"As you know it's budget day," Senate President Wilton Simpson tells his colleagues at the open of today's session.

Among the budgetary issues in front of the Senate today is SB 84 which would undermine retirement security for Florida's educators feaweb.org/news/take-acti…
We'll be monitoring the Senate all day long and will provide live updates in this thread when SB 84 is taken up. The bill is on 2nd reading which means there will be questions today, but not debate or a vote on final passage.

Debate and final passage will occur on 3rd reading.
We start with an amendment from Sen. @LoranneAusley which would require a full actuarial study before any changes to the Florida Retirement System can take place.

Full text of amendment here: flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2…
"When this bill was presented back in Feb. Sen. @isayray says we needed a study, but the problem with the study we got it is only looks at new employees. There are questions the study didn't answer b/c they weren't asked. We need to ask those questions," @LoranneAusley says.
Sen. @LoranneAusley has withdrawn her amendment. There are no further amendments. We are now in questioning.
Sen. @loriberman: "How will closing off the pension plan to new enrollees impact those currently in the system?"

Sen. @isayray: "I don't believe there will be an impact."

Sen. @loriberman: "Won't the pension run out of $$ if nobody else pays in?"

Sen. @isayray: Nope.
Sen. @loriberman: "What is the long term cost to the state to do this change?"

Sen. @isayray: "By the end of 30 years, there will be a savings of more than $230 million."
Sen. @loriberman: "What is the difference between the average payout for the 401(k) plan and the pension plan?

Sen. @isayray: I don't have that data.
Sen. @loriberman: Compared to other states, how does the Florida Retirement System rank?

Sen. @isayray: It depends, but most rankings have Florida in the top 10-15 of state retirement systems.
Sen. @ShevrinJones is next in questioning, "What has happened to other states that have made similar changes?"

Sen. @isayray: "It has not worked out for those other states, but Florida will be different."
Sen. @ShevrinJones: "Isn't the FRS a sound pension plan?"

Sen: @isayray: "Yes. We are on solid financial footing and that's why we need to change."
Sen. @ShevrinJones: "What is the estimated number of new employees who will have to enter the investment plan on an annual basis?"

Sen. @isayray: "I don't have that data, but can ask staff if they can get it."
Sen. @ShevrinJones: "Why would we want to take retirement security away from someone who has worked in public service their entire life?"

Sen. @isayray: Private employees don't get pensions, so why should public employees?
Sen. @ShevrinJones: "Have we requested a study to see what would happen to current employees if we close the pension to new employees?"

Sen. @isayray: "We have not asked for that information."
It's a little dense, but if you want to read the actuarial study that was done recently on FRS you can find it here: feaweb.org/wp-content/upl…
We break down what the study says (and doesn't say) as well as how SB 84 will impact current employees in last month's episode of Educating from the Heart, FEA's podcast.

You can listen here:
Sen. @ShevrinJones has wrapped up his questions. Next is Sen. @VicTorres_FL who asks, "The FRS is one of the best in the nation. Why is this bill needed?"

Sen. @isayray: "I agree it's well managed...but we keep digging a deeper hole by adding new employees."
Sen. @VicTorres_FL: "Why didn't we have the manager of the fund to testify before us when we heard this in committee?"

Sen. @isayray: "If you ask someone if their job should go in a different direction, they will say no."
Sen. @VicTorres_FL "Shouldn't all public employees be able to choose the safer option for retirement security?"

Sen. @isayray "The workforce has changed over the years. More & more employees aren't spending their career working for one employer."
Sen. @senpizzo is next in questioning: "Which type of employment, on average, works or stays the longest in the FRS?"

Sen. @isayray: "I can't tell you, but special risk stays longer than regular class."

(This contradicts what Sen. Rodrigues said in a previous answer)
Sen. @senpizzo: "If we're seeing a wave of these professions leaving before these people get vested, all the state contributions stay with the state, right?"

Sen. @isayray: "Correct."
Sen. @senpizzo "Doesn't this send the message that we had a year of a teacher, but that's it?"

Sen. @isayray: "Philosophically, I think I can agree with you."
Sen. @EdEhooper1 is the first Republican in questioning. He asks, "Special risk isn't just police and fire, is it? Can you share with the body who is in the special risk category?"

Sen. @isayray:"Police, firefighters, corrections officers and EMTs."
Sen. @EdEhooper1 prefaced his question by saying that he'd heard from a lot of upset constituents who didn't understand why only police and fire were allowed to remain in the pension, which he was sure wasn't the case.

Sen. @isayray basically said, No your constituents are right
Sen. @LindaStewartFL: "Do you think ending the pension plan for teachers will make it harder to recruit new teachers?"

Sen. @isayray: "No. Because they already leave before they vest into the pension plan."
Sen. @LoranneAusley is next in questioning. She asks, "The unfunded liability you've mentioned, doesn't that reflect what the state would owe if every FRS member retired at one time?"

Sen. @isayray: "Yes."
Sen. @LoranneAusley: "Why didn't we ask of the actuary what the impact would be on current employees?"

Sen. @isayray: I'm not really going to answer your question.
Sen. @LoranneAusley: Let me try again, why didn't we ask the actuary about the impact of SB 84 on current employees?

Sen. @isayray again didn't address the question and instead just spoke around the issue.
Sen. @LoranneAusley "With less people paying into the pension plan, isn't it possible that this change will make it harder for us to keep the promises that we've made?"

Sen. @isayray: "I disagree with that assumption."
@SenatorThurston is next in questioning. "You said you BELIEVE we'd be in a better place, but that seems like a question we should have asked the actuary. Why didn't they answer that question?"

@isayray for at least the 5th time now doesn't answer this specific question.
@SenatorThurston: "Ok. Can you show me where in the actuarial report it says the current employees will not be harmed?""

Sen. @isayray: "I cannot. I did no prepare for that question."
@SenatorThurston "Nowhere in the report did they say how the plan would look in 20 years if we went ahead with these proposed changes, did they?"

@isayray again talks about something else instead of answering.
Again, here's the report being referred to: feaweb.org/wp-content/upl…
@SenatorThurston "Do you have ANY information at your disposal to show that the Florida Retirement System is not at the top?"

@isayray: "The answer would be no."
@SenatorThurston "How likely is it that everyone (in the pension plan) will retire at the same time?"

@isayray: "I would say it is less likely than more likely."
@SenJanetCruz is next in questioning. "If I'm a state worker earning minimum wage, am I obligated to pay 3% of my salary into the 401(k) plan?"

@isayray "I'm 90% sure they would be obligated to pay 3% of their salary into the plan."
@SenJanetCruz "If I'm working as an entry-level state employee, would there be a gigantic disparity in their retirement as a result of this bill?"

@isayray: "If the market does well, they'll beat what they'd get in their pension. If not, they'll receive less."
@SenJanetCruz: "In other states that have done this, do we know if those minimum wage employees are doing ok? Or are the having to cash in their 401(k) and have little to no money to retire on?"

@isayray "I don't have an answer on that."
Sen. @Gayle_Harrell is up next. "Can you give us information on what private sector employers have done?"

@isayray "We seen the majority of (private) employers move away from pension plans."

(This hurts workers and the overall economy)
Sen. @Gayle_Harrell: "How would we as a state deal if a whole bunch of people retired at once?"

Sen. @isayray "In Illinois they had to significantly raise taxes."
Sen. @SenAudrey2eet is up next. "Do you have any data on the average age of individuals who would be subject to your bill?"

Sen. @isayray: "That's beyond the scope of the study we requested. I don't have that data."
Sen. @SenAudrey2eet: "What I'm getting at, the folks who are largely impacted are county workers, school district, college and university employees...Do you have any demographics on age, gender. Who will be impacted?"

Sen. @isayray: That depends on who gets hired.
Sen. @SenAudrey2eet: "Given the demographics today, is there no way to extrapolate on what the impacts of SB 84 would look like in terms of demographics?"

Sen @isayray: "I never requested that information. I don't have it."
With that questioning has come to a close. The Senate is done with SB 84 for today.

As a reminder, there was no debate today nor was a vote taken since the bill was on 2nd reading. Debate and a vote will happen when the bill is on 3rd reading.
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