Legislative Update Week Ending 2-25-2022

TSEA February 25, 2022 0
Legislative Update Week Ending 2-25-2022

This week, years of hard work by TSEA and our sponsors of the Burden of Proof bill over several general assemblies finally have realized the result of passage through all standing committees. The bill now faces a final vote Monday night in both House and Senate. The compromise achieved with the Lee Administration provides the party that appeals a step 2 decision in the disciplinary process will bear the burden. This means that if the department loses at the second step and decides to appeal to the final step, the department will bear the burden of proof. There is also an extension of deadlines and some language cleanup needed to improve employee rights.

This bill has been sponsored heroically in the Senate by Sen. Joey Hensley and co-prime sponsor Sen. Ken Yager. This year, Sen. Richard Briggs and Sen. Jack Johnson are sponsors of the bill. Also, we express our appreciation to the Senate State and Local Government committee that has shown support for this bill with consecutive 9-0 votes in favor of TSEA.  

In the House, sponsorship has been returned to the bill’s original sponsor, Rep. David Hawk, a true champion for state employees. Also, for two years, former State Rep. Timothy Hill faced withering opposition from the administration to get this bill to the floor, and we will never forget the part he played in this historic agreement. Rep. Mary Littleton and Rep. Rick Eldridge have also helped keep the bill alive by sponsoring it, and we appreciate them as well. 
This is a historic and significant piece of legislation for state employees.


Legislation

Below are bill numbers for key legislation we are monitoring or working to advance:

As a reminder, Livestreams and videos of legislative meetings and activities are accessible on the legislative calendar page at this link: https://wapp.capitol.tn.gov/apps/schedule/ 

To view our 2022 Legislative Priorities, click here.

Burden of Proof

HB2172 – Lamberth, Gant, Hawk | SB2422 – Johnson, Briggs, Yager, Hensley
Summary: As introduced, replaces “list of eligibles” with “pool of candidates” for purposes of filling positions in state service; revises various procedures regarding proceedings against state employees.
Status: House: H. Placed on Regular Calendar for Monday, 2/28/2022Senate: Placed on Senate Consent Calendar 2 for Monday, 2/28/2022
Notes: After several years of negotiating with the Lee Administration, a compromise has been reached and is reflected in the language of this bill. There are several improvements that benefit state employees involved in the appeal process but most important is that the burden of proof will be the responsibility of the appealing party at the third and final step.

DCS caseloads

HB2163 – Lamberth, Gant, Vital | SB2413 – Johnson, Jackson
Summary: As introduced, specifies that the average caseloads of case managers must be calculated at least monthly.
Status: House: Calendar & Rules CommitteeSenate: Placed on Senate Judiciary Committee calendar for Tuesday, 3/1/2022
Notes: TSEA is watching closely as this bill works through committees. We want to make sure it will have a positive impact on DCS Commissioner Nichols’ ability to accurately report average caseload numbers.
As a reminder, Livestreams and videos of legislative meetings and activities are accessible on the legislative calendar page at this link: https://wapp.capitol.tn.gov/apps/schedule/

TDOC Salary Increase

HB2339 – Windle | SB2345 Yager
Summary: As introduced, increases wages and salaries of preferred service employees of the department by 15 percent.
Status: House: Placed on cal. State Government Committee for Tuesday, 3/1/2022Senate: Senate State and Local Government Committee

Higher Education – Grievance Procedures on website

HB2568 – Ragan | SB2666 – Bell
Summary: As introduced, requires each institution governed by the board of regents, a state university board, or the board of trustees for the University of Tennessee to make the grievance procedure for the institution’s support staff employees available on its website. 
Status: House – Placed on cal. Education Administration for 3/2/2022Senate – Senate Education Committee

State Parks Funding Act 

HB2168 – Lamberth, Gant | SB2418 – Johnson, Southerland, Walley
Summary: As introduced, enacts the “State Parks Funding Act of 2022.”
Status: House – Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee  Senate – Senate Finance, Ways, and Means Committee calendar for Tuesday, 3/1/2022.

Pensions and Retirement Benefits (correction to 2021 pension transfer bill)

HB2450 – Weaver | SB2812 – Roberts
Summary: As introduced, authorizes a member of the Tennessee consolidated retirement system to purchase, instead of obtain, retirement credit for all of the member’s previous service rendered while a full-time employee and participating member of a political subdivision’s defined benefit retirement plan; authorizes the member to use funds from any source to purchase such retirement credit; makes other related revisions.
Status: House – State Government Committee for Tuesday, 3/1/2022Senate – Senate State and Local Government Committee calendar for Tuesday, 3/1/2022
Notes: This bill is a correction to the pension transfer bill from last year that could not be implemented due to a conflict with federal law. 

TCRS administration system upgrade

HB2273 – Williams | SB2152 – Hensley
Summary: As introduced, allows the retirement system to procure goods and services for a pension administration system that may replace the system currently in existence, subject to appropriation made in the general appropriations act.
Status: House – State Government Committee for Tuesday, 3/1/2022Senate – Senate State and Local Government Committee calendar for Tuesday, 3/1/2022
Notes: This bill seeks to upgrade the states concord system for TCRS 

Essential Employee TCRS Credit for Service During Covid 

HB1658 – Russell, Griffey, C. Johnson | SB1805 – Massey, Jackson, Swann, Pody
Summary: As introduced, establishes COVID-19 essential employee retirement service credit for members of the Tennessee consolidated retirement system and participants in the state’s hybrid retirement plan.
Status: House – Public Service Subcomm.   Senate – State & Local Govt. Comm.

Correctional Teacher Pay

HB0846 – Sherrell, Cooper | SB1599 – Bailey, YagerSummary: As introduced, requires the board of control of the Tennessee corrections institute to maintain a list of correctional teachers that includes their academic background and qualifications to teach.
Status: House – Taken Off Notice for calendar in Subcomm. of FW&M Comm. (5/2021)Senate – General Subcomm. of FW&M Comm. (5/2021)
(Note: Fiscal note combining salary and benefits required is almost $3 million) 


TSEA Lobby Day

Tuesday, April 5 – Nashville, TN
This year, we will have our traditional format for the day, beginning the day in the House Chamber and then moving to the 8th Floor Cordell Hull Building for a luncheon with legislators from 11am to 1pm. All legislators are being invited to join you on the 8th Floor for the luncheon, however, we know they may not all be available during that time, and you may have to make an appointment to visit with them in their offices.

Make your plans now to attend Lobby Day on April 5. To attend Lobby Day and request overnight lodging for members attending that are from outside of Nashville, please register on our website at tseaonline.org or use this direct link:

You can now register to attend this year’s Lobby Day here:
https://tseaonline.formstack.com/forms/lobby_day


Thank you for being a member of TSEA and for your dedication and commitment to serving Tennessee. Please continue to monitor your email for the latest updates.

Not a member? Join TSEA today at https://tseaonline.org/jointsea/

Comments are closed.