The 2019 legislative session ended 12am 6/6/19. There was a flurry of action in the closing hours with some major victories for the UPFFA.
Victories for the UPFFA:
• SB 164 Workers’ Compensation for First Responder PTSD (Public Act 19-17): Provides up to one year of workers’ compensation benefits to police officers, firefighters and parole officers who are diagnosed with PTSD and who have experienced at least one of six following qualifying events.
• SB 556 Public Safety: Authorizes municipalities to compensate disabled public safety employees under the age of 65 who were severely injured in the line of duty and retired from service as a result of their injuries. Requires that compensation must equal the difference between the amount the retired employee receives in workers’ compensation and other benefits and his or her regular pay at the time of retirement.
• HB 7394 First Responder Peer Support: Makes communications between a first responder and a peer support team member confidential.
Some losses for us:
• SB 660 Permanent Partial Disability and Pension Offset: Would have prohibited municipal or special taxing district pension systems from diminishing or eliminating a retiree’s rights or benefits due to the retiree’s receipt of workers’ compensation permanent partial disability benefits. Died in the Senate.
• HB 6935 Post-Janus: Would have given public sector workers and their unions new protections in the wake of last summer’s U.S. Supreme Court’s Janus v. AFSCME decision. Died in the Senate.
• HB 7394 Insurance deductibles and the Firefighter Cancer Relief Fund. Would have allowed for insurance deductibles and medical testing fees to be paid out of the Cancer fund. Died in the Senate.
An issue for member Locals:
• SB 882 Municipal Pensions: Raises employee CMERS contributions 0.5% each year for six years. Although the increase is 3%, the original bill called for an increase of 6% and changing the number and methodology for choosing the neutral arbitrator.