NEWS: We’ve turned in our report, thank you all so much for your comments and suggestions; this shows a lot of interest in the pay plan, which is good since it’s a big undertaking. A lot will be done in waves to correct all inequities. The bill will run next Tuesday, and we will keep you updated on progress as we know more. Thanks again, and don’t forget – Monday is a holiday so we will be closed. Have a wonderful weekend!
Breaking News! SB125 by Senator Missy Irvin and Representative DeAnn Vaught completed its last hurdle yesterday in the House by a vote of 93-0. The bill will now head to the Governor’s office to sign into law. An emergency clause was added to the bill making it effective immediately.
A BIG thank you to Senator Irvin and Representative Vaught for crafting this legislation!
In case some didn’t see our comments in an earlier post, here’s where we’re at regarding SB289:
3rd update: We met with OPM and they said the reason the career and merit sections were struck out was to create a hybrid plan that could produce annual increases to reward veteran employees. They said they plan to work on this all this Spring, so again, a lot could change.
Up next, we’re meeting with Joint Budget members.
2nd update (a reply): We asked about the strike out. The strike was due to the language stated it had to be in lump sum and this gives flexibility to award in either a lump sum and/or added to your base.
1st update: We are meeting with co-chairs of joint budget, the Governor’s office, OPM, and joint budget personnel regarding this. Please remember this bill just dropped and a lot could change. We are spending today learning all we can, and finding out more info, and have read all of your comments. Please send any further Q’s you have to our Communications Director, Shauna Carpenter at: firstname.lastname@example.org and she’ll pass them along to John Bridges, so he can present them to key personnel in the meetings. As always, we want to get rid of salary compression and we want annual salary increases for state employees. We will keep you posted as we learn more. Thank you all so much for your concern, and your service.
Click here to read the bill that concerns the pay plan (SB289): http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/assem…/…/2017R/Bills/SB289.pdf
Fair warning, it’s 98 pages long. Regarding the strikethroughs, OPM struck certain things out so there’s more flexibility going forward in the future re: merit, career, promotion, etc., which means more agency discretion. We’re told this will run through joint budget this Thursday, then will be referred to joint budget personnel next Wednesday – which is great, because we are holding a legislative reception Monday night and we’ll be sure to tell legislatures exactly how important this is to state employees.
There are still a lot of stages to go, and a lot of work to do, but know that OPM, the Governor’s Office and ASEA are all working together on this.
As always, we update our Facebook page immediately upon hearing any news on this.
We’re concerned about the things that concern Arkansas state employees, so we’ll do this weekly wrap up every Friday during the session, with updates on the bills we’re following.
You may have seen this article or others online, and we want to let you all know that we’ve spoken to the Governor’s office just yesterday, and they said they are 100% committed to revising the pay plan, and that they too agree that retention has been a major issue that needs to be resolved.
As soon as we hear more, we will let you know. In the meantime, here are the bills we’re following and what we know so far:
SB125 (Maternity leave) – Lead sponsor: Sen. Irvin. Title: To amend provisions of the uniform attendance and leave policy act.
Status: Senate – Reported correctly engrossed. Passed out of committee this week, next week it goes to the Senate for a full vote, then to the House for a full vote. Click here to see the full bill.
HB1046 (Maternity Leave) – Lead sponsor: Rep. Tucker. Title: To permit paid maternity leave for state employees.
Status: House – Read the first time, rules suspended, read the second time and referred to the Committee on State Agencies and Governmental Affairs – House. (On hold). Click here to see the full bill.
SB251 (Policy) – Lead sponsor: Sen. B. King. Title: To remove remediation as a function of institutions of higher education; to transfer higher education remediation funding to other state entities; to declare an emergency.
Status: Senate – Read first time, rules suspended, read second time, referred to Senate Committee on Education. Click here to see the full bill.
HB1258 (Retirement) – Lead sponsor: Rep. Gillam. Title: To amend the law concerning membership and vacancies on the board of trustees of the Arkansas Public Employees’ Retirement System; and to declare and emergency.
Status: Senate – Read the first time, rules suspended, read the second time and referred to the Committee on Senate Committee on Public Retirement and Social Security Programs. Click here to see the full bill.
HB1306 (Insurance) – Lead sponsor: Rep. Sorvillo. Title: An act to amend the law concerning the partial state contribution of employees’ premiums; to declare an emergency; and for other purposes.
Status: House – Returned by the Committee Do Pass. Click here to see the full bill.
SB202 (Retirement) – Lead sponsor: Sen. Sample. Title: To amend the law concerning a member’s cessation of participation in the Arkansas Public Employees’ Retirement System deferred retirement option plan.
Status: Senate – Read first time, rules suspended, read second time, referred to Joint Committee on Retirement and Social Security Programs. Click here to see the full bill.
HB1187 (Retirement) – Lead sponsor: Rep. Bragg. Title: To create an exception for certain essential seasonal staff who are participants in the Arkansas Public Employees’ Retirement System deferred retirement option plan.
Status: House – Reported correctly engrossed. Click here to see the full bill.
HB1306 Sorvillo will be presented today in the House Committee on Insurance and Commerce. It proposes increasing the maximum allowed for employee insurance contributions made by the state.
Late yesterday, Senator Bryan King filed SB251 to remove remediation as a function of institutions of higher education and transfer that funding to other state entities. A quick look at the bill shows that the monies would go to:
- Bonuses for law enforcement officers of the State Police, Community Corrections and the Secretary of State’s office for completing professional training.
- Yearly 1% COLA’s for all state employees as approved by the Governor.
- ASHTD snow removal equipment.
In talking with the Senator King, he stated that there was already a bill that passed out of the House of Representatives that would end remediation funding (HB1209Lowery). “If they are going to take away that funding, let’s put it to good use,” he said. Remediation funds are approximately $13 million a year. We are appreciative of his efforts, and will continue to work with him as we continue our research.