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May 13, 2012

Dr. Nick J. BrunoA message to ULM faculty and staff from ULM President Nick J. Bruno

Dear Colleagues,

Following is a summary prepared by the UL System staff regarding legislation related to higher education.  The House of Representatives passed HB1, the budget bill, on Saturday, May 12.  Many amendments were added.

The bill will now be considered by the Senate.  It is certain more amendments will be added before we have a final bill.  It continues to be too early to know the full impact on our budget at this time.  I will continue to keep you informed as this process progresses. 

The respective retirement systems will have the most recent information specific to their programs. 

RETIREMENT

SB47 moves employees from a 3-year to a 5-year final average compensation calculation – the bill was amended to phase in the increase one month at a time over a two year period beginning July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2015.  Members entering DROP during this period will be subject to 36 months plus the number of months from July 1, 2013 to their DROP entry date.  Bill continues to exempt hazardous duty plan members and K-12 employees  The bill required 20 votes for final passage and failed (19-16).  Upon motion to reconsider, the bill passed 23-13.  The bill has passed the Senate and will be heard in House Retirement next Thursday 5/17.

SB52 increases employee contributions  – the bill was amended reduce the increase from the proposed 3% to 2% and to phase in the increase over a four year period by 0.5% each year beginning July 1, 2013 through July 1, 2016.  Bill continues to exempt judges, hazardous duty plan members, and K-12 employees.  The bill is still pending final passage on the Senate Floor- maybe considered on Tuesday.

SB749 increases the retirement eligibility age- the bill was amended to provide the following schedule for all employees (both LASERS AND TRSL) who retire with less than 30 years:
        Age 55 at least 15 but fewer than 20 years
        Age 57 at least 10 but fewer than 15 years
        Age 60 at least 5 but fewer than 10 years
        Age 65 if fewer than 5 years
The bill continues to provide exemptions for judges and hazardous duty plan members as well as the following:
        Members born on or before June 30, 1958
        Members with at least twenty years service credit on June 30, 2013
        Members who retire prior to June 30, 2013
The bill is still pending final passage on the Senate Floor- may be considered on Tuesday.

HB61 provides a cash balance plan for all new employees.  The plan would provide an annual credit of 12% to the member’s account (includes member contributions); provides for an interest credit of the actuarial rate of return less 1% but will not be debit for investment losses- the bill was amended to change the effective date from January 2013 to July 1, 2013; to provide for survivor and disability benefits; provides for the transfer between the cash balance and the defined benefit plan; requires the Division of Administration to conduct a feasibility study for enrollment in Social Security and a cost benefit analysis of providing an increased pay scale for employees required to be in the cash balance plan.  The bill has passed the House and will be heard in Senate Retirement Committee on Monday May 14.

BUDGET

As you are aware there was a serious impasse on the budget discussions beginning Thursday.  House rules adopted last year require a 2/3 vote (70 yeas) in order to consider the appropriation bill if it contains one-time money; the vote failed 51-50.  This afternoon, in order to continue discussions of HB1, the House adopted an amendment that provided for reductions of $350 million to the general operating budget to offset the use of $267 million in one-time funds currently budgeted.  At the time of this email, the House continues to debate the bill.

In addition the following bills are scheduled to be heard next week.

MONDAY 5/14
House Ways and Means
HB2 Capital Outlay Bill

TUESDAY 5/15
House Education
HB1078 which will be amended to authorize an Education Sustainability Fee up to $25 per student credit hour for the next four academic years (July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2016)
SB290- adds LTU, UNO and Tulane to the LUMCON executive board

House Floor
HB 395/396 increases the authority of Board of Regents through control of policies and funding formula
HB964- merger of LSU-S and LA Tech

 

 

Sincerely,

Nick J. Bruno, Ph.D.
President