On Thursday, June 4, 2009 both the Maine House and Senate Enacted LD 1292 , An Act to Provide More Transparency and Protection for Public Employees in the Laws Governing the Maine Public Employees Retirement System . The bill has now been sent to the Governor for his signature to become law and he is expected to sign the legislation.
Senate President Elizabeth Mitchell, the sponsor of the bill, along with her key staff member Ted Potter, worked hard to craft a bill that addressed a number of issues surrounding disability claims that members of the retirement system had run up against in recent years.
The PFFM first contacted Rep. John Tuttle, House Chairman of the Labor Committee; over a year ago regarding the treatment PFFM members and their families were receiving over disability claims brought before the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS). It was soon learned we were not alone; members of the Maine Education Association and Maine State Public Employees Association also were facing similar roadblocks.
Working with Rep. Tuttle and then Speaker of the House Glen Cummings, language to address a number of major changes in how a retirement system member is treated when applying for a disability claim was written. Senate President Mitchell agreed to sponsor LD 1292 in the 124 th Legislature.
While the bill was in the Labor Committee the retirement system administration had some concerns about certain sections of the bill. The parties involved worked to find the middle ground and changes were made that were acceptable to all sides. At the final Work Session Senate President Mitchell and the new Executive Director of PERS, Sandy Matheson, both acknowledged that any shortcomings that are found in the bill would be addressed in the 2010 Legislative session.
With today’s passage of LD 1292, two of the three legislative bills initiated by the PFFM have been successful. LD 550, the smoke and carbon monoxide detector bill was Enacted as an Emergency Measure just over a week ago.
It is a testimony to the hard work and dedication that our members have shown by coming to Augusta and contacting their representatives that has allowed this to come about. We are not done yet. LD 621, the rebuttable presumption cancer bill will be facing it’s final hurtles next week. We look forward to seeing many of you in Augusta as we make the final push.