Change to teacher retirements advances

Legislation prohibiting future teacher union employees from receiving state retirement benefits cleared the Louisiana House Thursday after fierce debate.

House Bill 727 would not allow employees hired after Sept. 1 by the Louisiana Federation of Teachers, the Louisiana Association of Educators, the Associated Professional Educators of Louisiana and the Louisiana Resource Center for Educators to belong to the Teachers’ Retirement System of Louisiana.

State Rep. Herbert Dixon, D-Alexandria, denounced the proposal as a union busting measure.

“This is a bad bill. You’re picking on a few individuals,” Dixon said.

State Rep. Kirk Talbot, who handled the bill, said the legislation would not impact current employees. “If you don’t work for the state, you shouldn’t be in the state retirement system,” said Talbot, R-River Ridge.

State Rep. Patricia Smith, D-Baton Rouge, said some members of state board and commissions get state retirement and health benefits.

She asked if Talbot planned to address that issue.

“We give away the kitchen sink,” Smith said.

Talbot said he would have staff look at what board and commission members receive.

The House voted 57-40 in favor of the legislation, which now moves to the state Senate.