An idea, which came from discussion in the OPEA DHS Council, has made its way into legislation for this upcoming session. Rep. Lisa Billy is carrying HB 1695 for OPEA. The bill essentially doubles longevity for state employees and continues to increase it in the future, according to the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
“I am proud to be carrying legislation to increase your longevity,” Rep. Billy told a group of employees at the Norman Chili Supper. “I remember when my mother got her longevity check. It was important to the family. I know times are tight, but if we don’t start somewhere, we will get nowhere.”
Although some amounts differ slightly, longevity is currently $100 per year. HB 1695 doubles the amount to $200 per year, and then ties longevity to inflation. Longevity has not been increased since 1988.
The DHS Council has discussed this concept with Director Howard Hendrick over the past year. He has supported increasing longevity to reward long time employees. Hendrick’s idea was to begin indexing longevity to inflation in 1988, which would almost double payments by 2009. His concept is in SB 405, carried by Sen. Clark Jolley.
“Both bills essentially double longevity and provide for increases in the future,” said OPEA Policy and Research Director Trish Frazier. “In such a challenging legislative year, we are fortunate to have both a House and Senate bill to advance through the process.”
“State employees should discuss this important bill with their legislators,” said OPEA Executive Director Sterling Zearley. “While this is a tight budget year, state employees cannot wait another year for action on compensation. Along with market compensation and an increase for retirees, the longevity bills are an important priority this session.”