Capitol pause followed by momentous PERS and Student Success action
Monday, April 15, 2019
Most committees took a day off after the April 9 deadline to move bills and did not meet, which was like a vacation day for those of us in the Capitol building. The vacation didn’t last.
Late last week, Gov. Kate Brown unveiled her vision for Public Employees Retirement System cost containment, one of OSBA’s priorities. Although there have been some PERS-related bills already heard, Brown appeared before the Joint Ways and Means Committee Capital Construction Subcommittee with her vision.
In a packed hearing room, the governor laid out the plan, suggesting taking reserves from the state workers’ compensation insurance fund, combined with estate taxes, part of the kicker and other onetime monies to set up a School PERS Offset Account to stem the rising PERS rates for schools. In addition, Brown outlined an employee cost-sharing proposal called the PERS Stability Contribution Program. It would redirect 3% from the employee Individual Account Program into a new individual account for the employee called the PERS Stability Contribution Account.Here is the link for the details.
The governor offered to meet with legislators to discuss her proposal and told legislators she was interested in working with them but would not stand for more inaction.
The Joint Committee on Student Success also held a public hearing late in the week. The excitement for the education investment proposal drew a large crowd of supporters. The halls of the Capitol building were full of education supporters who stood in line to sign up to testify. House Bill 2019 just contains the education investment spending proposal rolled out last week, but late in the hearing the revenue proposal was posted to the Legislature’s website without discussion.
Please note that House Bill 2019 will likely be dropped as the bill used for the student success education investment and revenue proposals because of a potential problem with its “relating-to" clause. Contents of a bill must be germane to the relating-to clause. Due to the comprehensiveness of this education proposal, the committee wanted to be sure there were no technical issues that could be challenged as this bill moves along the process, so they decided to find a bill with a relating-to clause that would fit more precisely.
The new bill, House Bill 3427, has to be extensively amended, known as “gut and stuff.” The current content of the bill is removed and replace by an amendment containing the education investment and revenue raising proposals. The new bill is scheduled for a hearing Tuesday, April 16.
Keep watching for our campaign updates. The Oregonians for Student Success campaign is sending an email or text message asking you to take action. As a reminder you can find information for sending emails, sending a letter to the editor and other helpful materials on our OSBA website or the Oregonians for Student Success website.