Local pension reform returns to the Legislature in 2015

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House Speaker Steve Crisafulli has expressed interest in returning to the issue of pension reform and two state senators filed a bipartisan bill this week that would overhaul local pension plans.

Fleming Island Republican Sen. Rob Bradley and Democratic state Sen. Jeremy Ring from Margate presented SB 172 for the 2015 legislative session starting in March. The proposal is similar to one that failed last session after it was tacked on to another controversial measure seeking to change the Florida Retirement System for state workers and public employees such as teachers.

Former House Speaker Will Weatherford supported amendments to the Florida Retirement System, but was unable to get the Florida Senate to go along, so both pension issues died in the Senate.

Since becoming speaker in November, Crisafulli said the two pension issues could move independently in 2015.

“They have been tied together in the past,” he said last month, “but as far as the conversations that are being had right now, they are separate.”

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.