HB 3293 Clears House Floor

The Oklahoma House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed HB 3293 Tuesday. This bill  would set aside 3 percent of the previous fiscal year’s payroll costs for salary adjustments each year. The bill would also remove salary structures from statute and give authority to the Office of Management Enterprise Services to set pay structures and determine if targeted pay band adjustments are necessary, rather than the state doling out across-the-board pay raises as in years past.

It is important to note that even though it passed, it still must be funded during the appropriation process. The bill had the title struck which means it can be amended and then must be heard again before final approval. It goes to the senate but could be amended there.

Passage of this bill represents the opportunity to continue the discussion about meaningful long-term changes to how state employees are paid. Just providing some employees with an increase is not good enough. Employees need a raise this year but we must also establish a system in which raises are given more frequently than every 7 or 8 years, as has been the case recently. OPEA is interested in a system that has “triggers” for pay raises based on sales tax collections and is working with lawmakers to include this in legislation.

Earlier language which would have lowered the amount of sick leave an employee earns and reduced the amount of shared leave available was removed from this bill at OPEA’s insistence prior to it being voted on.

Many more steps must be taken before this is passed into law. State employees remember last year when a bill passed through the legislature to provide for a $1,000 incentive bonus but it was not funded during the appropriation process. Any pay increases this year will also need to be funded through appropriations that usually occur at the end of the legislative session.

The bottom line is that today’s state employees need to have a fair salary structure that will pay them adequately for the work that they do. If Oklahoma’s lawmakers want to keep a quality workforce they will make changes to the system that will improve state employee salaries.

7 comments (Add your own)

1. Terry wrote:
So if you remove the salary structures from state statute, would that mean our salaries could be based on whatever the office of management services want? This does not seem like a system with much in the way of checks and balances? It would seem the people working at the office of management services could in fact make salaries higher for certain people and lower for other certain people based on their own personal benefit and buddy system.

Tue, March 11, 2014 @ 6:16 PM

2. mikey wrote:
The key phrase in the bill is "subject to available funding". Right. There's always been available funding, they just don't want to compensate their workforce properly because they don't think there should be a state employee workforce to begin with. Sorry, can't share your enthusiasm at this point.

Tue, March 11, 2014 @ 10:28 PM

3. Jack wrote:
be carefull what you wish for. read the bill. It reduces the ammount of benefit allowance on dependant care from 75 percent to 50 percent. so are we really getting a raise? I personally want a pay raise and to keep my benefits the way they are.

Wed, March 12, 2014 @ 2:12 PM

4. OPEA wrote:
The bill that was approved by the house yesterday did not contain language reducing the dependent care allowance. There also was earlier language that reduced sick leave amounts and shared leave. OPEA worked with the bill's author to remove language reducing benefits.

Wed, March 12, 2014 @ 4:24 PM

5. edward wrote:
I haven't seen anything about the retires and a cola, is all talk about raises for the workers? I emailed my Rep. to help the worker bit I thought surely they would include the retires for a cola but no mention about it. I guess my routing for the worker cost me and other retires our cola, I sure hope not because we're about at the end of the rope. unless they mean everyone including the retires in the raises, it's not very clear what they are doing. I just hope we retires don't get the shaft in this deal. it would be mighty sad.

Wed, March 12, 2014 @ 9:44 PM

6. edward wrote:
If I remember right all the Bills for the last eight years had been passed but there wasn't any money for the raises so they just struck it of and never mentioned again, like you aren't worth the trouble of trying to get the money, they got our hopes up and burst the bubble right in our faces. I'm afraid that this going to be the same, one bunch passes the bill the other's don't pass it, so that is it for our raises. WE DON'T HAVE THE MONEY! mark my word.

Wed, March 12, 2014 @ 10:01 PM

7. edward wrote:
I think it was the Senate that didn't approve all the Bills these last eight years so we are going to have to wait and see how they vote, I can tell you right now they will not pass it. They want the purse strings so they can continue to treat us like dirt. I'll be the first to apologize if it approved.

Wed, March 12, 2014 @ 10:08 PM

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