pension changes

Florida Channel

State employees will be getting a pay raise this year, under a proposal now heading to the Senate floor. But, it’s tied to a controversial pension reform issue and health insurance reform package backed by the House.

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Amid budget negotiations, the House and Senate may be using the revival of a controversial pension reform package as a means to get on the same page.

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A controversial pension reform bill that just passed the House is now in the Florida Senate’s hands.

chartingyourfinancialfuture.com

Less than two weeks after the House proposal was unveiled, The Florida House is expected Wednesday to take up a controversial pension reform package.

Florida Channel

Florida House Republicans are back at it again. They’ve revived an effort to make changes to Florida’s Retirement System.

Governor Rick Scott's office

For the second time, Governor Rick Scott has ceremonially signed into law a bill making sure the spouses of fallen law enforcement and first responders receive full death benefits.

flsheriffs.org

Governor Rick Scott has signed a measure into law allowing the surviving spouses of law enforcement or first responders killed in the line of duty to receive a proper death benefit.

MGN Online

A bill allowing the surviving spouses of first responders to receive proper death benefits is now headed to Governor Rick Scott. This could mark the end of a contentious debate over pension reform this year.

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The Florida House passed a controversial bill making changes to Florida’s Retirement System.

The House debated a proposal Tuesday that would automatically enroll new state hires into a 401-k style retirement plan instead of a traditional pension.

Pelican Post

A bill seeking to reform Florida’s Retirement System is now heading to the House floor, despite continued opposition.

deputyscottpine.com

A bill stemming from the death of a fallen sheriff’s deputy is putting the House and Senate at odds over a pension reform proposal.

Florida Channel

A renewed effort in the House to make changes to Florida’s Retirement System is getting some mixed reviews among public employee unions.

Florida Channel

Over the years, the Republican-led Florida Legislature has tried to overhaul the state’s retirement system. And, House Speaker Steve Crisafulli says he’s not giving up on what he calls “pension modernization” in the coming 2016 session.

Governor Rick Scott recently gave the nod to several priorities of the state’s first responder unions. Now, those unions are speaking out on what they’d like Florida lawmakers to include in the still-to-be-considered state budget.

Red Huber, Pool

The names of several Florida law enforcement officers who died while on duty are expected to be etched into a Washington D.C. Memorial next week, after remembrance ceremonies were recently held at the state Capitol. Those honored include a former Sheriff’s deputy, whose family has been awaiting the passage of a bill that would have helped them out financially, but died during the last days of session.

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Last week, Florida democrats met in the capitol to discuss plans to oppose statewide pension reform, and now they can check it off their to-do list- the idea has been shot down by house leaders.

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While the Senate has said it won’t start any talks to reform Florida’s Retirement System this year, a House panel is moving forward.

During Wednesday’s presentation, House State Affairs Committee members heard that Florida’s Retirement System is funded at 86.6 percent—a percentage proponents of the system say means it’s, “actuarially sound.”

In happier times: House Speaker Steve Crisafulli (l) and Sen. President Andy Gardiner (r).
Sascha Cordner / WFSU-FM

While the Senate doesn’t look like it will consider an overhaul of the Florida Retirement System, the House is not giving up hope it can convince the other chamber.

Last year, the state pension overhaul bill failed, after it got tied to a non-controversial effort to fix local pension programs affecting police and firefighters. But, House Speaker Steve Crisafulli says his chamber is not deterred, and is already looking to file a separate state pension reform proposal.

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Pension reform is slated to come up during the 2015 legislative session. So, could this be the year local pension reform actually comes to pass? What about overhauling Florida’s Retirement System that opponents say is already sound? We'll take a look at what stakeholders are hoping for in the New Year.

Robert Weissert is the Chief Research Officer for Florida TaxWatch, a government watchdog group, which recently released its annual cost savings report. One area Weissert says state government could save some money is by overhauling the Florida Retirement System.

Florida TaxWatch

Moving state employees into riskier, but potentially more profitable retirement plans is just one way to trim the state’s $77 billion budget, Florida TaxWatch, a government watchdog group, recommended in its annual report released Thursday.

Robert Weissert, TaxWatch’s chief researcher, says lawmakers should look hard at the recommendations while they decide how to spend a $ 1 billion surplus.

“Budget surpluses do not mean that we should not spend taxpayer money wisely,” he said.

Florida Senate

A bipartisan local pension reform bill has been filed for the third year in a row. The measure died earlier this year after it was tied to a controversial effort to overhaul Florida’s Retirement system.

Florida Channel

Pension reform will be coming back up in the 2015 legislative session. But, the question some stakeholders are asking is whether a local pension effort will be tied to a controversial  state pension reform plan again, which caused both issues to die earlier this year.

After the issue died during the 2014 session, should Florida lawmakers revisit a push to make changes to municipal pensions largely affecting police and firefighter unions? A coalition made up of mainly business-backed groups say yes. But, some say while they agree, the recent formation of the coalition pushing for local pension reform is disingenuous.

Bill To Be Filed In 2015

Florida League of Cities Spokesman Ryan Matthews says overall, it was a successful Legislative Session for local governments.

“I think it was a successful legislative Session for local governments in general. We managed to defeat a number of preemptions and unfunded mandates and really came out relatively unscathed. I think the election year really loomed large over the session as a whole. Only 264 bills passed this year, and that’s really the lowest since 2011,” said Matthews.

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