Executive Appropriations met and recommended covering the entire 2.1% retirement contribution rate increase.

In addition they recommended covering half of the 12% or $23 million health insurance increase. UPEA is currently meeting with PEHP, the Governor's Office of Planning and Budget and DHRM to work out the final details for the remaining health insurance increase.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

HB 140 Advances to Senate

At approximately 11:30 this morning, HB 140 was uncircled, substituted, and amended. The sponsor, Representative Brad Dee pointed out that the substitute “included language that UPEA had requested.” Rep. Dee highlighted several of the things that the bill would do, including UPEA’s own draft legislation that streamlines the grievance process making it less costly and less time consuming for the employees and the state.

UPEA acknowledges there are issues with the current pay plan, as no step increases have been given since 2001. As a result, UPEA fought hard to deal with the compression issue and has long advocated a fair and equitable system which rewards all employees though performance increases. This bill will allow the legislature to provide merit increases in any incremental amount, and not limiting it to the current 2.75%. UPEA also added language to the bill that ensures employees are treated fairly, uniformly, and consistently.

UPEA has been carefully studying this bill to continually watch for any inclination to remove pieces from the merit system. The majority of our concerns were heard and acknowledged through this bill.

Rep. Dee mentioned that this bill is employee friendly. Through working with Rep. Dee, UPEA has been able to negotiate several items to improve this bill, enhancing its friendliness to employees. UPEA is very appreciative to Rep. Dee for working closely with us in resolving our concerns.

1st Substitute HB 140 passed the House 56 – 14, and will be sent to the Senate for further consideration.

SB 94 - Dead in Rules

Yesterday Sen. Liljenquist asked for SB 94 - Supplemental Benefit Amendments for Noncontributory Public Employees - to be removed from the Senate 3rd Reading Calendar and sent to the Senate Rules Committee for defeated bills.

This bill would have suspended the 1.5%, the state contributes in employees' 401k. Now the bill is dead.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Senate Retirement and Independent Entities Committee

The Senate Retirement and Independent Entities Standing Committee met today (March 1, 2010) to discuss HB 233 - Retirement Office Amendments, SB 171 - Higher Education Retirement Amendments, SB 240 - Retirement Participation Amendments. Dan Anderson presented on all three.

HB 233 - This bill modifies the Utah State Retirement and Insurance Benefit Act by amending provisions related to appointment of board members, purchase of service credit, disability benefits, and termination of employment on the retirement date.

SB 171 - This bill gives a 1 time opportunity to chose URS as their retirement system if the employee has prior service credits with URS. This legislation will only affect a small group of individuals.

SB 240 - This bill allows for USTAR employees to opt out of the benefit retirement system and into a defined contribution retirement system.

All three bills passed out of the Senate Retirement and Independent Entities Committee with favorable recommendation unopposed.