Legislature(1993 - 1994)
03/28/1994 09:00 AM Senate FIN
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SB 289: An Act making appropriations to satisfy the agreed-upon monetary terms of certain collective bargaining agreements for certain public employees; and providing for an effective date. Commissioner Nancy Usera, Department of Administra-tion, spoke in support of the bill. Discussion was had by Senators Rieger, Kelly, Kerttula, and Sharp regarding health insurance and cost of living issues. Commissioner Usera was in support of SB 289 being HELD in committee until 4 other contracts had been settled for incorporation into this bill. SB 289 was HELD in committee. SENATE BILL NO. 289: An Act making appropriations to satisfy the agreed-upon monetary terms of certain collective bargaining agreements for certain public employees; and providing for an effective date. Co-chair Pearce announced that SB 289 was before the committee. She asked Commissioner Usera to return to the table. At this time, Co-chair Pearce said she intended to hold the bill and roll the dollars into the budget unless Co-chair Frank wished otherwise. Commissioner Usera said she was in support of holding SB 289 because there were four other contracts that were outstanding. The terms of those agreements could be added to this bill and it could serve as a complete package. She went on to say that an amendment covered the confidential employees unit and represented a two year agreement. She said it contained consistencies in regard to health insurance and overtime standards. She said that a 2.5 percent cost of living increase was allowed effective July 1995 and provided for a three year hiatus for any cost of living increase. The $9,000 fiscal note provided for incidental costs associated with the contract. In answer to Senator Kelly, Ms. Usera said it differed between bargaining units but the cost to the state for health insurance was about $423.50 a month per employee. In answer to Senator Rieger, Ms. Usera said the contract provided for the state health insurance plan but the bargaining units would have the option to choose another plan within the same price range. She was pleased to note that employees having to pay a small 5 percent co-pay amount had had a significant effect on cost containment. In answer to Senator Sharp, regarding the fact there was no cap on insurance, Ms. Usera said the budget process would keep that in check. Another conclusion with the agreement was that there was going to be many changes in regard to health insurance, and the administration needed some flexibility. A state employee survey shocked the administration with a strong choice towards an insurance package. Senator Sharp voiced his opinion that health insurance needed a cap. Ms. Usera said there was a cap in the sense that if the union decided to go to a trust, there was a limit set but when management was designing the health plan, there was not. Senator Rieger made a statement regarding the SBS account. He felt it was inevitable that eventually a basic plan would be offered to employees with the ability to add supplementals at the employee's expense. Ms. Usera agreed. In answer to Senator Kerttula, Ms. Usera said that in the last round of bargaining, employees were willing to forego wage increases or large cost of living increases in order to maintain an adequate health package. In answer to Senator Kelly, Ms. Usera spoke to the impasse of one negotiation. She said that after seventeen months of bargaining, mediation would be attempted on April 11. Co-chair Pearce announced that SB 289 would be HELD in committee.