Monday, June 23, 2014

UPDATE: Special session coming with bills on insurance, prisons

Posted By on Mon, Jun 23, 2014 at 12:21 PM

UPDATE: Gov. Mike Beebe said today that legislative consensus apparently has been reached on a temporary fix to avoid catastrophic increases in school employees health insurance. That means he'll soon call a special session  to pass agreed legislation on insurance and increased money for prisons.

UPDATE: Legislators are saying the session will be Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.

The insurance deal calls for tapping school funds for a portion of the money and tossing both part-time employees and spouses of school employees who can get insurance on their own jobs off the insurance plan. The plan will still be more expensive than the state employee insurance plan and be less inclusive. For that reason, it seems to me only a temporary fix. Something has to give someday on a unified public employees insurance plan. Some day.

The legislature also is prepared to divert about $6 million a year from the central services fund to prisons and county jails so that they may hire people necessary to accommodate more prisoners.

As of yet, votes apparently are lacking to consider a bill to limit the Arkansas lottery's planned move into video games. Same for the fight over opening up the state broadband system for colleges to public schools.

PS — House is undergoing repair work. So it may have to meet in Old State House or Big MAC. New surroundings. Same old faces.  And, since it's all cut and dried, if the new location means loss of webcasting, we won't miss much.

PPS — I asked one of the sponsors about enforcement of spousal requirement. He said there will be a statement that says anyone found in violation will be prosecuted.

UPDATE: I've received copies of letters legislators have received. One is a lengthy argument from a spouse of a teacher who works in the insurance business who believes the changes won't lower costs as anticipated and will drive more people out of the school insurance pool. He notes, too, that the "fix" for the plan includes no additional state money. Another is from Fort Smith School Superintendent Benny Gooden, with a number of objections to the plan, including the takeback of money from school districts and the composition of the board that oversees employee benefits — weighted in favor of state employees though they are less numerous than school employees.

Here's Benny Gooden's letter.
Here's the letter from the spouse of a teacher.

Tags: , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Speaking of...

Comments (29)

Showing 1-29 of 29

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-29 of 29

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • After the storm open line

    Flooding remains after a deadly storm that left damage over much of Arkansas. An open line for Sunday evening.
    • Apr 30, 2017
  • LR City Board talks about crime and gang violence

    Police Chief Kenton Buckner talked to the Little Rock City Board this afternoon at a special meeting about violent crime and the role being played by gang activities. The police can do more — and will, he said. But police alone are not the solution for problems besetting the most crime-prone neighborhoods.
    • Apr 30, 2017
  • Opponents of Little Rock school tax say construction possible without new taxes

    Opponents of an extension of 12.4 millions in Little Rock School District property taxes at a cost of $600 million or more say critical construction needs in the district can be made without a bond issue that lines the pockets of bond firms and lawyers.
    • Apr 30, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Democrats name new House minority leader

    Rep. Michael John Gray of Augusta has been elected leader of the House Democratic Caucus, the minority party. He succeeds Rep. Eddie Armstrong of North Little Rock. He's a farmer and small business owner.
    • Sep 25, 2015
  • The two cities of Little Rock: East/west, black/white

    The Little Rock City Board illustrated this week a community divided over public schools, another blow to the Little Rock School District and another illustration of the need for ward elections to the board.
    • Mar 23, 2017
  • From Dallas, creative thinking about the Interstate 30 project

    An urban planner in Dallas says freeways are not always the answer. Incorporating some creativity already being used in Dallas and looking at the Interstate 30 project from a broader perspective, here are ideas that Arkansas highway planners have not considered. But should.
    • Nov 6, 2015

People who saved…

Most Shared

  • Workers stiffed

    How is it going with the great experiment to make the Republican Party the champion of the sons and daughters of toil instead of the oligarchs of wealth and business?
  • O'Reilly's fall

    Whom the gods would destroy, they first make TV stars.

Visit Arkansas

Fishing the Diamond Lakes of Arkansas

Fishing the Diamond Lakes of Arkansas

Arkansas angler and fishing expert Billy Murray shares his extensive knowledge of the Diamond Lakes of Arkansas

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

Slideshows

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation