May 10 Legislative Update

This past week, the SPTRFA’s Proposal, which has been folded into the 2013 Omnibus Pension Bill, passed two more hurdles on its course through Legislative maze.  Through the persistent efforts of Representative Mary Murphy (DFL-Hermantown), the Pension Bill was debated on the floor of the House and approved on a roll call vote 73-49.  A handful of weakening amendments were beaten back during floor debate.  The Bill, including our proposal which remained unchanged from the language which left the Pension Commission, was engrossed and now awaits Senate action.

On the Senate side, its Finance Committee, chaired by Senator Richard Cohen (DFL-Saint Paul), gave approval on a voice vote, but with two modifications: an amendment to study the possible merger of the three separate teacher systems, the State’s TRA, Duluth Teachers and Saint Paul; and, a second change revising and delaying the initial supplemental State payment ($7 million/year) from the original date of this October to the next Fiscal Year, July 1, 2014.

Currently, our lead sponsor, Senator Sandy Pappas (DFL-Saint Paul) is attempting to restore the original funding plan before bringing the matter to the Senate floor for consideration.  When the Senate has completed its action, the matter will require a Conference Committee, comprised of House and Senate members, to resolve any differences in each Chamber’s versions before final action.  Governor Dayton is prepared to sign the Omnibus Pension Bill when it reaches his desk.