Legislative Update: Week Ending 3-26-2021

TSEA March 26, 2021 Comments Off on Legislative Update: Week Ending 3-26-2021
Legislative Update: Week Ending 3-26-2021

There was considerable activity this week at the legislature on bills in our legislative agenda.   

The 401(k) bill (which puts into law the $50 match on your 401(k) benefit) passed the House State Committee and will likely be on the House Floor* Monday night, March, 29. In the Senate, this bill is in the State and Local Government Committee, but we do not expect movement until April.  

We are also now working with House Majority Leader William Lamberth on legislation to increase the 401(k) match by $25 a month. Just as it was when we started this discussion two years ago, the concept is supported by the Treasurer to increase participation in the plan. More details to come. 

The Childcare bill passed the House Government Operations Committee and awaits scheduling before the House Finance Subcommittee.  

The Burden of Proof bill received a 5-4 vote in the Senate Finance committee, but it needed six votes to pass. For now, that means the legislation is held in committee while we work on some of the details with the Governor’s administration. We are encouraged by the administration’s comments during their testimony, and our discussions with the committee’s senators. This is a developing story. 

The Pension Transfer bill passed the Council on Pension and Insurance committee Monday and then moved it out of the Public Employees subcommittee, thanks to Rep. Weaver. It will be in the House State Committee next week. In the Senate, we expect movement in April.  

TSEA has worked diligently to keep your legislators informed about your concerns and issues. We are encouraged by the conversations and the general mood in the legislature towards state employees. There is substantial funding for state and higher ed in this proposed budget, and we are working to help ensure it remains in the final budget. As a reminder, few items being proposed in this budget include: a 4-percent pool of money for raises for all Executive Branch and Higher Ed employees (Executive Branch includes most state employees vs. executive service which are mostly appointed positions), market adjustment money, probation and parole salary adjustments, DCS case manager salary adjustments, and funding of salary adjustments for some park employees.  

*NOTE: Our legislature is bicameral. This means our legislature is divided into two separate chambers; House and Senate. A floor vote is often the final vote on legislation in a particular chamber. For a bill to ultimately pass and be sent to the Governor, the final versions passed in both chambers must be identical. If there is any conflict between the versions, the legislature will assemble a joint conference committee, and a resolution will be sought. 

Bill Status for TSEA Legislative Agenda Bills:

Burden of Proof
SB0361 | HB0954  
Sponsors: Sen. Hensley, Rep. Littleton
Cosponsors: Sen. Yager
Summary: Requires a state agency in a proceeding to suspend, terminate, or discipline an employee in state service to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the employee violated state law or a rule or policy of the agency prior to taking such action
Senate Status: 3-23-2021 – Failed in Senate Finance, Ways, and Means Committee
House Status: 3-24-2021 – Placed on subcommittee calendar Public Service Subcommittee for 3-31-2021

Match on 401(k)
SB0516 | HB1016  
Sponsor: Sen. Briggs, Rep. Hicks 
Summary: Increases from $40 to $50 the minimum amount that the state will match to an employee’s optional retirement plan
Senate Status: 3-24-2021 – Placed on Senate State and Local Government Committee calendar for 3-30-2021
House Status: 3-25-2021 – House Placed on Consent Calendar for 3-29-2021

Child care authorization
SB0022 | HB1114
Sponsor: Sen. Kyle, Rep. Leatherwood
Cosponsor: Sen. Gardenhire, Rep. Cooper
Summary: Requires the Department of Human Services to approve, administer, and coordinate child care services for the children of state officers and employees
Senate Status: 3-11-2021 – Received from Senate, held on House desk.
House Status: 3-24-2021 – Placed on subcommittee calendar Finance, Ways, and Means Subcommittee for 3-31-2021

Pension Transfer
SB1520 | HB1540
Sponsor: Sen. Roberts, Rep. Weaver
Summary: Allows any member of the Tennessee consolidated retirement system to obtain creditable service for prior service while a participating member of a city, metropolitan government, or county retirement system.
Senate Status: 2-22-2021 – Passed on Second Consideration, refer to Senate State and Local Government Committee
House Status: 3-24-2021 – Placed on calendar State Government Committee for 3-30-2021

Restore Longevity for all
SB0402 | HB0414
Sponsor: Sen. Jackson, Rep. Sparks
Summary: Restores longevity pay for employees of the executive branch in the service of the state hired after June 30, 2015.
Senate Status: 2-10-2021 – Passed on Second Consideration, refer to Senate State and Local Government Committee
House Status: 2-10-2021 – Passed on Second Consideration, refer to State Government Committee; Assigned to subcommittee Public Service Subcommittee