Public safety employees stop bill that would've ended future retiree health benefits

House Bill 6074, which drew protest from public employees in Michigan and a barrage of calls to State Legislators will not be moved out of the House as part of a package of bills.

Early this morning, the House Local Government Committee reported that the only bill in this package that will be moved is House Bill 6075, which creates reporting requirements between public employers and Michigan Department of Treasury. This bill has no effect on retiree health care. 

MAP Executive Director Fred Timpner wanted to thank MAP members for their support! MAP members participated in the MAPO effort, contacting State Legislators to make this victory possible.

However, Timpner also wanted to alert members that is this a temporary win and MAP members may be called on again soon. Republicans are expected to introduce bills as early as January 2017, after new legislators have been sworn into office, that would negatively impact public employee healthcare and pensions.

In the meantime, Legislators were clearly swayed by the overwhelming involvement of MAPO members.

CLICK HERE TO READ MAPO TESTIMONY

Karoub Associates, the legislative representatives for Michigan Association of Police (MAP) and Michigan Association of Police Organizations (MAPO), is seeking the passage of SB 218, a bill to provide continued, comparable health care coverage to the surviving spouse and dependents of a public safety officer killed in the line of duty. The bill would also extend those benefits to a public safety officer, their spouse and dependents if the public safety officer becomes permanently disabled on the job. To read the memo from Karoub Associates to the legislature, click here.

By Attorney John Goldpaugh

False or inaccurate information cannot be used against a law enforcement officer in subsequent criminal proceedings, according to a recent ruling by the Michigan Supreme Court.

The Court based the 5-2 decision on the Disclosures by Law Enforcement Officers Act (DLEOA) and went on to say: “To hold otherwise would defeat the Legislature’s stated intent to preclude the use of ‘any information.’”

The June 22, 2016 ruling was made in the People of the State of Michigan vs. Nevin Hughes case, involving Detroit Police Officer Nevin Hughes. Hughes was represented by Attorney John Goldpaugh in his appeal. The case stemmed from charges of obstruction of justice, misconduct in office, and assault and battery, against Officer Hughes (and other officers with respect to the obstruction of justice charge) arising out of a 2009 incident.

Officer Hughes and other officers made statements during an internal investigation by the Office of the Chief Investigator. All three officers were given their Garrity rights and subsequently, departmental charges were filed against Officer Hughes.

Once departmental charges had been addressed, Internal Affairs began a criminal investigation and a warrant was obtained against Hughes and the other two officers. The sole basis for the obstruction of justice charge was the alleged false statements given under Garrity to the Office of the Chief Investigator, according to the People. The district court bound Officer Hughes over on the misconduct in office and assault and battery charges during the preliminary examination and dismissed the obstruction of justice charges against him and the other officers.

Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES) has issued a comparison chart on law enforcement population trends spanning the years of 2001 to current. The number of jobs and the number of individuals applying for positions continues to decline from 23,150 positions and 22,488 officers in 2001 to 19,061 jobs and 18,460 officers by January 2016.  Please click here for the chart.

 

MAPO representatives recently joined Gov. Rick Snyder (center) for the formal signing of HB 5097. From left to right are: Matt Kurda, Karoub and Associates, legislative advisor to MAPO, Rep. John Walsh, sponsor of the bill, Police Officers Labor Council Executive Committee Chair Paul Combs, MAPO Secretary/Treasurer and Michigan Association of Police Director Fred Timpner, and Mike Sauger, President Warren POA and MAPO Executive Board member.

By Jennifer Foley, MAP Editor with excerpts from www.michigan.gov

The wait has been long, but Gov. Rick Snyder approved a measure which removes Act 312 eligible public safety employees from earlier legislation restricting their collective bargaining rights. Snyder passed Public Act 322 of 2014, introduced by Rep. John Walsh (R-Livonia); honoring his earlier statements that he would support this change to Public Act (P.A.) 54 of 2011.

"Police officers and firefighters risk their lives daily to protect citizens across our state," Snyder said. "This legislation helps ensure these first responders continue to receive full compensation regardless of the status of their contract."

Under P.A. 54, once a contract expired public employees' wages were frozen, there were no step increases and no longevity - pay increases based on years of service. The law also prevented public employees from receiving retroactive wage or benefit increases greater than those in effect on the expiration date of the previous contract. P.A. 54 took one more swing at public employees by allowing employers to pass on up to 100 percent of health care cost increases once a contract expired.

HB 5097, now P.A. 322, no longer prohibits wage or benefit increases, including step increases, authorized under the expired contract for Act 312 eligible public employees. The law also does not prohibit retroactive application of a wage or benefit increase if the increase is awarded by an arbitration panel to a negotiated contract.

"It allows us to be able to negotiate retroactivity," said MAP Director Fred Timpner.

Furthermore, when a collective bargaining agreement expires, Act 312 eligible employee costs for health care, dental, vision, prescription or other insurance benefits shall not exceed the employee's share under the Publicly Funded Health Insurance Contribution Act. This Act requires the employer to pay no more than 80 percent and the employee to pay 20 percent or more of health care costs or choose a Hard Cap. The Hard Cap for the employer is:
• $5,500 times the number of employees with single coverage, plus
• $11,000 times the number of employees with two person coverage, plus
• $15,000 times the number of employees with family coverage.

The amount necessary to purchase health insurance for employees that exceeds this "cap" must be paid by employees.

P.A. 322, which is supported by Michigan Association of Police Organizations (MAPO) and Karoub Associates, legislative consultants for MAP, takes affect immediately.