Here some updates on a couple of bills of particular interest to EMAT.
SB0624/HB0551 (Watson/Hazlewood), would enact the "Facilitating Business Rapid Response to State Declared Disaster Act." The bill passed out of the Senate Committee and will go to the Senate floor for the next vote. It has a small cost. The Senate uses something they call a "sweeper" provision that funds anything under a certain threshold, so in that chamber, bills with a small cost don't have to go through the Finance, Ways & Means Committee. In the House, the bill was deferred for a week. There is no sweeper provision in the House and the finance committees there will have to figure out a way to address any cost the bill generates.
SB1237/HB0623 (Pody/Hulsey) is a bill regarding early retirement for law enforcement officers in TCRS. The bill generated a lot of discussion in the Pensions and Insurance Committee. That joint committee merely sends bills along with recommendations to the appropriate committees. Senator Pody proposed an amendment to add firefighters to the bill that was adopted. However, one of his co-sponsors said he signed on the bill and supported it for law enforcement and was not for expanding it. Pody was asked by another member of the committee if this was going to keep creeping along and adding in more people like EMS, or others. Pody stated that he had no plans to add any other groups to the bill.
The way SB1237 is structured, it shows no cost to TCRS. Since the bill had no fiscal impact on the retirement system, the committee did not have to make a recommendation. However, they did make a motion to send it out with a positive recommendation. The legislation will now go through the regular committee channels.
Click here for a bill report for 3/15/2019.