The Florida Retirement System (FRS) was the hot topic this week as it came under attack yet again by House Republican leaders. In what seems to be an ugly tradition, Republicans are continuing to fight to weaken the FRS. Florida currently has a very healthy retirement system, funded at 86.6 percent, which is well above what is considered to be a healthy pension system. It could be even higher, if legislators had properly funded it in the past decade.
The House Appropriations Committee heard the FRS bill (House Bill 7107) by Rep. Caldwell (R-Lehigh Acres) on Tuesday. Public employees are offered two retirement plans when they begin their work – the traditional pension system and a 401K-style investment plan. In the current system, employees are automatically placed into the traditional pension plan if they do not make a selection between the two plans. However under HB 7107, employees would be automatically placed into the riskier investment plan, which yields a lesser value overall to public employees and cripples the financial stability of the plan for everyone in the FRS. Public employees across the state are part of this plan, including teachers and education staff professionals. This bill passed out of committee, but FEA and its affiliates will continue the fight for the interests of all public employees.
Other bills of interest were heard in the House and Senate this week, including several charter school bills and Gabby's Law for School Bus Stop Safety.
Click here to listen to FEA Secretary-Treasurer Luke Flynt as he discusses issues important to FEA, while Joanne McCall and Fedrick Ingram were on FEA assignments!
Republican leaders are continuing to pass legislation despite opposition. It is up to you to make your voice heard. There is still plenty of time in the legislative session to accomplish this. Contact your local legislator. You can easily find their contact information in the FEA Action Center under the Take Action tab. Simply scroll down and click on “Find Your Lawmaker”. The contact information includes addresses, phone numbers, emails, websites and even social media accounts. Make sure you use as many of these as you can, and spread the word!
Check back with us next week to hear more about what's happening in the halls of the Capitol.
Joanne M. McCall, President
Florida Education Association
NEA, AFT, AFL-CIO
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