Click on the Illinois General Assembly to look up important legislative issues you maybe concerned about. The IARF works hand in hand with the AFFI when it comes to standing up for issues important to our Retired Firefighters. Please attend our Quarterly Meetings to find out what issues we are presently facing and addressing that could impact your retirement.
With changing weather conditions, it is also a great idea to register to vote from home. Your local County Clerk will have the forms on-line for you to register. A ballot will arrive at your home, fill it out, and send it off. Your civic duty has been completed, and you don't even need to put your coat and shoes on! It's that easy.
The 101st General Assembly went into overtime to complete their work on June 2. The AFFI Legislative Committee spent the last 11+ days in Springfield monitoring and advocating.
Attached are the bills we were successful in having pass both chambers and sent to the Governors desk.
SB 37: Secondary Employment (requires the Secondary employer to report exposures in accordance with NFPA guidelines to the Primary employer’s fire pension fund. It also requires them to report annual hours worked and wages to the Primary employer’s fire pension fund)
HB 2215 Labor History (requires every full time firefighter hired in the state of Illinois to receive an educational presentation via a website link or in person on the history of the fire service labor movement)
HB 2502 Article 6 to 4 Pension Transfer (allows for Article 4 participants who have creditable service in Article 6 to transfer that creditable service to Article 4. There is no limit to the number of years of service that can transfer, but the participant has 6 months from the time of the Governors signature to advise both pension funds of the desire to transfer)
HB 2854 Apprentice Program (Creates a hiring preference of up to 20 points for a person who has performed fire suppression service for a department as a firefighter apprentice and otherwise meet the qualifications for original appointment as a firefighter)
Not many organizations at the Capitol get more than one or two pieces advanced in a 2 year cycle, so we feel good about what we were able to accomplish during the first 5 months of this General Assembly considering the monumental legislation that was passed to put Illinois back on the right track.
Summary of SB 1300
to read the Summary of SB 1300 House Amendments 5, 6 & 7
Illinois Pension Consolidation Feasibility Task Force Recommendations.
Senate Bill 1300 Signed to Law
Brothers and Sisters,
The General Assembly completed their last session day of the year on November 14th and it was a historic day for the Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois. I was proud to stand beside Governor Pritzker with a bi-partisan coalition of General Assembly members as he announced the passage of the Firefighter Pension Investment Fund and Tier 2 benefit enhancement legislation.
The legislation, Senate Bill 1300, was the result of nine months of study and negotiations by the Illinois Pension Consolidation Feasibility Task Force. The Governor entrusted the AFFI to lead the process as a task force co-chair and the committee recommendations reflect the AFFI’s fierce advocacy over the last nine months. Here is a summary of the bill.
We were able to create a Firefighter Pension Investment Fund that will dramatically improve the investment performance of our hard-earned assets while maintaining governance of the same by our members and our employers. The legislation also preserves our local boards to perform all of your local fund’s other functions including the administration of benefits. Most importantly, the legislation contains significant benefit improvements for our Tier 2 brothers and sisters – a much needed first step in beginning to address the inequities that exist for our members hired after January 1, 2011.
Governor Pritzker has indicated he will sign the legislation before 2019 expires and it will become effective on January 1, 2020. The AFFI has already begun to lay the groundwork to create the Firefighter Pension Investment Fund, which will increase returns and lower fees for our individual funds. We are hyper focused on creating a fund that will inspire confidence and operate efficiently for its participants, both active and retired.
All AFFI affiliates will soon be receiving a communication to solicit interest in being appointed to the Firefighter Pension Investment Fund Transition Board. The nine-member transition board will be comprised of four employer representatives and five employee representatives. The five employee trustees will be comprised of three active participants, one retired participant and one representative from the AFFI. I strongly encourage all of our members with Article 4 Pension Fund knowledge and experience to apply for appointment to the transition board.
I would like to offer my sincere gratitude to the AFFI Legislative Committee, Executive Board and staff for their engagement on this issue. SB 1300 is the result of countless hours of meetings, vision and effort on behalf of our membership. I am confident it will benefit our Article 4 participants for generations to come thanks to the unanimous support from our board.
We would also like to thank our affiliates and membership for their support over the course of the last year. There was a significant amount of misinformation being disseminated by those who stand to benefit from the current inefficient structure of our pension investments. We sincerely appreciate the local leaders who chose to learn about this issue and share facts with their members about the task force recommendations and resulting legislation.
On behalf of our entire executive board and staff, we hope you have a happy Thanksgiving and a joyous holiday season. We look forward to a prosperous and productive 2020 for all AFFI members and their families.
Senate Bill 616
Latest update on SB 616:
Brothers and Sisters,
On October 10th the Pension Consolidation Feasibility Task Force unveiled its recommendations for improvements in how our pension fund dollars are invested and significant benefit increases for our brothers and sisters in Tier 2. Since then, the AFFI has been working with the other members of the task force and our attorneys to propose a bill that accurately reflects our recommendations.
Today SB 616 Amendment 1 was introduced in the Senate by Senate President John Cullerton. As you will see, the legislation incorporates all of the task force recommendations including numerous safeguards to address concerns expressed by our membership throughout the process.
It is unclear if this will be the vehicle considered by the General Assembly, but we wanted to share it with our membership for review prior to its consideration. The General Assembly could schedule hearings to consider a pension consolidation bill during the second week of veto session from November 12th to 14th, but nothing has been confirmed at this time.
The language in the bill ensures the State of Illinois will not have access to or be responsible for managing any of our pension assets. The “State” does not have access today and will not if SB 616 is adopted and becomes law. As we’ve previously stated, our firefighter investment fund will be held in its own trust with governance solely provided by current firefighter trustees and their employer representative trustees.
Please also note we are NOT proposing to change how pension benefits are managed. These are and always will be your pension dollars that your local pension fund will administer. Applications for benefits will continue to be considered and determined by your local board. Individual funding levels will remain separate from the asset management consolidation proposed here. We successfully fought back all attempts to dissolve local pension boards and force benefit administration into an outside entity like the Illinois State Board of Investments or Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, and we will continue to fight those efforts.
Finally, we are proud to report these recommendations include several Tier 2 benefit changes the AFFI insisted should be included in any pension legislation.
Thank you for standing with us as we work through these challenging issues. Please let us know if you have questions about the task force recommendations or the current language contained in SB 616 Amendment 1.
Pat Devaney, President
Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois