WRS News Online

Legislative Update

by Tarna Hunter, ETF Legislative Liaison

In February, Gov. Walker released the 2015-2017 executive budget, a proposal of how the state should manage expenses for the next two years. The budget bills, called 2015 Assembly Bill 21 and 2015 Senate Bill 21, are currently before the Joint Committee on Finance. The budget is to be effective July 1, 2015.

The JCF has spent the last few months reviewing the budget and will continue to review and make changes over the next few weeks. After JCF makes its recommended changes, the bill goes to the assembly and the senate for further review and, ultimately, back to the governor for signature. The governor can also veto the bill in whole or in part.

As proposed, the budget currently contains a small number of provisions that affect the benefit programs administered by the Department of Employee Trust Funds. Some of these provisions include:

  • Providing a $2,000 annual incentive for employees who opt out of the State of Wisconsin Group Health Insurance Program.
  • Currently, the Department of Children and Families may assign child support obligations to Wisconsin Retirement System benefits. The budget includes a provision extending that authority to ETF’s Income Continuation Insurance program and the Duty Disability program.
  • Increasing the terms of appointed members of the Group Insurance Board from two years to four years. The bill also staggers the terms to ensure continuity in the experience of the board.

In addition to the above provisions, the Budget in Brief directs the GIB to work with ETF’s recently-contracted benefits consultant to make appropriate changes in order to realize $25 million GPR ($54 million all funds) in efficiencies and savings over the biennium. For more detail, see Proposed Health Insurance Program Changes.

As with any legislative proposal, provisions are subject to change. We will continue to monitor developments and provide updates as they occur. Watch ETF’s website for the latest information.

If you are interested in monitoring legislative developments more closely, you may want to subscribe to the legislature’s e-mail notification service.

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