See the Legislative Report below from Barbara Sellers. I would like to personally thank our four boots on the ground state lobbying team members who were there for the entire session! Chad Major, Shane Spillman, Barbara Sellers and Mike Paternostro. Their diligent work coupled with our your response to the requests for emails and phone calls to Legislators made this a very successful session, while at the same time reducing the need to ask more of us to come to the Capitol.
The 2016 Regular Legislative Session concluded on June 6, 2016. The state legislative team along with you the members were able to keep SB-3 by Senator Peacock(RETIREMENT/FIREFIGHTERS? : Provides benefits for members hired on or after January 1, 2017. (6/30/16) (EG DECREASE APV) from gaining any traction. This bill was never scheduled to be heard in the House Retirement Committee.
Here are the bills sponsored by the Fire Fighters Retirement System of interest that all passed -
HB-22 by Representative Montoucet - RETIREMENT/FIREFIGHTERS: Establishes a funding deposit account for the Firefighters' Retirement System and authorizes the board of trustees of the system to modify required employer contribution rates in certain circumstances and within certain limits in order to fund the account (EG NO IMPACT APV) ACT 208 signed by the Governor Effective 7/1/16
HB-24 by Representative Montoucet - RETIREMENT/FIREFIGHTERS: Provides that a member of the Firefighters' Retirement System is not eligible for disability retirement benefits if his disability is indirectly a result of a preexisting condition (EG DECREASE APV) ACT 209 signed by the Governor Effective 5/26/16
HB-26 by Representative Montoucet - RETIREMENT/FIREFIGHTERS: Provides relative to appeals of certain disability eligibility decisions in the Firefighters' Retirement System (EG DECREASE APV)ACT 78 signed by the Governor Effective 5/11/16
HB-27 by Representative Montoucet - RETIREMENT/FIREFIGHTERS: Provides with respect to payment of interest in certain cases of administrative error in the Firefighters' Retirement System. (EG INCREASE APV) ACT 231 signed by the Governor Effective 5/26/16
HB-38 by Representative Montoucet - RETIREMENT/FIREFIGHTERS: Provides relative to reenrollment in the Firefighters' Retirement System by employees covered by Social Security (EG NO IMPACT APV) ACT 79 signed by the Governor Effective 5/11/16
HB-25 by Representative Montoucet - RETIREMENT/FIREFIGHTERS: Provides relative to the reemployment of retirees of the Firefighters' Retirement System (EG DECREASE APV) Was voluntarily pulled by FRS due to ongoing litigation in Jefferson Parish that could have an adverse impact in the system pending the outcome of the suit.
Other bills of interest -
HB-678 by Representative Carmody - TELECOMMUNICATIONS: Provides for the assessment of a surcharge fee on prepaid 911 services. HB 678 will amend state law to clarify the 9-1-1 Districts’ authority to assess a service fee on any type of prepaid service that can access 9-1-1 emergency services. It will also authorize a fee increase on prepaid wireless services from 2% to 4% on the amount of the purchase. Prepaid wireless services are assessed at the point-of-sale by a retailer, which is a “pay as you go” type of wireless service. This bill has made it to the Governor awaiting his signature. This bill will positively impact our department by bringing in revenue.
HB-805 by Representative Broadwater - DISTRICTS/COMMUNICATIONS: Provides relative to communication districts. HB 805 will authorize the local governing 9-1-1 boards to increase their 9-1-1 surcharge service fees from $0.85 to $1.25, which will provide for parity of fee rates between wireline, wireless and new technology such as VoIP. For Caddo Parish, this will authorize an increase if approved by our local governing board, from $1.00 to $1.25. This bill has made it to the Governor awaiting his signature. This bill will also positively impact our department.
SB-475 by Senator White - HEALTH CARE: Creates the Ambulance Transfer Task Force. The Fire Service is watching the development of this task force. The PFFALA has ensured that if the pilot program is successful then a permanent committee will be established and at least 1 fire service/ALS provider will be added. ACT 493 signed by the Governor Effective 6/13/16
HB-953 by Representative Harris - CRIME: Amends the provisions of law regarding hate crimes. This bill provides now includes protection for Emergency Medical Service Personnel and Firefighters that are victim of hate crimes. ACT 184 signed by the Governor Effective 8/1/16
Of course the state lobbying team has been watching a host of other bills throughout the first special session, the regular session and now well into the next special session along with our state AFL-CIO, the labor coalition and the National Public Pension Coalition. The successes that we accomplish are a direct result of each of our local members and affiliates across our state. We will continue to keep you updated until the close of the special session with any new developments.