April 29th marks the 85th Day of the Nevada State Legislature’s 80th Session. Members of the Legislature’s Senate Finance and Assembly Ways and Means Committees have been busy trying to close departmental budgets since April 2, and on May 1 they’ll gather to get started with the Public Employees’ Benefits Program budget. PEBP Executive Officer Damon Haycock has said his budget hearing is expected to carry over to Saturday, May 4. During a special PEBP Board meeting today (April 29) Haycock recommended the board authorize the agency to make technical adjustments to the Plan Year 2020 rates and premiums based on legislative decision-making on their Fiscal Year 2020 budget. The board already approved rates at their March meeting, but recently received word that the Governor’s recommended budget didn’t jive with what PEBP approved so everything has to be reconciled by the Legislature when they begin PEBP’s budget closing on May 1, and finalize it on Saturday May 4. But that puts a kink into PEBP’s Open Enrollment so the special meeting was held to allow PEBP to make any technical adjustments to the Plan Year 2020 rates and premiums based on all this last minute information, as well as revise Open Enrollment from May 1-31, to May 20-June 7. Both items on the short agenda were approved. The proposed rate increase reflects somewhere around $5-$20 more per month for actives enrolled in PEBP as well as Pre-Medicare participants, but won’t have much of an impact, if any, on participants on the Medicare Exchange. Another important budget closing will occur May 2, for the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS). RPEN will be represented at all three budget closings for PEBP and PERS and will provide information from them in our next Legislative Alert.
Meanwhile, in other legislative activity, there still has been no hearing set in the Assembly Government Affairs Committee for Senate Bill 224, the Privacy Bill RPEN supports, and is a replay of Senate Bill 384 from the 2017 Legislative Session. As we reported in our last alert April 22, this bill, being sponsored by Senator Julia Ratti with assistance from RPEN Lead Lobbyist Marlene Lockard, was amended and placed on the General File for a vote April 22. The bill summary was amended to read “Revises provisions relating to public retirement systems, providing for the confidentiality of certain information”. Additional changes reflected now state “Section 1 of this bill generally makes information about a current or former member of a public retirement system administered by the Public Employees’ Retirement Board, or a beneficiary of such a member, confidential, and further states only the following information will be a public record by the PERS Board: 1) identification number of such a person; 2) the last public employer of the person; 3) the number of years of service credit such a person has with the public retirement system; 4) the retirement date of the person; 5) the amount of annual pension benefit paid to the person; and 6) whether the person is receiving a disability or service retirement allowance”.
There’s been rumored that a night hearing could happen Wednesday, May 1, combining all of the collective bargaining measures currently being considered, including Senate Bill 135 that allows for collective bargaining for state workers, however as of today (April 29) no evening hearings are on the schedule. Senate Bill 287 (Public Records) and Senate Bill 272 that seeks to make pay for the Nevada Highway Patrol Association more competitive were re-referred from Government Affairs to Senate Finance but no hearings are set for either as of today. RPEN Day at the Nevada Legislature will be observed Tuesday, May 7, and several of our chapters will be represented and we’ll be hosting a table in the Legislative foyer to disperse RPEN membership information since many of the staffers working the session are eligible to join! Many of our State Officers will be here including State President Bernard Paolini, Vice-President Vicki Cameron and State Treasurer Rita Evasovic along with past State Presidents Hal Keaton and Glenn Trowbridge.
Terri Laird, RPEN Executive Director