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Mackinac Center for Public Policy
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2009 House Bill 4194: End post-retirement health coverage for new legislators
  1. Introduced by Rep. Dian Slavens (D) on February 6, 2009, to end the post-retirement health care insurance coverage provided to legislators, but only for those who were elected after 2006. (That is, only for the "freshman" and all future legislators.) Under current law, former legislators who have been in office for six years get full health coverage beginning at age 55.
    • Referred to the House Government Operations Committee on February 6, 2009.
    • Substitute offered by Rep. Marty Knollenberg (R) on February 2, 2010, to replace the previous version of the bill with one that only ends the post-retirement health care insurance coverage for future legislators, not for any current ones. The substitute passed by voice vote in the House on February 2, 2010.
  2. Passed 103 to 1 in the House on February 2, 2010, to end the post-retirement health care insurance coverage provided to future legislators (those first elected after Nov. 1, 2010), but not for any current legislators. Under current law, former legislators who have been in office for six years get full health coverage beginning at age 55.
    Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

  3. Received in the Senate on February 3, 2010.
    • Referred to the Senate Reforms, Restructuring and Reinventing Committee on February 3, 2010.
      • Reported in the Senate on February 24, 2010.
    • Amendment offered in the Senate on February 24, 2010, to clarify that the bill only applies to future legislators (ones first elected on or after Nov. 1, 2010), and to tie-bar it to Senate Bill 132, meaning this bill cannot become law unless that one does also. SB 132 would also end these benefits to future Supreme Court and Appeals Court judges, Governors, Lieutenant Governors, Secretaries of State, Attorney Generals, Auditor Generals, and State Court Administrators (ones first elected or appointed after Nov. 1, 2010). The amendment passed by voice vote in the Senate on February 24, 2010.
    • Amendment offered by Sen. Michael Switalski (D) on February 24, 2010, to tie-bar the bill to Senate Bill 133, meaning this bill cannot become law unless that one does also. SB 133 would establish a graduated post-retirement health insurance benefit for legislators elected starting in 2008, in which the size of the benefit depends on how many years they were on the government payroll. The amendment failed 16 to 22 in the Senate on February 24, 2010.
      Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

  4. Passed 28 to 10 in the Senate on February 24, 2010, to end the post-retirement health care insurance coverage provided to future legislators (those first elected after Nov. 1, 2010), but not for any current legislators. Under current law, former legislators who have been in office for five years get full health coverage beginning at age 55. The bill is tie-barred to Senate Bill 132 (both must pass for either to go into law), which would also end post-retirement health benefits for future Supreme Court and Appeals Court judges, Governors, Lieutenant Governors, Secretaries of State, Attorney Generals, Auditor Generals, and State Court Administrators.
    Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

  5. Received in the House on February 24, 2010.

Comments

Re: 2009 House Bill 4194 (End post-retirement health coverage for new legislators )  by Admin003 on February 25, 2010 

 


Senator Gleason’s statement is as follows:


It appears that I am the only Senator who can come back who voted against this. I am glad I did. I was kind of raised that is if you want people who come after you to think as much of you as you have treated them, my statement is pretty simply actually. If not mine, then nobody.



Re: 2009 House Bill 4194 (End post-retirement health coverage for new legislators )  by Admin003 on February 25, 2010 

 


Senator Whitmer’s statement is as follows:


I listened with great interest to my predecessor who just spoke, and I have a great deal of respect for him. I agree with some of the points which he made. I would differ in that I think term limits have had a worse impact on this institution than any action we are taking today. I would also say that had I originally proposed this legislation, I think it should apply to every single one of us because that is the right thing to do.


I’ve been accused that maybe I was pandering for an attorney general spot. Well, I think I proved you wrong on that one. I’ve also heard a lot of people say, “Well, the Legislature, they are a bunch of fat cats who have health care through other jobs.” I don’t. I don’t have a spouse who has health care either. This is a real sacrifice, but I think it is the right thing to do.


Now I have news for you if you think you are sidestepping any possibility this may happen to you in the future. I think you are wrong. I don’t know if you’ve listened to the Republicans and the Democrats who are seeking gubernatorial office, and I’m sure on the campaign trail, we are going to hear a lot about this. So I don’t think this is the end of the issue. I’m not making any predictions or threats. I’m just saying I think you are sticking your head in the sand if you think that this is your get-out-of-town.


There is no courage in cutting someone else. Real leadership is about leading by example, sharing in sacrifice. To my colleague from the 7th District, I don’t believe that you get the best legislators if the Legislature treats themselves better than everyone else. I believe you get a group who is out of touch; a group who thinks it is OK to shut down government, close schools, hurt kids, and get cops off of our streets.


I will never forget sitting here on the second shutdown in three years and seeing no urgency on the faces of my colleagues—out of touch. So I don’t see any candidates for profiles in courage. I see a Legislature that is going to take action to impact a totally different group of people, and that saddens me. So I think that perhaps my colleague from the 7th District and I see similarly but for very different reasons.


This action today is not good enough, in my opinion.



Re: 2009 House Bill 4194 (End post-retirement health coverage for new legislators )  by Admin003 on February 25, 2010 

 


Senator Switalski’s second statement is as follows:


I started out by talking about how this bill goes too far. I note that this bill will affect no one in this chamber but everyone who first enters the Capitol in the future. This is hardly courageous, nor is it fair.


I am disappointed in the defeat of the tie-bar to Senator Kuipers’ eminently reasonable Senate Bill No. 133. Perhaps that was unacceptable because such sensible reform just doesn’t go far enough. If that is your position, perhaps you will wish to co‑sponsor the Senate concurrent resolution I have today requested, which will end the state constitutional ban on capital punishment, but limit its application to legislators only. Although I consider it a modest proposal, you may be reluctant to do something as permanent and drastic as amending the Constitution.


Allow me to reassure you. I brought it up last week in my town hall, and though some listeners were circumspect, several attendees offered to sign it immediately. Furthermore, capital punishment for legislators is the ultimate term limit, and it has the additional benefit of permanently eliminating health care costs for all retired legislators. I am a reasonable man, so understand that I am open to grandfathering in current members if that is what it takes to get a two-thirds vote.



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