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Statewide Healthcare Benefits, Universal Breakfast, COVID-10 Relief, Literacy, Facilities, Pensions

Video: https://youtu.be/g-S3maogU7M

Podcast: https://traffic.libsyn.com/secure/vtvsba/Blog11.mp3 H. 81, an act relating to statewide public school employee health benefits, was allowed to become law without the Governor’s signature on April 9th. As reported previously, H.81 removes the language from law requiring premium responsibility percentages and out of pocket for each plan tier to be the same for all participating employees and is absent of balancing language requested by the VSBA. The Governor explained his decision in a letter to the General Assembly, in which the Governor supported the clarifying language to definitions, the changes to the bargaining structure established in Act 11 and the requirement of cost estimates in the proposals from both parties as well as an explanation of the arbitrator’s decision. However, the Governor pointed out that the bill did not do enough to contain costs, thus creating greater burden on taxpayers. In addition, the Governor reminded the General Assembly that JFO warned that this flexibility in bargaining could increase the incentive to use more services because the user pays so little. More spending on these costs can lead to less money for student programming and so the Governor called on the General Assembly to consider the following before they adjourn:

  • Limit the employer's total health care benefit contributions to 80%;

  • Align effective date for all sections of the bill;

  • Review the fiscal impacts (provided by JFO) and provide additional modeling on future impacts to the public.

Although S.100 was ordered to lie, Senate Agriculture and Senate Education continued to work on the bill and may co-sponsor a floor amendment to the bill this week. Senate Education Committee heard from the AOE’s Child Nutrition Program Director, Rosie Krueger, who explained challenges with the most recent proposal that would create a fourth eligibility category using the Dr. Dynasaur program. She instead proposed a less-costly alternative, universal breakfast. JFO has estimated the