On Thursday, February 25, 2010, Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver and Assembly Republican Leader Alex DeCroce announced bipartisan Assembly legislation to reform public worker pensions and health benefits has been introduced.

They also said additional legislation to target pension and benefit reforms at state authorities and agencies and to close a loophole that allows public employees to collect a full pension while collecting an additional public salary are being finalized and will soon also be introduced.

Oliver and DeCroce sponsored the bills introduced, but additional sponsors will soon be added. The following bills were introduced:

A2461, which would:

  • Limit pension system enrollment to new full-time employees who work at least 35 hours per week for the State or 32 hours for local government and schools;
  • Base pensions for new police and firefighters on the three highest salary years rather than the highest single year;
  • Impose a pensionable salary cap for new employees of the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System and the State Police Retirement System; and
  • Repeal 2003 legislation that allowed a police or firefighter to retire at any age with 25 years of service credit on a special retirement allowance of 70 percent of final compensation.

A2460, which would:

  • Require all public employees to pay at least 1.5 percent of their salary toward health benefits after the expiration of a current contract;
  • Require new state workers to work at least 35 per hours per week to qualify for health benefits; and
  • Require all newly-hired employees to pay at least 1.5 percent of their base pension toward health benefits upon retirement.

A2459, which would:

  • Eliminate the sick leave injury program; and

ACR115, which would:

  • Ask voters during a November election to amend the State Constitution to eventually require the State to pay the full amount of its required pension fund contribution.

This legislation serves as a companion to the legislation that was recently introduced in the State Senate. As such, please continue to check this blog periodically to ascertain updates regarding the same as it has tremendous implications for New Jersey Public Safety Officers.