Time running out for Weatherford's pension overhaul

Upon becoming Florida House Speaker last year, Will Weatherford said pension reform was going to be one of his top priorities. But with a little more than a week left in session, Weatherford has for the first time acknowledged time is running out on passing his legislation.  “Nobody ever bats 1.000,” Weatherford told reporters Tuesday. “No one ever expects to get everything single thing they asked for at the beginning of session.” If there is a path to getting HB 7011 even heard in the Florida Senate, it’s not an obvious one. From the beginning, Weatherford has championed the bill, which was sponsored by Rep. Jason Brodeur, R-Sanford. It would require new state, school and county employees hired after Jan. 1, 2014, to enroll in 401(k)-style retirement plans and prohibit them from enrolling in the state’s pension system. The only legislation that the Senate has picked up that resembles HB 7011 is SB 1392, sponsored by Sen. Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby. Though the two are friends and business associates (Simpson employs Weatherford as a consultant for his environmental business) the two bills are quite different. Simpson’s bill is more of a half measure when compared to Brodeur’s bill in that it only encourages workers to enroll in 401(k)-style retirement systems. If they want to enroll in the pension system, they would be allowed. Union groups object to both bills (though two, the Florida Police Benevolent Association and Florida Professional Firefighters, support 1392), saying they would deplete the pension system, partly because it curtails its ability to make good investments. Brodeur’s bill would do it more quickly, Simpson’s bill would do it over time. Though a half measure is better than nothing, Weatherford has said, he still is pushing for a vote on the Senate floor for HB 7011. “If our pension bill is given a chance to be heard on the senate floor, I think it has a chance to get 21 votes,” Weatherford said. “It’s Week Eight. They’ve got some time. We sent it to them ...and they have until the middle of next week so there’s a lot of time on the clock.” But senators seem hesitant to even take up Simpson’s bill. “Either bill would require a lot of change,” said Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine. “Those kinds of issues always do require change. My concern is that both the Speaker and Senator Simpson’s bills would be a fundamental change in the system. It would be a lot to get done. They’re both good bills, but it doesn’t mean it has to get done this year. It’s a difficult issue to take on the last week. It’s a complicated issue.” Simpson’s bill was supposed to be discussed on the Senate floor Wednesday, but it was delayed -- again. That’s not a good sign. So why would senators take up a bill, HB 7011, that would go even further than Simpson’s bill? Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, said he helped craft parts of Simpson’s bill, but wouldn’t say which ones. Latvala, who has clashed with Weatherford on ethics reform, said he doesn’t think HB 7011 has a chance. “In my opinion, that can’t pass the Senate,” Latvala said. So is Weatherford trying to get an up-and-down vote on HB 7011 in the Senate so he can count noses? After all, he can still use the budget, which isn’t due until Tuesday, as leverage. If members want certain projects, Weatherford could use the budget as a carrot -- or stick. But Weatherford said he doesn’t play that way. “You all know me well enough, the senators know me well enough, we’re going to plead the case based on policy,” Weatherford told reporters Tuesday. “My hope is that if there are members who want to vote no that they give me and my members, the sponsor of the bill, Rep. Jason Brodeur, the opportunity to make the case as to why we think it’s good policy. But no, we will sell the policy and that will be it.”  It could be up to Simpson, who could introduce a strike-all amendment and replace the Brodeur bill for his. But he has said that's not his call to make. "That's above my paygrade," he said. But Senate President Don Gaetz said it's totally up to Simpson as to how he wants this issue to be decided. "I wouldn't ask another senator to amend his bill," Gaetz said. "It would be up to the senator."

http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2013/04/time-running-out-for-weatherfords-pension-overhaul.html
http://www.tallahassee.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2013304250020 (Andy Ford and Mark Pudlow quoted)

http://news.wfsu.org/post/could-pension-reform-florida-be-jeopardy-balls-senate-sponsors-court

 

A big behind-the-scenes tug of war on education funding
http://findout.typepad.com/the_fine_print/2013/04/budget-battles-2013.html

 

Indian River teachers getting raises

http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2013/apr/24/indian-river-teachers-getting-raises/

 

Mass dismissals rattle Pasco school

http://www.tampabay.com/news/education/teachers/asked-to-leave-many-teachers-at-lacoochee-elementary-just-got-there/2117234

 

Palm Beach parents warned to brace for possible slide in school grades

http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/news/local-education/parents-warned-to-brace-for-possible-slide-in-scho/nXXDN/?icmp=pbp_internallink_invitationbox_apr2013_pbpstubtomypbp_launch

 

Details of subsidized tutoring deal remain elusive

http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2013/04/details-of-subsidized-tutoring-deal-remain-elusive.html

 

State online school target of cuts from legislators

http://m.apnews.com/ap/db_268748/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=LV53Kdy9

 

High school sports bill gets a Hail Mary in the Florida House

http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/04/24/3362983/high-school-sports-bill-gets-a.html

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/F/FL_XGR_SCHOOLS_ATHLETE_TRANSFERS_FLOL-?SITE=FLTAM&SECTION=STATE&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2013-04-24-22-37-26


Early learning bill clears House

http://www.thefloridacurrent.com/article.cfm?id=32585557

 

Brandes: Taking school choice to the class level

http://www.redefinedonline.org/2013/02/taking-school-choice-to-the-class-level-florida-sen-jeff-brandes-podcasted/

 

Bennett: PARCC is not the only exam Florida will consider

http://stateimpact.npr.org/florida/2013/04/24/bennett-florida-not-committed-to-parcc-exam/

 

Can the Common Core Standards reverse the “rising tide of mediocrity”?

http://shankerblog.org/?p=8233

http://stateimpact.npr.org/florida/2013/04/24/common-core-protesters-take-their-fight-to-the-florida-capitol/

 

One size doesn't fit all in education

http://www.tallahassee.com/article/20130425/OPINION05/304250026/Mella-Baxter-One-size-doesn-t-fit-all-education

 

Hundreds of Chicago students walk out of standardized test

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/04/24-8

 

Poverty increases in Florida, FIU report says

http://touch.sun-sentinel.com/#section/1098/article/p2p-75622396/

 

Lawmakers take aim at workers' benefits

http://www.tallahassee.com/article/20130425/OPINION05/304250028/My-View-Lawmakers-take-aim-workers-benefits

 

Simmons may opt for sick time bill that kills local wage rules too

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/blogs/political-pulse/os-simmons-may-kill-living-wage-sick-time,0,4941777.post

http://www.gainesville.com/article/20130424/ARTICLES/130429768/1002/news01?Title=County-State-Sen-Bradley-at-odds-over-wage-theft-law

 

Feds blast Florida's unemployment compensation system for denying civil rights

http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2013/04/labor-federal-govt-blasts-floridas-unemployment-compensation-system-for-denying-civil-rights.html

 

Budget conference talks continue

http://www.thefloridacurrent.com/article.cfm?id=32587852

 

Legislative deal keeps major campaign-finance loophole

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/politics/os-ethics-campaign-compromise-20130424,0,3395400.story

http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2013/04/legislators-send-campaign-finance-and-ethics-bills-to-governor.html

http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/national/florida-senate-passes-elections-reform-on-party-line-vote/2117226

http://www.postonpolitics.com/2013/04/deal-on-campaign-finance-ethics-doubles-contributions/

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/blogs/political-pulse/os-latvala-house-insisted-on-political-party-loophole-20130424,0,5986610.post

http://www.thefloridacurrent.com/article.cfm?id=32585504

 

Email exemption for voter documents raises concerns

http://www.tallahassee.com/article/20130425/POLITICSPOLICY/304250049?source=nletter-top5

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/F/FL_XGR_FLORIDA_ELECTIONS_FLOL-?SITE=FLTAM&SECTION=STATE&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2013-04-24-17-36-24

http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/national/florida-senate-passes-elections-reform-on-party-line-vote/2117226

 

Florida will suffer if House Republicans don’t bend on Medicaid

http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/news/opinion/editorial-florida-will-suffer-if-house-republicans/nXXHN/?icmp=pbp_internallink_textlink_apr2013_pbpstubtomypbp_launch

http://health.wusf.usf.edu/post/fl-medicaid-why-doesnt-house-take-money

http://www.thefloridacurrent.com/article.cfm?id=32584422

http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/the-buzz-florida-politics/weatherford-on-medicaid-i-have-not-had-to-twist-arms/2117184

http://tbo.com/health/medical-news/florida-house-senate-not-budging-on-medicaid-plans-b82482718z1

 

Senate rolls back vehicle fees, nixes insurance industry tax break

http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/florida-senate-rolls-back-vehicle-fees-nixes-insur/nXWpT/?icmp=pbp_internallink_textlink_apr2013_pbpstubtomypbp_launch

 

Senate passes water bill, House passes fertilizer amendment -- and Sierra Club slams both

http://www.thefloridacurrent.com/article.cfm?id=32585503

 

“The right thing to do”? Really, governor?

http://www.floridavoices.com/columns/paula-dockery/right-thing-do-really-governor

 

Just four lawmakers show up to congressional hearing on long-term unemployment

http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2013/04/24/1917531/just-four-lawmakers-show-up-to-congressional-hearing-on-long-term-unemployment/

 

White House says it's open to fix on FAA furloughs

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/white-house-says-its-open-fix-faa-furloughs#overlay-context=search/site/aec0bc36710a49ccb5ac566fc8b27cb9

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/25/us/politics/faa-chief-michael-huerta-comes-under-fire-on-capitol-hill.html

 

Sequestration taxing the IRS

http://blog.ourfuture.org/20130424/sequestration-taxing-the-irs

 

Obama tells Democratic donors he’ll keep reaching out to GOP

http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/24/obama-tells-democratic-donors-hell-keep-reaching-out-to-g-o-p/?smid=tw-thecaucus

 0 user(s) rated this page
Login to leave a comment
No Comments yet