Several pieces of bipartisan legislation that reform the pensions and benefits of public employees were signed into law on Monday, March 22, by Governor Chris Christie. S-2 makes various pension system changes, S-3 requires contributions toward health care benefits by public employees and S-4 makes changes concerning payments to public employees for unused sick leave and sick leave injury in State service.
Sponsors and supporters of the bills included Senate President Stephen Sweeney, Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, Senator Tom Kean, Assemblyman Alex DeCroce, Senator Barbara Buono, Senator Kevin J. O’Toole, Senator Michael J. Doherty, and Senator Paul Sarlo.
Senator Michael Doherty’s employee health care reform legislation, Senate Bill 3, is estimated to save taxpayers nearly $1 billion over the next three fiscal years. The bill, which passed the Senate by a vote of 36 to 0 on Monday, will require state, local and school employees to pay at least 1.5% of their base salaries toward their health benefits.
“Nearly every private sector and federal government employee pays a far larger share of the soaring cost of health care coverage than this bill requires,” Senator Doherty said. “Our state is on the brink bankruptcy in part because we haven’t made the common sense changes to state and local benefit plans that many employers adopted decades ago.”
Proposal Would Preserve the Freedom of Citizens to Choose Their Health Care
Senator Michael Doherty and Assemblywoman Alison McHose introduced legislation today that would give individuals the right to obtain the health benefits coverage of their choosing.
“Our citizens are rightly concerned that Washington, D.C. bureaucrats will force a government health care program upon them,” Doherty stated. “This amendment, if ratified by the voters of this state, will nullify any law that mandates health coverage within New Jersey’s borders.”
Measures Would Protect Retirements of Rank-and-File Public Employees, Require Government to Meet Its Obligations
Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney and Senate Republican Leader Thomas Kean announced that bipartisan legislation to complete the unfinished business of reforming the state’s public employee pension and benefits system first begun nearly four years ago was formally introduced last night in the Senate.
The four bills would return the pension and benefits system to its original goal of ensuring the retirements of rank-and-file public employees and constitutionally require government to meet its annual pension obligations.
Senator Michael Doherty, R-Warren, introduced legislation Senate today that would establish an employee cost sharing arrangement for the State Employees Health Benefits Program (SHBP) and the School Employees Health Benefits Program (SEHBP). The measure is part of a four-bill package designed to safeguard the state’s pension and benefits system.
“It is clear that the New Jersey’s pensions and health benefits systems are on the verge of financial collapse,” Doherty stated. “It is imperative that reforms be passed now to prevent the complete collapse of the system.”
Senator Michael Doherty, a member of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement regarding Governor Chris Christie’s Executive Order banning most unfunded state mandates.
Doherty stated, “Governor Christie took an important first step towards lowering New Jersey’s highest in the nation property taxes with an Executive Order banning unfunded state mandates. For far too long Trenton politicians and bureaucrats have ignored the clear intent of state statute and inundated local government with expensive and arbitrary unfunded mandates.”
Bills Will Make New Jersey Less Affordable for All
Senator Michael Doherty, a member of the Senate Labor Committee, said he was stunned that the committee chose to release six pieces of legislation guaranteed to create more unemployment in New Jersey during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.
“Prevailing wage laws boost unemployment, especially among the poor and members of minority groups, and increase the tax burden on middle class New Jersey,” Doherty said. “It is disappointing that certain members of this body chose to reward a politically powerful few at the expense of everyone in the state – especially the poor and middle class.
Two-Year Extension for Recycling Coordinator Certification
Senator Michael Doherty, R-Warren/Hunterdon, said he is pleased that his legislation giving municipalities a two-year extension on requirements to train a certified recycling coordinator has been signed into law.
“Many recycling coordinators are volunteers or part-time employees who get little or no extra pay for ensuring that their towns are in compliance with recycling laws,” Doherty stated. “A recession is the wrong time to force cash-strapped towns to pay the extra expense of training and increased compensation to meet new certification requirements.”
Republican Michael Doherty, born in Point Pleasant and raised in Glen Ridge, became the senator of the people of District 23 today at a State House ceremony attended by his family, friends and supporters. Senator Doherty, 46, pledged that he will represent his constituents with energy, character and honor.
Mike Doherty being sworn-in as the new Senator representing the 23rd legislative district in the New Jersey Senate on November 23, 2009.
“I am humbled and honored by the trust that the people of District 23 have put in me,” Senator Doherty said. “It is their interests that I will represent in Trenton, and their interests alone.”