Capital Report: 03-08-2013

Mar 8, 2013

Medicaid has come to dominate headlines in the first week of the legislative session, dividing Florida’s Republican lawmakers and sparking doubts that an expansion of the program under the federal health law could be dead on arrival. The House opposes the expansion, the Governor supports it. And while the Senate has yet to state it’s position, that chamber’s leader says the writing is on the wall. Here’s Ronald J Ebben with a look at the week in Medicaid.

Capital Report: 03-07-2013

Mar 7, 2013

More than a hundred protesters descended on the seat of state government.  Some of them dressed as characters from the original Wizard of Oz movie to demand the expansion of Medicaid.  Steven Rodriguez reports the group visited legislative leaders’ offices to press their case.

A proposal to rate the financial health of public pension plans the same way private companies’ are rated, is meeting strong opposition from public workers’ unions. The measure made it past the Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee on Thursday after a lengthy debate.

After lawmakers passed a measure in 2011 that would require state employees to contribute three percent of their salary to their retirement, a number of groups launched an effort to get the law declared unconstitutional. But the Florida Supreme Court has upheld the law.  And Florida Education Association lawyer, Ron Meyer, said there's not further appeal possible.

Florida’s city pension plans are overburdened and underfunded. That’s according to the latest report from the non-partisan LeRoy Collins Institute. The report is once again raising the issue of pension reform and how best to deal with a large number of mainly local police and firefighters who are in the local pension systems.

It’s About Florida: Pensions

Aug 10, 2012

Florida lawmakers have been whittling away at public employee pensions over the past few years but some say enough is enough. Employees are now required to contribute 3-percent to their pensions and a challenge to that is now before the Florida Supreme Court. State lawmakers also passed a new law that forces thousands of employees in a certain 401-K type plan to contribute even more towards their pensions. A panel experts discuss what the changes will mean moving forward.

A bill meant to lower the retirement age of special risk employees back to what it was a year ago is more or less dead in the Florida Legislature. Sascha Cordner has more.

After a move by the Senate to stall the measure, the House sponsor, Republican Representative Ritch Workman, withdrew his proposal from consideration in its last committee stop.

A measure that would allow police officers, firefighters, and other special-risk employees to retire earlier is advancing in the House. But, as Sascha Cordner reports, there are a couple of provisions in the bill that opponents say would destroy the state’s pension plan system.

Republican Representative Ritch Workman says he wants a do-over on a massive pension reform plan he sponsored last year to correct a past mistake: