EIU Annuitants Association July 12, 2012, Chapter Meeting
1. Welcome: After calling the meeting to order at 9:00 a.m., President Jayne Ozier welcomed annuitants, current EIU Employees, and guests and invited Mike Watts to the podium to make a brief announcement.
2. Announcement by Mike Watts, Director, Tarble Art Center: Director Watts encouraged audience members interested in serving as volunteer gallery attendants or as docents at the Tarble Art Center to contact TAC staff at 217-581-2787 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Presentation by David Smith, EIU Faculty Laureate and Professor of History: Dr. Smith began by explaining that in the classroom he endeavors to help students understand that history "is not facts but interpretation of facts" – a point he went on to develop by explaining the means whereby Europe's natural scientists, during the period1500-1800, "refashioned the cultural synthesis of the western world." He presented an outstanding historical development of Scientific Evolution and its impacts.
4. Presentation by Linda Brookhart, Executive Director, SUAA: Executive Director Brookhart focused on the following three issues:
- State-Provided Health Care: SB1313, signed into law by Governor Quinn on June 21, will set up a new state-provided health care system in which annuitants' health insurance rates will be based on the annuitant's age, years of service, and pension income. From now and on CMS will determine the premium & they are currently negotiating health insurance rates with ASCME. While negotiations are in progress, Ms. Brookhart suggests that annuitants consult with a health insurance broker and "shop, shop, shop" for health insurance. She urged Medicare-eligible annuitants to learn what Medicare benefits they are eligible for, adding that "all of us could be forced into a national health insurance plan."
- SB1673 -- The bill which, if enacted, would force annuitants to choose between state-provided health insurance (which will no longer be premium free & premium may increase each year) OR preservation of our current COLA : Ms. Brookhart hopes we will not be obliged to "give up" our COLA in exchange for state-provided health insurance "that may not be there." Up-to-date information concerning health care developments will be posted at WWW.benefitchoice.il.gov. The SUAA website provides information concerning the status of legislation pertinent to annuitants' concerns.
- Proposed Constitutional Amendment #49: Proposed Constitutional Amendment #49 will appear on our November 6 ballot. Ms. Brookhart distributed a June 5 informational memorandum prepared by SUAA lobbyist Dick Lockhart entitled "The pension impairment provision is impaired by HCA #49." In the memorandum, Mr. Lockhart opines as follows:
The Proposed Amendment appears to conflict with the [Illinois Constitution's] existing impairment Pension clause provision . . . [namely Article XIII, Section 5, which stipulates "Membership in any pension or Retirement system of the State, any unit of local government or school district, or any agency or instrumentality thereof shall be an enforceable contractual relationship, the benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired" . The accepted practice relating to statutory laws which conflict is that the last one acted upon by the Legislature controls. . . . That being said, would not this Constitutional Amendment, if approved on November 6, have the effect of cancelling the protections set forth in Art. XIII, Sec. 5? In my opinion, that is the intent.
SUAA is developing an "educational campaign" to encourage citizens to say "No" to Proposed Constitutional Amendment #49. Annuitants will be urged to help SUAA educate the public concerning the proposed amendment.
Following a brief question and answer session, President Ozier thanked Ms. Brookhart and the other presenters for their remarks and made the following announcements:
5. Sue Reynolds, Coles County Clerk, encourages annuitants who may be interested in serving as election judges to contact her at the county clerk's office: 348-0523.
6. Our next chapter meeting will be on OCTOBER 18. Jeff Houch, SURS legislative liason, will be the guest speaker.
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