Once again it is time for the Alabama Legislature to begin. On February 7, the 2017 session will start and AERA Leadership will be there to represent the needs of our members. The top priority this year will be a 13th/bonus check. A bill has been pre-filed by Senator Gerald Dial and others, and we believe we have a fair chance of success.
We will also be seeking to establish a COLA Trust Fund, so that we can have a cost-of-living adjustment in the future. Along with the proactive legislative activities, we must also guard against legislation that could be harmful to our members, such as un-earmarking, combining budgets, reduction in pension benefits, underfunding PEEHIP, raising the cost of PEEHIP, and lowering health benefits. There are also ideas being proposed to tax our benefits or take money from the Education Trust Fund.
Currently, we are in the midst of a letter writing campaign to our legislators. Please be a part of this effort—it is so important! Always remember to thank those legislators who have been helpful and remain dedicated to working with those who have not supported us. Together we will be successful.
I believe we are making progress in the legislature, but we must never let our guard down! We must remain unified to our organization, so that our voices will b e heard. Let us continue to work for what is good for all retirees!