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Legislative Update: Senate and House vote on EUTF and other bills

May 03, 2012

As reported in an earlier eBulletin, the Legislature appropriated funds to cover additional EUTF premium contributions by the State as we reach agreement on implementing the “favored nation” provisions in our contracts. Unfortunately, the Abercrombie administration failed to appropriate funds for both the Judiciary and the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation in its Governor’s Messages and accompanying Conference Drafts, despite their statutory obligation to do so per Chapter 89, Hawaii Revised Statutes. Our position on this failure is clear - with a valid agreement in place, the settlement will be enforced, and the administration can seek the necessary funding in the 2013 Legislative Session to cover the additional costs that were not budgeted for this fiscal year.

In addition to the EUTF cost items, S.B. 2214 passed Final Reading in both Chambers today, allowing public sector unions to take disputes over the EUTF contribution amounts to impasse, and ultimately allowing for arbitration or strike, depending on the bargaining unit, when a settlement agreement cannot be reached.

One significant disappointment this Session was the failure to pass legislation that would create a new bargaining unit(s) for law enforcement officers and ocean & water safety officers. We will be working with both employee groups in the coming months in preparation for the 2013 Session.

Finally, the Legislature acted to eliminate overtime as a part of compensation when calculating retirement benefits for employees who are hired after July 1, 2012. Current incumbent employees remain unaffected by the passage of this legislation. It is unfortunate that the Legislature chooses to continue to reduce benefits for prospective employees, making government service less attractive for future generations (namely, our children).

A comprehensive list of these and other bills are available on the 2012 Legislative page on the HGEA website.

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