Legislative Update: 2/21/12










Bills on the Move

SB 121 Pension Choice (Defined Benefits or Defined Contributions)

Moved out of (S) State Affairs with one Do Pass (Wielechowski) and two No Recommendation (Meyer and Giessel).  Now in (S) Finance.

The Committee Substitute has significant changes including:

Retirees in the new Defined Benefit PERS Tier V and TRS Tier IV will pay a share of the premiums for medical insurance.  Defined Contribution retirees and Defined Benefit retirees will, if eligible for Medicare, pay 30% with 10-15 years of service; 25% with 15-20 years of service; 20% with 20-25 years of service; 15% with 25-30 years of service; and 10% with 30 or more years of service.  If the retiree is a teacher, peace officer, or firefighter who works 25 years or more, the retiree pays the percentages above even if not eligible for Medicare.  If a PERS employee works 30 or more years, the retiree will pay 10% premiums even if not eligible for Medicare.

One other change: Employees currently in the DC plan who convert are not automatically entitled to credit for all the time they have been employed.

SB 171 Increase Base Student Allocation Passed the Senate by a vote of 18 to 2 (Dyson and Coghill were the no votes).  Assigned to the (H) Finance Committee. The legislation is very important for the education of our kids and to help our economy for the following reasons:

  • The costs of virtually everything from fuel to insurance have gone up, taking money out of the classroom
  • There was no permanent increase last year.  The proposed BSA funding is from FY 10 and continued flat funding is causing deep cuts to virtually all school districts across the state.
  • The three year increases established by the Educational Task Force from 2008 through 2010 provided for much-needed certainty which enhanced stability and planning, allowing educators to concentrate on delivering services directly to students.  SB 171 continues that predictability in budgeting.
  • Information provided in the bill packet indicates that Alaskan students are doing better and better in key areas from reading to math to graduation rates

Upcoming Hearings

Wednesday, February 22

(S) Education                       SB 170 Vocational Ed. Counseling in Schools

Pending intro: Voc Ed Funding Stream Secondary Schools

(H) Education                       HB 256 Repeal State Intervention in Schools

(S) Finance                           Financial Update on PERS/TRS with the Alaska Retirement Management Brd and Dept of Administration and SB 187 Pension Reserve Fund

(H) Administration Finance Subcommittee Budget Closeout

(H) Labor                               HB 300 Geographic COLA for Justices and Judges

Thursday, February 23

(H) University of Alaska Finance Subcommittee: Agenda to be Announced

(S) State Affairs                    SB 178 Alaska Operating Endowment Fund

Joint Session                         Annual Address by Senator Lisa Murkowski

Friday, February 24

(H) Education                       Establishing a Joint Legislative Task Force on Education Standards; Requiring the Dept of Labor to provide information and resources; establishing state education standards; amending the authority of the Dept of Education to adopt education standards (pending introduction)

(S) Education                       SB 182 Pupil Transportation Funding

Saturday, February 25

(S) Resources                     Bills Previously Heard


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