Friday, May 29, 2009

Some final thoughts on SB429

The bill that changes the PERS and PEBP systems for new state employees (hired as of 1 July 2010) was passed last night and is expected to be signed by the Governor today.

In the end, the changes were much less drastic than we had long feared -- see NFA lobbyist Jim Richardson's report.

Despite calls to abolish PEBP outright, we helped preserve the program intact. We appreciate the sentiments voiced last night on the Senate floor by Senators Bob Coffin and Maggie Carlson, who voted against the bill because they opposed the reductions. We appreciate equally the efforts of legislative leaders, especially Barbara Buckley and Steven Horsford, who listened to our concerns about PEBP -- at a time when there was almost no media coverage of the draconian cuts being proposed -- and took them seriously.

Also, we note that even after the bill was completed, the Chamber was spreading misinformation about the PEBP program. In today's RJ, Senator Hardy mistakenly repeats one of the Chamber's canards -- that no other state subsidizes health insurance premiums of retired public service workers. The truth is that 45 of 50 states do -- 19 of them (not including Nevada) pay 100% of retiree premiums!

(On the upside, and to his credit, Senator Hardy was among those Senators who supported an amendment to AB162 in its final version to include PEBP among insurance plans that will now be required to cover screening and treatment of autism.)

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