Legislative Update: Week Ending 4-16-2021

TSEA April 16, 2021 Comments Off on Legislative Update: Week Ending 4-16-2021
Legislative Update: Week Ending  4-16-2021

We have begun the legislative session’s final stretch as the general assembly begins to focus on the state budget. 

Some good news for state employees happened this week when the childcare bill unanimously passed in the House. It passed the Senate earlier this month, but the House added a couple of amendments, so the bill will need to be reconciled with the Senate version before the legislature can send it to the Governor for his signature. This bill would provide state employees across the state access to affordable childcare by allowing childcare providers to operate facilities in state-owned or leased buildings specifically for state workers’ children. We appreciate all the great work and time by bill sponsors Sen. Sara Kyle and Rep. Leatherwood to get this bill passed. 

401(k) match bill sponsor Chairman Briggs moved this bill out of the Senate State and Local Committee. We believe the bill will be on the Senate floor next week. Once again, similar to the childcare bill, this bill has already passed the House. But, an amendment was needed to correct a technicality, so it will also need reconciliation before passing. 

On Monday, Governor Lee presented his amendment to the proposed Fiscal Year 2021-2022 budget, also known as his supplemental budget. This supplemental budget allocates $580 million in available funds to various projects, including $100 million for a two-week sales tax holiday on all grocery sales, purchases at restaurants, and all prepared food. Nothing notable is allocated for state employees in the supplemental budget, which was anticipated.

In a meeting with Chairwoman Hazlewood and Chairman Hicks, they both stressed that a significant amount of the supplemental budget is one-time money, meaning it can only be allocated to one-time expenses. There is not much recurring money in the supplemental budget, which limits what those dollars can fund. The revenue picture will become clearer next week. 

As budget discussions and decisions on funding priorities pick up steam, we continue to meet with legislators on key committees to ensure state employees are included in those budget conversations. Our discussions include the proposed 4-percent raises, market study funding, probation and parole salary adjustments, DCS case manager salary adjustments, TDOC retention bonuses, 401(k) match, correctional teacher pay equalization, and more. 

We anticipate the budget will pass sometime around the second week of May.

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: 3-31-2021 – Returned to the Clerk’s Desk

Match on 401(k)
SB0516 | HB1016  
Sponsors: 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: 4-14-2021 – Recommended for passage with amendment/s, refer to Senate Calendar Committee Ayes 9, Nays 0 PNV 0
House Status: 4-1-2021 – Received from House, Passed on First Consideration

Child care authorization
SB0022 | HB1114
Sponsors: 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: 4-15-2021 – Placed on Senate Message Calendar for 4-19-2021
House Status: 4-14-2021 – Comp. SB subst.

Pension Transfer
SB1520 | HB1540
Sponsors: 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: 4-14-2021 – Received from Senate, held on House desk
House Status: 4-14-2021 – Placed on subcommittee calendar Finance, Ways, and Means Subcommittee for 4-21-2021

Restore Longevity for all
SB0402 | HB0414
Sponsors: 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

Increase to 401(k)
SB1601 | HB1205
Sponsors: Sen. Bailey, Rep. Lamberth
Summary: Replaces the name of the “consolidated retirement board” with “board of trustees of the consolidated retirement system,” for purposes of the Tennessee consolidated retirement system
Senate Status: 3-30-2021 – Recommended for passage, refer to Senate Finance, Ways, and Means Committee
House Status: 4-7-2021 – Placed behind the budget