With minutes left, House passes pension stabilization bill
By Melissa Turtinen
With just minutes left in the 90th legislative session, the House and Senate passed the omnibus pension and retirement bill.
The House passed HF3053/ SF2620*, as amended to include the House language, 131-0 late Sunday night. The Senate, which passed its bill 66-0 March 26, then had to act quickly to repass the amended version. It did, 67-0, and sent the bill to Gov. Mark Dayton.
Sponsored by Rep. Tim O’Driscoll (R-Sartell) and Sen. Julie Rosen (R-Vernon Center), the bill would help stabilize pension plans for more than 500,000 Minnesotans, including teachers, police officers, firefighters and other public employees.
Members and stakeholders have stressed the bill needs to be signed into law this year because the amount going into pension accounts won’t be enough to pay benefits in the years to come due to increased liabilities. The bill would bring the funded ratio for the plans closer to 100 percent by adding funding and making benefit reforms to save on costs.
O’Driscoll told the House Government Operations and Elections Policy Committee earlier this month the proposal “is the 2016, 2017 and 2018 omnibus pension bill all rolled into one.”
Dayton vetoed the 2016 and 2017 bills. This year, he said stabilizing state pensions should be one of the Legislature’s top priorities and asked for a clean bill.
Administration officials told the committee the governor supports the bill. It also has the support of representatives of the state pension plans.