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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Hold On, Hold On

The Oregon Legislature is approaching sine die with considerable dispatch. For PERS members, this is good news so long as the Legislature doesn't make any wrong turns along the way. To date, not a single PERS bill has passed and has been sent on to the Governor. There are a number of bills that could take flight almost any day, but the majority of bills have already died a death by a thousand ignores. Those that remain in one form or another are the two bills pertaining to revoking the tax subsidy for out of state retirees - HB 2456 and SB 656 576. The former would remove the subsidy from future retirees; the latter from all retirees living out of state. Odds are that neither has the votes for passage. There are several PERS-originated bills that are designated as "housekeeping" - HB 2113 and HB 2114 - that should have passed easily, but remain tied up in the Ways and Means Committee. Finally, there is a single bill that could make the 6% employee contribution and associated pick up strictly voluntary. So far, Republican attempts to bring the bill to the floor without a Committee recommendation have failed. This bill is also likely to die without further issue. Despite the repeated, relentless, and strident calls from the media to do something about PERS, the Legislature has steadfastly resisted efforts to inflict further "reform". As the leaders of both parties stated at the beginning of the session, they did not want to pass out any legislation that wouldn't stand up to critical review by the Oregon Supreme Court. So, despite all the pressure, we have finally found a group of Legislative Leaders who possess a spine and a willingness to buck the media, the Portland City Club, and Phil Keisling, to resist measures that have little chance of surviving a Supreme Court challenge. Although it may be premature, I want to offer kudos to the leadership in the Legislature for showing, um......., leadership.


14 comments:

Unknown said...

I too wont rest too easy. These sob's have been known to slip a bill into another or do a 11th hour 3 AM passage when noone is looking. The it will be up to the Gov to have a backbone and veto these vindictive bills. It never ceases to amaze me how folks forget that the labor movement is responsible for the rise of the middle class worker. If it were up to the so called Business leaders and those financial "Master's of the Universe" who brought us the current housing depression and the greatest economic distress since the 1920's and 1930's the average worker would still be working for chits at the company store and working 20 hr days in sweats shops!

Andrew said...

@mrfearless: Can you offer clarification about the putative Senate bill you cite? The current SB 656 is a crime-related bill, not PERS. There is the 1991 SB 656 addressing the tax subsidy; but you appear to be referring to a current Senate bill on the topic. Thanks.

mrfearless47 said...

It is my mistake. The Senate Bill is 576. Gotta few numbers mixed up.

Betsy said...

Thanks for the informative postings on your blog! I have taught in another state for many years - I could retire from PERS but have wanted to hang on for awhile... nervously. As I read through all the news articles re: pending legislation it's hard to make sense of what may be coming down the pike, so I appreciate your comments. Here in Idaho teachers are referred to as "union thugs" by many of our elected officials...sigh.

Andrew said...

It looks like HB 2456 is still in play: Ways and Means assigned HB 2456 to the Subcommittee On Capital Construction, which (yesterday - June 22) recommended a work session and passage by the committee. Do you have any sense about how significant this is?

mrfearless47 said...

@Andrew. Holding a work session can mean that the Committee will send it out to the next place without much discussion. The work session is a formality if they've already decided it should be recommended with a "do pass". It is getting very late in the session, but it is possible that HB 2456-A will be passed quickly by the House. I don't know where it goes THIS TIME after its "work session".

Unknown said...

I just checked with Sen Devlin's office. The Bill was "passed"out of the committee with a "Do Pass" to the Full House. The young women didnt know if any adjustments or changes had been made to the 2456 A version. The current bill with any or no changes will be posted this afternoon and the Ways and means Committee is meeting this evening.

Unknown said...

Spoke with Sen Devlin's office this am. The bill was passed out of the Committee with "Do Pass" to the full House/Senate Committee. The lastest posting of the bill with any or no changes will be posted this afternoon on the Legs website. 2456 A wouldnt take effect until 1/2012 and would only impact retirees after that date. However, their could have been changes and its always possible that the vermin with try to "Gut & Stuff" the bill at the last moment. Either the full Committee, kills the bill or it goes to the full Legs Assembly were it could die or maybe Gov will veto. Ways and Means will meet tonite and could take up the bill.

mpguy said...

Legislative leaders make a complete mockery of the committee system when they do things like this.

Committee "hearings" are held with little warning, or bypassed altogether. Bills get revised, pushed through the machinery and signed within hours when it seems that nobody is looking.

No wonder it's hard for people to have confidence in the legislative process.

Unknown said...

10:30 AM June 24,2011. Joint Ways and Committee passed out 2456A with a do pass this morning. No changes or amndments according to a call to that office. That means it goes to full Legs Assembly where I expect it will pass in the dark of night. That means those who retire after 1/2012 are screwed.

canam said...

Unless I am missing something here, this bill, if passed in the house, will then go to the senate.

Being this late in the session, it may not get far in the senate.

This still allows your house reps to go about saying they voted to do something about the monster pers, even though the bill did not pass the senate.

Been there, seen that.

You may wish to ask Devlin if he knows if the the Senate is interested in pursuing this bill this late in the session.

Unknown said...

Canam ... I hope you are right. Havent had a chance to speak directly with Sen. Devlin, but previously he was not supportive of anything that would harm retirees. That being said, if you know the legs process, the vermin rats who support these anti worker/retiree bills have been known to slip one into the darkness of the night! I have also seen 3 Am passages of bills long thought dead and buried. Hopefully, the PERS Coalition, OPRI and union lobbyists are keeping a watchful eye on this and may be able to deep six it yet. All else fails the Gov could veto any bill that he chooses. It depends if he wants to stick it to PERS members and retirees. Gov Kits may be too focused on his love life to really care much about whether another measure chips away a 20 yr old recognized worker right.

Unknown said...

HB 2456 awaits its third reading in the Senate prior to full vote of that Body. If you have the time call your State Senator and encourage a "no"vote. However, it appears this is on the railway to passage unless its shot down by a vote in the Senate! Dont say you were not warned!

Unknown said...

2456 Passes senate 30 to zip....You have been sold out by all the Reps and Dems vermin...so much for knowing were we retirees stand in the eyes of these lowlifes! Do I expect the Gov to Veto...no...because he is focused on his love life and becoming Czar of all the poor schmuck teachers and college Profs who work for a living! So as I predicted, once again another chip is taken out of the bedrock of workers rights and benefits. Welcome to the coming Gulag!