This week (March 28-31), Kelsey Lundy and I have been meeting with legislative members about SB1609. Many of those members have expressed concerns with the process in which SB1609 has been put together and the provisions in the current version. They have also been interested and receptive to the proposal offered by the public safety groups, which was shared with Governor’s and legislative staff on Friday, March 25.
The main point being made with legislators, particular the Republican Caucus is that SB1609, in its current state, is unacceptable to our groups.
With the budget taking up most of the time during the week, discussion on SB1609 has not been on the forefront, however, once the budget is settled, we can bet that there will be strong attempts to move the bill quickly before “sine die.”
While Kelsey and I are making progress with our meetings, what is imperative is having our members meet face to face with their legislators. Those legislative members need to hear how the proposed changes in SB1609 will directly impact you, as a member of the retirement system. Nothing resonates more than a personal visit from a voting constituent who happens to be a public safety employee/retiree.
For those of you that have a personal relationship or have had a personal visit with your legislator, you are encouraged to again reach out to them. For those of you that do not have that type of relationship, we encourage you to contact our lobbyist, Kelsey, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a personal visit at the capitol or in your district.
Keep up with your emails and phone calls. The legislators are getting the message and it is in part to the correspondence they are getting on this issue. Remember to avoid being confrontational or demeaning – members are not willing to listen to folks who are going to berate them. Stay professional and on point.
As always, stay tuned to the AHPA website where information is updated as often as possible on this issue.
Sincerely, Jimmy Chavez – President