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Legislative News and Alerts
Oct 14, 2006

Legislative Update - October 14, 2006

The following is supplied by the Uniformed Professional Fire Fighters Association of CT and contains the current list of endorsed candidates. [PDF format]

Download: State Endorsements as of 10-6-06.pdf

Aug 11, 2006
IAFF Wins Passage of HELPS Retirees Bill August 4, 2006 – The IAFF has won an unprecedented congressional victory in the successful passage of its HELPs retiree health care proposal and the elimination of early withdraw penalties from Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP) accounts. Both proposals have been top IAFF legislative priorities this year. “The joint passage of HELPs and the DROP language represent the most significant financial benefits ever provided by Congress exclusively to the nation’s fire fighters and other public safety employees,” says IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger. “It is an enormous achievement.” The bill, H.R 4, the Pension Protection Act of 2006, was passed overwhelmingly late August 3 in the U.S. Senate. The House had passed the identical bill last week. The legislation now heads to The White House for the president’s signature. All indications suggest that President George Bush will sign the measure. Beginning in 2007, all current and future public safety retirees will receive a $3,000 tax credit towards the cost of health insurance or long-term care insurance premiums. Depending on the retiree’s tax bracket, this equals tax savings of between $540 and $870 per year. “The average retiree will see a lifetime in pocket tax savings in the tens of thousands of dollars,” says President Schaitberger. “The passage of HELPs is a real and measurable benefit to every IAFF member.” The total cost of HELPs is in excess of $3.4 billion over the next 10 years. Also included in H.R 4 is language eliminating the 10 percent penalty for withdrawals from DROP accounts prior to age 59 1/2. Beginning January 1, 2007, retirees can access DROP money at age 50. “The passage of this bill is the result of 18 months of hard work and effective lobbying of leadership in both parties about the necessity of passing a pension bill that included our HELPs and DROP language.” The IAFF’s proposal was supported by several congressional allies, including Representative Chris Chocola (R-IN), the bill’s principal sponsor who shepherded the legislation throughout the entire process. “This victory is the result of our bipartisan approach to politics and lobbying,” Schaitberger says. “Once again, our union has delivered real results for our membership and highlighted the value and importance of political action.”
Aug 11, 2006
Department of Justice Issues New PSOB Regulations August 10, 2006 – Nearly three years after the Hometown Heroes Survivors Benefit Act was passed into law, the Department of Justice (DoJ) has issued the new rules under the Public Safety Officer Benefits (PSOB) program. The new regulations, including heart and stroke benefits, take effect September 11, 2006. “We are very pleased that these regulations have finally been released,” says IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger. “It is unfortunate that the families of fallen fire fighters have waited so long, but we needed to ensure that our members’ families are fully protected and receive due benefits in the event of a line-of-duty death.” The DoJ’s first draft of the regulations – released for comment in September 2005 – would have made it nearly impossible to collect benefits from deaths caused by heart attack or stroke. The IAFF provided extensive comments and, through bipartisan political outreach, was successful in educating the Department of Justice on several areas of concern and in garnering the support of Senator Bill Frist (R-TN), Representative Roy Blunt R-MO), Representative Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Representative Curt Weldon (R-PA) and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) to revise the regulations. “It was a long battle, but has ended in another success and serves as one more example of our ability to achieve results against long odds,” says President Schaitberger. “The new regulations ensure that the intent of Hometown Heroes is met and that the families of fire fighters who perish as a result of a heart attack or stroke receive PSOB benefits.” The new regulations provide that if a public safety officer dies as a result of a heart attack or stroke, the death may be presumed to have been the result of a personal injury sustained in the line of duty. The law requires that the heart attack or stroke occurs while the officer is on duty and engaged in an emergency response activity or training exercise, or within 24 hours of such activity or exercise.
Aug 11, 2006
IAFF Continues Support for Senator Lieberman August 10, 2006 - IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger told MSNBC’s “Hardball” August 8 that the union would continue to support Senator Joe Lieberman (D-CT) as long as he remains in the Senate race. Lieberman said after his narrow defeat in the August 8 Connecticut primary that he will run as an independent. “Joe Lieberman has earned the support of fire fighters and our International union for his long record of support and leadership in passing laws that help our members do their jobs and protect our homeland and national security,” President Schaitberger told “Hardball” host Chris Matthews. “If Joe Lieberman is running for re-election in November, we’ll be supporting Joe Lieberman,” Schaitberger said from Chicago, where he was attending an AFL-CIO Executive Board meeting. “Regardless of the party label that he carries, he’ll be the same Joe Lieberman tomorrow that he was yesterday and for the last 18 years, and we stand with those who stand with us.” President Schaitberger defended Senator Lieberman in a contentious eight-minute interview that included opponent Ned Lamont supporter Reverand Al Sharpton. Prior to the interview, fire fighters rallied outside the NBC studios in New Haven, Connecticut, where Matthews hosted his show. “Joe Lieberman has been supporting fire fighters since his days in the state senate in 1970,” said Schaitberger. “Joe Lieberman understands what this country needs in order to secure our homeland, protect our neighborhoods and protect our communities.”
Mar 22, 2006
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE March 22, 2006 SB - 16 (An Act Protecting Retiree Pension Benefits) left Committee and was forwarded to the Senate floor for consideration. SB-16 is an act to protect retiree pensions. This Bill was submitted by the UPFFA following the actions by the City of Waterbury to reduce the previously established pension benefits of retired Waterbury Fire Fighters
Mar 22, 2006
Mar 17, 2006

Download: Legislative Update 5 2006.pdf

Feb 15, 2006

Feb 15, 2006

Jan 04, 2006

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