Legislative Bulletin, January 20, 2010
Protective Status Bill Moving Forward
The Assembly Committee on Courts and Corrections held a hearing on January 7 on Assembly Bill 634. The bill changes state law to make protective service status a mandatory subject of bargaining under both the State Labor and the Municipal Employee Relations Acts for all persons working in a secure institution. Protective service status means that due to the physical requirements of their work, and its relationship to the safety of themselves and their co-workers, some public employees are eligible to retire at an earlier age and after a shorter career than they would be without this status.
Legislators need to hear from AFSCME members in their districts about the importance of passing AB 634 and the integrity of this issue being a part of the collective bargaining process. Please contract your state legislators today and ask them to support AB 634, and then come to Lobby Day in Madison on March 3, 2010 to reinforce the issue in person. We need your support to get this bill passed out of committee and on to a vote before the full Assembly.
Contracting Reform Bill Introduced, Receives Hearing
Senate Bill 447, authored by Senator Julie Lassa (D – Stevens Point), makes numerous changes to the state contracting out process. Among the changes are higher thresholds for state agencies to contract out public services, additional items that must be considered as costs of contracting out to make a more apples-to-apples comparison between privateers and state employees, standardized performance measures for contracts, penalties for false claims made by contractors and increased penalties for contractors that commit fraud against the state. SB 447 was heard by the Senate Committee on Ethics and Government Operations on January 20th.
Texting While Driving Ban Moves Forward
Assembly Bill 496, which would impose penalties for drivers caught texting while driving, passed the State Assembly 86 – 7 this week. Similar legislation, SB 103, passed the Senate last fall. The bills are not identical, and some of the minor differences will need to be worked out between the houses before they can be sent to the Governor for his signature. However, AFSCME is optimistic that this common sense safety measure will become law in the coming months.
For more information, contact the AFSCME lobbyists at 608-836-6666.