Thursday, June 28, 2007

Governor receives request to veto retirement bill

The Louisiana State Employees’ Retirement System Board of Trustees Wednesday asked Gov. Kathleen Blanco to veto a bill that would give a group of 450 probation and parole officers’ retirement benefits they didn’t pay to receive according to this article from Thursday’s Legislative Briefs section of The Advocate.

Lawmakers approved the bill over the objections of the board of the Louisiana State Employees' Retirement System, which sent the letter to Blanco asking her to reject the legislation.

To pay for the benefits, people on probation and parole would have to pay a new $65 fee after July 1, under House Bill 845 by Rep. Sydnie Mae Durand, D-St. Martinsville.

The measure would apply to Department of Public Safety and Corrections officers who chose not to upgrade to a more lucrative retirement plan in 2002. Durand's bill would allow them to get into the plan retroactively, with the cost of the increased benefits financed by the fee. Durand said that would create fairness by treating all corrections officers equally.

LASERS officials said the bill was unfair to officers who paid their own money to upgrade to the newer plan, so lawmakers decided to let those employees get reimbursed for the payments.

But Louis Quinn, with the LASERS board, said that only worsened the bill and threatened to add million of dollars in debt to the retirement system because the probation and parole fee wouldn't cover all the costs of the increased benefits.