February 10, 2010

Pension bill passes Senate committee


We’re taking a wait and see attitude after the Senate Ways and Means Committee’s Tuesday night vote on SB 6045, the bill to privatize state pensions by turning them into defined contribution plans.
Right now, PERS 1 and 2, LEOFF 2 and half of PERS 3 are defined benefit plans.
But SB 6045 had gone nowhere for more than a year and quickly came to a vote with little discussion. Some senators didn’t know what they were voting on. So we need to see if it will move to the floor for a vote of the full Senate. It would still have to pass the House anyway.
So, at this point, we’re holding off on a call to action. But this is definitely a bill to keep an eye on. Many bills are put under the radar like this, but now that it’s been exposed, it may not have such an easy go of it. 

So stay tuned.

Earlier today:

Just when you thought there were no other ways to stick it to state employees, the Senate Ways and Means Committee Tuesday night unanimously passed a plan that sets the wheels in motion to contract out your pension plan.
It’s in Senate Bill 6045, an obscure measure introduced nearly a year ago by Sen. Joseph Zarelli of the 18th District—a measure that sat dormant with no hearing or action. The Senate Ways and Means Committee dusted it off, used it as a vehicle for the pension privatization plan, held a little known hearing Monday night, then tacked on the outrageous amendment and passed it out of committee Tuesday night.
Republican Zarelli seemed as surprised as anyone that the majority Democrats even brought up his bill.
We’re still getting details on the offending amendment and we will have a call to action later Wednesday morning. Watch for details, but we wanted to give you a heads up.

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