Today, the Appropriations Committee met to review the following:
- LD 39, An Act to Expand the Number of Qualified educators,
- LD 1175, An Act to Amend the Laws Governing Retirement Benefits for Capitol Police Officers, and
- The Government Evaluation Act regarding the State Pension system
- LD 39 is amended to replace the bill, and provides for the restoration of service for state employees and teacher by providing that effective August 1, 2014, certain teachers defined as classroom-based employees [includes teacher aides], who have reached normal retirement age and who have retired after September 1, 2011 may be restored to service as classroom based employees at 100% of the compensation established for positions to be filled through one-year contracts.
- A classroom-based employee may be employed by an individual school administrative unit for no more than 5 one-year contracts, which do not have to be consecutive. The 5-year limit is per school administrative unit. A retired classroom-based teacher may return to service at the same school administrative unit for a maximum of 10 years: 5 years under one-year contracts at 100% of the compensation for that position, and 5 years at 75% of the compensation for that position.
- The bill received unanimous support from the Appropriations Committee.
- LD 1175 is amended to clarify that service retirement benefits for a capitol police officer in the employment of the Department of Public Safety, Bureau of Capitol Police on the effective date of this bill must be computed on the basis of all of the member’s creditable service, regardless of when that service was earned. There is a $63,847 fiscal note effective for FY 2015.
- The amendment also directs the Maine Public Employees Retirement System to determine the number of active members who have earned creditable service in the 1998 Special Plan after earning creditable service in the regular plan, and to identify required changes to the laws governing retirement benefits to allow service benefits for a current number of the 1998 Special Plan – computed on the basis of all the members’ creditable service.
- This bill was approved by a vote of 7 to 3; with 2 members temporarily address other matters.
Government Evaluation Act.
- The Committee agreed to a bill that:
- Clarifies that the assets of one trust or plan can only be used for the exclusive benefit of the employees and beneficiaries of that plan and cannot be used to satisfy the liabilities of any other plan.
- Adds Emergency Medical service s persons to the category of participating local district employees for which a special retirement plan is available, and
- Requires the Executive Director of Maine Public Employees Retirement System to establish and make recommendations to the System’s Board of Trustees of an Environmental, Social, and Governance Policy and to report but January 15, 2015 to the Joint Standing Committee of the Legislative committee with jurisdiction over retirement matters on the recommendations made to the Board and on the Board’s resulting action, and
- The Appropriations Committee met with Mary Mayhew at 3:30 PM to review budget lines dealing with the budget shortfall for DHHS and Riverview. Commissioner Mayhew ;pointed out that DHHS will be arguing before CMS that Riverview should not be denied Disproportionate Share [federal] funding because it is an Institution of Mental Disease, and does not fall under CMS Medicare and Medicaid rules regarding Medicaid. The outcome of this argument cannot be determined at this time.
- The Committee also requested clarification of the DHHS projections for funding and the model that it used to make the forecast. In addition, Commissioner Mayhew was asked about the overpayments associated with “cost of care.” The Department has identified $47 million of overpayments and collected $32 million which has been used as Department savings for the budget. If collection of overpayments is expedited in FY 2014, savings in FY 2015 will be less.
Appropriations Democrats caucused from 1 to 3:30 PM and reviewed the budget spreadsheet prepared by the OFPR.
The full schedule may be found here: http://www.maine.gov/legis/ofpr/appropriations_committee/schedule_agendas/Agenda_2014_02_17_Week.pdf