Retiree Health Care Legislation Falls One Vote Short of Passage
The House and Senate each met Wednesday for one final time in session on Wednesday to vote on committee of conference reports, which included some key issues we’ve been tracking all session. While the House and Senate generally approve committee of conference reports, anything can happen — and that was especially true on Wednesday. While bills dealing with CCSNH and the Sununu Center were approved, another dealing with state retiree health care surprisingly fell short.
Retiree health care
Last month, Republican lawmakers tacked language dealing with a shortfall in funding for retiree health care to an existing bill that dealt with the opioid crisis. This move was a gamble that ultimately came back to bite the sponsors when SB 485 fell just one vote short of passage on Wednesday. The result is bittersweet, because this very necessary opioid legislation fell victim to political games. However, the defeat also means there will be no changes to state retiree health care at this time, and the Fiscal Committee has not been handed full control of the health care of thousands of state retirees.
The shortfall remains and a long-term solution is still needed, but this gives us the opportunity to work this summer and fall to elect a governor and legislature who will honor the health care promises made to retirees decades ago. SEA/SEIU Local 1984 is looking forward to working with its retirees and the governor and legislature to find funding to ensure the retirees will have the health care they have been promised and can count on in the future.
SYSC and CCSNH
The House and Senate ultimately approved conference reports on two Senate bills that will affect many of our members. While the bill affecting the Sununu Youth Services Center (SYSC) was ultimately approved, the required spending reduction was cut in half. The cut in SB 466 is still very serious, but the reduction is a win for members there and it shows that the calls and emails made to legislators worked.
The bill affecting CCSNH, SB 326, also received final approval and will give college employees a seat on the system’s board of trustees. This is a huge win for the members who fought long and hard to improve transparency and inclusiveness on the board of trustees, so we must once again thank them. We must also thank Sen. John Reagan for his work shepherding this bill through an arduous process.
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