There is STRENGTH in numbers!
One of RPEN’s chief functions is to educate state and local governments regarding issues that affect retired public employees.
Some of RPEN’s efforts have contributed to constitutional protections of our PERS system, post-retirement increases to retiree pension benefits and an awareness of the importance of a solvent, sound retirement system.
One of the biggest concerns of retirees is health care issues related to the state’s Public Employees’ Benefits Program (PEBP) and other local government health insurance plans.
RPEN advocates on behalf of retired public employees at regular and special sessions of the state Legislature and at interim hearings between legislative sessions.
RPEN LEGISLATIVE ALERTS 79TH SESSION OF THE NEVADA STATE LEGISLATURE
PLEASE CLICK ON THE LINKS BELOW:
Thank you for your continued membership and support of RPEN, and if you know of someone who is not yet a member of RPEN, please encourage them to join now! Strength in Numbers is never more important than during a legislative session!
Terri Laird, Executive Director
Check out everything that is new and keep you informed like exchange survey results and board meeting notes.
Now that you know about some of our issues going into the 79th Session of the Nevada State Legislature, perhaps you would like to reach out to your elected officials in one way or another, but don’t know how to do so. Our Lead Lobbyist/Legislative Advocate Marlene Lockard wants to help! Through her lobbying agency, The Lockard Group, she has prepared a list of helpful lobbying tips. To view this document, please click on the link below:
Steve Sisolak Speaks with RPEN State President
RPEN’s next member newsletter will report on our summer interviews with candidates who agreed to talk with us on issues that matter to retired and active public employees. We invited every candidate on the November 6, 2018 ballot, including the constitutional candidates. We spoke to over 40 of them, but neither of the candidates for Governor were among them, that is until Friday, September 28, 2018, when Steve Sisolak, the Democratic candidate, reached out to our State President Bernard Paolini. Paolini is a member of RPEN’s Boulder City Chapter and he asked several questions of Sisolak during their telephone interview. We will list each question here, along with the candidate’s reply.
Question 1: Do you support Nevada’s defined benefit retirement system? Will you commit to not make any additional changes to the PERS (Public Employees’ Retirement System) system, including changing the board composition of PERS?
President Paolini: Mr. Sisolak asked if he could expand on his answers as well as ask questions. I told him that would be fine. He said that he supports the defined benefit retirement system. He asked what changes were made to PERS and I advised him of some of the changes made by Nevada Senator Michael Roberson’s bill (I think it was SB405). He thought that some of them were fair and should be given a chance to evaluate the results before making any additional changes. When asked about the composition of the PERS Board he asked if I was aware that he is dating the current chair of the Board. He does not believe any changes are necessary and he commented about how well run PERS is.
SB 502 IS SIGNED BY GOVERNOR SANDOVAL JUNE 2 AND BECOMES EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2017!
SB 384, RPEN’S PRIVACY BILL, GETS VETOED BY GOVERNOR SANDOVAL
The veto came late in the afternoon on Saturday, June 3. It was a blow for retired public employees but RPEN fought hard to get the issue brought to a vote in both houses this session. Sparks Senator Julia Ratti carried the bill for us, after the subject came up during the 2015 session by the late Senator Debbie Smith. The bill was amended late in the session on the advice from officials in the Governor’s office who said he would consider supporting it if the “name” were listed as public information rather than an “identitfying number”. Unfortunately, it didn’t work. In his veto statement, Sandoval said ” The goal of protecting public employee information from misuse was a worthy endeavor but making certain information (number of years of service credit and retirement date secret wasn’t the way to go”. He said “But SB 384 seeks to achieve its goals by limiting the public’s right to access public information, upsetting the established balance between privacy and transparency. In decided how to balance these competing interests, the public’s right to know cannot be compromised absent a compelling case that such limits are justified and in the public interest. SB 384 does not overcome the significant test in favor of less transparency. Although the proponents raised the possibility of identity theft, there is ….
Question 2: In the 2017 legislative session, RPEN proposed a bill that would protect our member’s privacy and deter identity theft. SB384 was ultimately amended to state that only the name, pension amount and the employer would be made public. Would you support this bill?
President Paolini: I detailed the history of this bill, including the veto by Governor Sandoval and the lawsuit by NPRI (Nevada Policy Research Institute). He is aware of NPRI and said he would support a privacy bill.
Question 3: In the 2011 legislative session, changes were made to the Public Employee Benefits Program (PEBP) to eliminate retiree health coverage going forward. This was done as a budget cutting measure. Would you support reinstating health coverage for retirees?
President Paolini: Mr. Sisolak asked for additional information on this question. I explained the reason for the measure and that it should not be a financial issue since PEBP has reserves and reinstating health coverage would not come into play for more than 20 years. He said he would support this legislation if there was money available.
Question 4: Will you support collective bargaining for state employees?
President Paolini: I advised that AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) was going to introduce a bill to grant collective bargaining to state workers. Mr. Sisolak said that he is supportive of collective bargaining.
Question 5: Do you plan to introduce any legislation affecting seniors?
President Paolini: Mr. Sisolak said at this point his only focus is getting elected. If he is successful then he will look at what legislation he would like to introduce.
Question 6: Will you commit to an “open door” policy by making time for RPEN’s representatives to meet with you to discuss various issues affecting RPEN during the upcoming legislative session.
President Paolini: Mr. Sisolak said that he looks forward to working with us.
RPEN never endorses candidates. We simply try to educate our members as to where the candidates stand on our issues, so they can make their own “educated” decisions at the polls. We did reach out to Candidate Adam Laxalt for an interview during our process, but he has not responded to our requests.
RPEN encourages everyone to vote November 6. Early voting will begin October 20.
Catch up on all the activities that have been happening. Read our Newsletters.
While many of the “reform” bills involving PERS did NOT make the first deadline, April 14, when they had to pass out of the committee of origin, we will remain alert until the end of the session to see if something else pops up before the scheduled June 5 sine die. We have to be on alert because the Nevada Policy Research Institute (NPRI) is not likely to stop their assault on Nevada PERS, in spite of the fact that PERS is continually ranked high among its’ peers. The first link below from NPRI features a 121 page report they released in February in advance of the opening day at the Legislature, called “Solutions 2017” that outlines their legislative agenda. That agenda once again includes more reforms they want to see happen at the Nevada Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) that have already been mentioned in our legislative reports, as well as tried and failed at the 2015 Legislative Session. The NPRI recommendations for PERS this session are outlined on pages 26-33 of this report.
Another piece being circulated by NPRI through their website, www.npri.org is called “Footprints” that also takes aim at “reforming” Nevada’s Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS). It is quite lengthy, and not only takes aim at PERS but at Nevada lawmakers through the years who NPRI says failed to take enough action regarding PERS and the “reforms” they think should have been made long ago.
All of the important links to keep you informed of anything that can be going on within the retirement community.
It is also worth mentioning that NPRI filed a lawsuit this year against NV PERS seeking additional personal identifying information from retired public employees, over and above the information that is already posted at their website transparentnevada.com. RPEN is very much opposed to any further release of personal, identifying information such as home addresses, beneficiaries, social security numbers, etc. and we will be seeking assistance from the Nevada State Legislature to prevent such access.
As mentioned previously RPEN will be at the Legislature from day one. We will also be posting updates during the session on our website, as well as emailing Legislative Alerts to our members. If you are NOT yet a member of RPEN, why not? If you would like to join RPEN, there is not a better time than the present to do so. Membership applications are available on our website under “How to Join”. It’s only $60.00 per year to join, payable by a monthly PERS deduction or through cash, check or money order, as well as an ACH (Automated Clearing House) deduction from your personal account. There is STRENGTH in numbers!!
“SHARE YOUR OPINION” LINK TO THE NEVADA STATE LEGISLATURE
Until the Legislative Session closes on June 5, you will have access to this “Share Your Opinion” page at the legislative web-site where you can post your opinion of a bill RPEN is watching as well as post whether you are for or against this bill. To access this page at the Nevada Legislative website, you can click on the link below: