This bill was introduced late in the session (March 19) in the House Federal and State Affairs Committee. Bills from that committee are exempt from deadlines, therefore this bill is subject to action any time the legislature is in session. It was referred to the House Commerce Committee. The Commerce Committee, like most committees, finished their work last week. While it is possible the committee could still meet and hold a hearing on this bill, it would be highly unusual. It would be even more unusual for the House to entertain working a bill this controversial on the House floor. So bottom line, it isn't time to get too excited about this bill. The associations I represent are concerned about the bill and will continue to monitor it. We are also preparing to provide testimony in committee if a hearing is scheduled.
We believe the first proposal relating to changing the final average salary calculation is unconstitutional based on case law developed years ago. That case law basically says the state cannot take away retirement benefits from existing members without providing some balancing value. That is why the July 1, 1993, separation in the law was created in 1993. This part of the proposal has been considered several times over the years and every other legislative committee has come to the conclusion the 1993 legislature was correct. As currently written, this provision would not be effective until July 1, 2016. So it wouldn't affect any retirement prior to that date.
The portion of the bill dealing with limiting annual leave/vacation hours will likely be an issue based on local control. It is clearly within the legislative authority to make these decisions affecting state employees, the same as County Commissioners and City Council/Commissioners members do for city and counties. The legislature can clearly change those provisions for state employees. The bigger question is the legislative wisdom of establishing these rules for local governments. As currently written, this provision would be effective July 1, 2015. So it wouldn't affect any retirement prior to that date. This section is very likely to be amended if the bill moves forward.
The portion amending the statute regarding payment of state employees sick leave accruals at time of retirement is clearly a matter within legislative authority. It is unclear to me what the change will actually do, but it clearly makes it optional (currently mandatory) for such payments to be counted toward the retirement calculations. This portion of the bill is effective July 1, 2015, and could affect any retirement on or after that date.