House State Agencies

February 16, 2022

 

Tosh [00:00:00] For those of you that are in attendance, if there’s anyone here that wants to speak for or against this bill, there is a sign up sheet just right outside the door. When I ask if anyone wants to speak for or against it, if you would, just raise your hand. I’ll recognize you from the, from the chair’s position. We’ve got one item on today’s agenda. It’s House Bill 1100. Representative Wardlaw. We’re ready to get started. You’re recognized to present House bill 1100. 

 

Wardlaw [00:00:35] Thank you, Mr. Chair. It’s a long ways down this table. I don’t remember that. This bill is about the governance body. As I told you guys yesterday on the floor, when I presented the resolution, I actually explained this one pretty in-depth. We stood down there last year in the session and we repealed the last board, repealed them for multiple reasons. One of the biggest reasons was inactivity. So they would sit there and when the plan needed money, they wouldn’t act to raise premiums. They wouldn’t act to change the plan. And what they did is they’d come to us in June right before the year end and they’d say, we need $150 million. And we would end up transferring money over and fixing their problems, where if they would acted and they would have took some foresteps, they could have managed the plan with the money they had. So we did away with that board. We, we enacted the Board of Finance. I can’t sit here and commend the Board of Finance any more than to tell you that they did a awesome job in the last year running the plan. They saved money in things that they’ve done that went above and beyond what we thought they could do in that year’s time. So we didn’t want to do away with them in their entirety going forward. They asked to get out of the everyday work and business of it. So what we did is we formed two sub boards. We, we, we formed a public school board and a state employees board. Those two boards will be made up of three people each from the public that have insurance, actuary, or accounting backgrounds. The governor gets to appoint those six people, be three on each board. There will be an active employee on the state employee side, an active employee on the public school side. There will be a retired person on each side. That way they have representation. Those two sub boards will take up all the everyday activities. They’ll meet monthly. We will pay those people $500 dollars apiece monthly. We’ll pay them mileage, as you can see in the bill. When we looked at states around us, most every state around us pays some sort of fee. Louisiana had a structure similar to what we’re trying to set up. So we used their pay schedule. We used their structure. We used their qualifications for those three members. That board will report to the Board of Finance. The Board of Finance will then report to the subcommittee that we set up in another bill at Legislative Council, and Legislative Council will have final approval of those actions. With that, Mr. Chair, I’d be happy to take any questions. 

 

Tosh [00:03:17] Any questions from committee members? Rep. Beck, you’re recognized for a question. 

 

Beck [00:03:26] And this may be in the bill and I missed it. The, the active members from both the public and school and the retired members, how are those selected? 

 

Wardlaw [00:03:36] Good question. I talked about that yesterday on the floor of the House. I didn’t bring it up today. So what we did is on the active employee AEA, the Association of Educators can present three names. The speaker or the pro them, they alternate every three years, so who will select it. And I don’t have a bill in front of me, Rep. Beck, so I don’t know who selects the first one on each, but they both select one of each and they alternate every three years. That way, the Senate doesn’t control the public school board, and the House doesn’t control state employees. We take those three names in consideration, but the speaker and the pro tem do not have to pick from that list of three names. But it’s important to use those associations because they should know their group and they should know who would be the most prudent to serve. We also have requirements for those people that they have to have been on the program for five years. So you’re not just going to pick an employee that hasn’t bought the insurance or taken insurance. We want somebody that’s been on the plan. That way they have experience and they know what what it entails. So those are the two requirements is– one is you have three names from the two associations, state employees and AEA. They could pick outside that list, but those lists that they submit must have been on the plan for five years. The retired benefits had a little different requirements. They must be retired, I think, and I’m going to look at Jake. He probably knows better than I do. I think it’s two years and then they must have been on the plan five years when they were active. I think that’s correct. I think it’s two years and five years. So two years retired, five years when they were active. And no one submitting those names, the speaker and the pro tem also alternate that selection. So we’re appointing two members. The governor appoints three members of each one of those sub boards. 

 

Tosh [00:05:29] How long are those– Rep. Wardlaw, how long are the terms for? 

 

Wardlaw [00:05:34] Three years. 

 

Tosh [00:05:35] Three year term. I missed that. I’ve got a question. Since you filed the bill or you have been working on the bill, have you had anybody reach out to you with any oppositions concerning this from either the state employees or the teachers retirement or public schools. Has there been any, anyone at all that has reached out to you that there’s some concerns they have with this, with this bill? 

 

Wardlaw [00:05:58] No, sir. When we, when we started constructing the bill, we all, we took input from both associations and talked to them. Nicholas can nod his head behind me here. He represents state employees and Tracy’s not present, but I did get a text from her this morning. She is 100 percent in support– she represents AEA, by the way. So they’ve been very supportive. They’ve been very helpful. And I can tell you without those guys’ input, it would have been almost impossible to put a bill together. Because like I told you, we stood in the well– Hickey stood in the Senate well and I stood in the House well, and we promised representation back from the active employees and retired. We had to come up with a way to give that back. But we wanted to ensure that Board of Finance still had some control because they had done such a good job in the last year. So with the help from them and the help from Jake Bleed, we were able to get, get a bill together that we can bring to you guys. I had zero opposition and to my knowledge, there is no opposition. 

 

Tosh [00:06:57] Okay, I appreciate your answer. I wanted to make sure that, that they were all on board with this before we move forward with it. It sounds like you’ve gotten their input. I appreciate you doing that. I think that’s very critical that we do that and that committee needed to know this, and I needed to know that. So any further questions from committee members? Seeing none, is anyone here that would like to speak for or against this bill? Seeing none, Rep. Wardlaw, are you ready to close? 

 

Wardlaw [00:07:29] I’m closed, Mr. Chairman. I’d make a motion do pass. 

 

Tosh [00:07:33] Committee members, we have a motion do pass. Any discussion on the motion? Seeing none, all in favor say aye. All opposed say no. Congratulations, the bill is passed. 

 

Wardlaw [00:07:44] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

 

Tosh [00:07:45] Thank you, committee. Committee members, that’s all the business we have for today. And watch the calendars in case we get another bill sent to State Agencies. This meeting is adjourned.