Last Wednesday and Thursday (July 18 and 19, 2012), some local leaders from Northville, East Grand Rapids and Rochester testified with the League supporting bills which deal with providing locals pension flexibility.
The bills, HBs 5725 and 5726, were up before the House Appropriations committee. HB 5726 would allow bonding when communities switch from defined benefit to defined contribution, so communities could help smooth transition costs. HB 5725 would amend the MERS statute to prohibit certain barriers that face communities which want to negotiate pension changes or more easily shop different provider by allowing a community to exit the plan with a majority vote of the governing body (rather than a vote of the people). Both bills were up for testimony only for two days of hearings. These bills are virtually identical to two bills which saw similar action in the Senate in June, SBs 1129 and 1171.
We have many supporters in the legislature on this issue and are hopeful these bills will pass committee on the one session day they return in August. There is also a sample resolution for communities to pass supporting the bills, which is attached.
Summer Minnick is Director of State Affairs for the League. She can be reached at 517-908-0301 or firstname.lastname@example.org.