Author Archives for Utah Public Employees

The DOC Career Ladder Funding Request Moves Forward to Executive Approprioations Committee

On Tuesday February 14, 2017 the Executive Offices and Criminal Justice Appropriations Subcommittee met to prioritize their funding requests. The committee voted that their number 1 budget priority was funding the ongoing $5,854,200 to establish a career ladder for the Certified Officers at the Department of Corrections.

The Executive Offices and Criminal Justice Appropriations Subcommittee’s priorities will be presented to the Executive Appropriations Committee Thursday February 16th starting at 4:10pm for further consideration.

UPEA has continued to meet with legislators and other stakeholders to advocate the association’s full support of the career ladder. 

Please call Christy Cushing, UPEA’s Field Services Manager (801) 264-8732 ext. 218 or email christy@upea.net if you have any specific questions or comments.

DABC Changes to Help Increase Employee Compensation

Sen. Karen Mayne, D-West Valley City, is sponsoring SB 155 – Alcohol Beverage Control Budget Amendments. This bill modifies provisions related to the budget of the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (DABC) as well as addresses the department’s base budget to provide use of specific funds for specified purposes.

The Department may retain each fiscal year from the Liquor Control Fund, $1,000,000 that the department may use for: capital equipment purchases, performance awards for department employees, and information technology enhancements.

Todd Losser, Executive Director of UPEA, testified in favor of the bill as it provides additional avenues for employees of the DABC.

This bill is currently on the Senate Floor for 2nd Reading/Consent Calendar and UPEA will continue to monitor any changes and update our members.

SB 127, State Board of Education Amendments

Sen. Ann Millner, R- Ogden, is sponsoring a bill that would allow the Utah State Board of Education to vote to designate jobs, within this agency, as at-will positions.  The bill was presented to the Senate Education Standing Committee on Thursday, February 2, 2017.  Todd Losser, Executive Director of UPEA, spoke in opposition to the bill and testified that “UPEA has reviewed Senate Bill 127 and opposes any legislation that will modify, reduce, or end merit protections.”  The bill will be heard on the Senate floor next week. UPEA is in the process of attempting to amend the bill to exempt non-management employees. UPEA will keep its members updated as the bill moves forward.

HCR 13 – Concurrent Resolution for Public Employees’ Benefit and Insurance Program

Utah law requires the Public Employees Health Plan (PEHP) to provide equitable health insurance benefit plan options for all state employees.  In November, PEHP Director Chet Loftis announced the current benefit plan design of the state’s STAR plan, or the high deductible health plan, is a 10% richer health insurance benefit than the traditional plan.  Currently, 73% of state employees participate in the traditional plan, 26% participate in the STAR plan, and 1 % of employees participates in the Utah Basic Plus plan.

Changes to the STAR plan benefit design, in order to make it actuarially equivalent to the traditional health insurance plan, requires the passage of a joint resolution by the House and Senate.  HCR 13 – Concurrent Resolution for Public Employees’ Benefit and Insurance Program, sponsored by Representative Jim Dunnigan (R), equalizes the STAR plan by implementing the following benefit plan changes:

  1. Increase the deductible
  2. Increase the out-of-pocket maximums
  3. Decrease the HSA Contribution
  4. Establish an employee premium

During the House Retirement and Independent Entities Standing Committee on February 1, Representative Dunnigan explained that, “the employees that have the traditional plan are, in effect, subsidizing those that have the high deductible plan.”  The STAR benefit plan has not changed since 2009.

STAR Benefit Current Plan Design Modified Plan Design
Deductible Single: $1,500

Double/Family: $3,000

Single: $1,750

Double/Family: $3,500

Out-of-Pocket Maximum Single: $2,500

Double: $5,000

Family: $7,500

Single: $3,000

Double: $6,000

Family: $9,000

HSA Contribution Single: $791

Double/Family: $1,583

Single: $500

Double/Family: $1,000

Employee Premium Single: $0

Double: $0

Family: $0

Single: $100

Double: $201

Family: $437

 

In addition, HCR13 will return about $3.8 million in unused funds from the dental pool to the general fund.  These funds are currently in a risk pool where there is minimal demand for the money.  However, the remaining pool will reserve approximately 60 days of premium as a “rainy-day fund.”

Since the inception of the STAR plan in 2006, UPEA continues to support plan options for employees regarding their health insurance, only if the plans are equitable. There have been attempts in the past to force employees into other plans. UPEA will continue to support equalized options for all state employees. HRC13 makes each plan equitable, regardless of the plan the employee chooses.

HRC13 will be sent to the Senate Retirement and Independent Entities Committee in the coming weeks and UPEA will keep you informed on the status of this bill.

UPEA Committeed to Support the Establishment of a DOC Career Ladder

The Utah Public Employees’ Association (UPEA) supports the Governor’s proposal to create a career ladder for Correctional Officers in the Department of Corrections. The budget request of $5,854,200 dollars put forth by the Governor’s office to address compensation for certified officer’s within the Department of Corrections.  

 The proposed career ladder is estimated to impact over 1,300 DOC employees the first year it’s implemented.

 UPEA staff will be meeting with legislators throughout the legislative session to advocate the creation of the career ladder.  

Please call UPEA Field Services Manager Christy Cushing at 801-264-8732 ext. 218 or email christy@upea.net if you have any specific questions.

Compensation Update

The Utah Public Employees’ Association is advocating that the legislature fund a pay increase for state employees. The legislature will receive updated revenue numbers in mid-February. The revenue numbers determine the amount the state has for compensation and benefit funding.    The Executive Appropriations Committee is currently reviewing appropriations for the FY2016 budget.

If you choose to email or call, please give your legislator your name and address to identify yourself as a constituent.  At the end of the email or call, thank them for their time and support.  Please do this off of state time and property.

To find your legislator please click here.

Resolution Honors Snowplow Drivers

Senate Majority Leader Ralph Okerlund (R) is sponsoring SCR5, Concurrent Resolution Recognizing Snow Removal Crews Throughout Utah.  The resolution recognizes snow removal crews across the state for their dedication and hard work keeping roads safe. UPEA Executive Director Todd Losser states, “These crews do a great job and deserve to be recognized by the Legislature and the Governor.  We are indebted to their commitment and dedication to the safety of everyone who drives on Utah roads.”  To read the full resolution please click here.

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