June 2017 Legislative Update

Greetings WS&DSA members,

For the June legislative update, you will find a tracking report on legislative issues prepared by our Lobbyists, The Hamilton Consulting Group.  http://www.hamilton-consulting.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/BSSA-WSDS-6-23.pdf

WS&DSA and BSSA continue to have monthly conference call meetings to discuss legislative issues we are monitoring. The budget is the hot issue right now and that is what is the focus of most state government. As of Friday June 30, a new two-year budget isn’t likely to be passed by tonight so the legislature will continue to work on this until they have a workable agreement.

A few of the “hot” topics we are monitoring is Asset Forfeiture, Protective Status, WRS changes, Survivor’s Benefits, along with a host of others.

Protective Status Bill; “the opt in/out during a major life event,” is an issue as ETF has basically stated this would be an administrative nightmare for them to administer. It was a consensus of the joint committee to request this provision be taken out of the bill and when a jailer is newly hired, they would have the one time option to be in protective status or in general employment. Hopefully this will push this bill further down the road where it can start to be circulated and taken up by the legislature.

Asset Forfeiture: After WS&DSA and BSSA testified in front of the Senate Committee on Labor and Regulatory Reform, the authors have proposed some additional amendments to this bill. We are still evaluating these amendments and as of now, both groups are opposed to this bill however, if the amendments are favorable to the law enforcement community, we could change our position to neutral. While we do not think there is anything wrong with the way state law is written now, if the bill is passed, we are doing our best to make sure the effects on law enforcement are minimal.

WRS Changes: This bill would raise the early retirement age for protective service employees from 50 to 52 and general employee from 55 to 60. It would also change the calculation for the final average earnings from the highest 3 years to the highest 5 years. The good news to this is that it would only apply to employees hired after the passage of the bill. So current employees would not be affected by this bill; only new hires. We will continue to monitor the status of this bill.

Survivor’s Benefits: There hasn’t been much movement on this bill so we will continue to monitor and hopefully there will be movement on this over the summer.

Parole Revocation Bill: This bill would require the Dept. of Corrections to recommend revoking a person’s extended supervision, parole, or probation if the person is charged with a crime. This bill would create a hardship on the sheriff’s office as over 5,500 inmates statewide, would have to be kept in jail pending their hearings and it would put a burden on the DOC as the timeline to have hearings is very short. We continue to monitor this bill as it would have a huge effect on county jails.

There are numerous other bills both committees from WS&DSA and BSSA are monitoring, as I just mentioned a couple here. If you happen to have any questions on any of these bills or others found in the tracking report, don’t hesitate to contact myself or one of the committee members and we can hopefully answer your questions. If not, we can usually find the answer.

I hope everybody has a safe and happy July 4th weekend and I will post more information on this page when it becomes available.

Stay safe all.

Jeff Klatt
Chair, WS&DSA Legislative Committee