There are two bills that have been introduced in the current session regarding LOSAP. One appears to be on track to be passed by both houses in 2021. They both would impact only volunteer firefighter LOSAPs adopted pursuant to Article 11-A, not volunteer ambulance squad plans governed by Articles 11-AA and 11-AAA. The purpose of this post is to examine one that is making some progress.
This bill would extend the maximum years of service credit that can be earned by a participant from 40 to 50 years. A similar bill was introduced in 2019 and 2020. Both times the bills were passed by the Senate but died in committee in the Assembly. That version of the bill simply crossed out the word "forty" and replaced it with "fifty".
This current bill was introduced as S1091 & A2239, with the same proposed change. However, on March 22, 2021, the Senate version was amended and reprinted as S1091-A. It is currently in the third reading, which is the last step before a vote and potential passage by the Senate. In the Assembly, the bill was amended and reprinted as A2239-A, and then recommitted to the local government committee. The amendment is what makes us think this bill is likely to pass both houses in 2021.
The amendment adds additional language that fleshes out the details of how a sponsor would implement an amendment to increase the service cap. The new law provides that a sponsor can:
When discussing with clients the original version of the bill that simply replaced forty with fifty, there were two recurring questions: (1) is it mandatory for plans to increase to the 50-year maximum, and (2) if it is not mandatory, is a referendum required? We believe both of these questions are now answered - it is not mandatory and yes, a referendum is required. By removing these two ambiguities, the legislature seems to understand these clarifications were necessary before the bill became law. This appears to be a positive sign that the bill is tracking towards law in 2021.
If you'd like to read the bill, you can download a PDF here:
We'll comment on the other bill in a future post.
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