Flanked by community leaders, politicians and organizations across the political spectrum, Governor Dannel Malloy signed legislation to reform Connecticut’s criminal justice system on Wednesday at Faith Congregational Church in Hartford.
One of the major selling points of the union concessions agreement negotiated between Gov. Dannel Malloy and state union leaders is a new Tier IV hybrid retirement plan, which combines a 401(k) style retirement account with a pension. Proponents claim that this move will save the state money and help stabilize the state employee retirement system, but questions remain as to how the retirement payout would be calculated between the two different plans.
In a cautiously worded opinion issued Thursday, Attorney General George Jepsen said the state legislature does have the ability to change existing labor contracts but would need “substantial justification.”
The agreement negotiated between Gov. Dannel Malloy and government union leaders contains a provision that would provide healthcare for retired state employees through Medicare Advantage. But the inclusion of the Medicare Advantage switch in the deal with government unions may hamper future lawmakers’ ability to make administrative changes to the way Connecticut handles retiree healthcare.
Union members will receive $2,000 lump sum payments, which will count toward their pensions, next July as part of the concessions deal worked out between Gov. Dannel Malloy and union leaders. SEBAC, the bargaining coalition that negotiates benefits for state government unions, represents approximately 40,000 members, meaning the state of Connecticut could have to make a payout as high as $80 million, although the lump sums will be pro-rated for part-time employees.
Tucked inside the concessions package negotiated between union leadership and Gov. Dannel Malloy is a provision which would implement a $250 copay for “unnecessary” emergency room visits. The provision would not affect retirees and was included in the section labelled “Design Changes to Save Money and Improve Health.”