The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

December 12, 2011
A.M. Reading: 'Daily Show' in FL; CA gift rules; WV considers retiree benefit caps

'Daily Show' asks Scott to pee in cup WPTV News)

Penn State scandal spurs California legislation
As former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky's preliminary hearing on sex abuse charges begins this week, California lawmakers are rushing to introduce legislation aimed at preventing similar scandals here. (Los Angeles Times)

California ethics agency relaxes rules on gifts to politicians
State lawmakers and city council members can accept expensive gifts from lobbyists without disclosure if they are dating, and can receive meals and lodging in lobbyists' homes without telling the public, under rules approved Thursday by the state ethics agency. (Los Angeles Times)

Editorial: Even with prison's closing, state can't find a way to save money
A few hundred prisoners get transferred to other facilities from the Nevada State Prison in Carson City, one of the oldest in the West. Most of the employees have found work at those other correctional facilities, though as many as 13 guards -- who won't or can't move the 100 miles to the nearest similar facility, in Lovelock -- may be laid off, qualifying them for unemployment come January. What's the big deal? (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

We don't need Iowa to be a battleground
Early this year, events in Wisconsin propelled the state, its governor, its legislators and tens of thousands of its citizens onto the national stage. And there it remains as the state has become a test field for a battle over, among other conservative causes, collective bargaining rights of public employees. (Ames Tribune)

W.Va. weighs capping retiree subsidies, annual payments to erase OPEB liability
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin appears close to launching a plan that would cut a $10 billion funding shortfall in half and then gradually pay down what remains, those involved in the discussions told The Associated Press. (AP/ The Republic)

Texas Pension Predicts Health Shift Will Save $20 Million a Year
The Texas Employees Retirement System, the state's second-largest public pension, figures it will save about $20 million next year by shifting most of its retirees to a Medicare Advantage health-insurance plan. (Bloomberg)

State officials seek to restore vacant positions
NASHVILLE -- State agencies are scrambling to save hundreds of long-vacant positions set to be axed next year, warning that abolishing some could harm services for Tennesseans most in need and, in one case, risk federal penalties. (Times Free-Press)

Few Oklahoma legislators opt out of health-care insurance
OKLAHOMA CITY - A bill originally designed to allow legislators to opt out of the state health insurance program and save the state money has resulted in only a handful actually doing so. The Tulsa World called, emailed and used social media in an attempt to determine how many members of the Legislature took advantage of the opt-out provision. Only three legislators - all of whom are retired military employees who are eligible for federal insurance coverage - said they had opted out. (Tulsa World)

Fraud suspicions bring questions about federal disaster relief program
HARTFORD -- Suspicions that highly-paid state workers scammed a federal disaster relief program is rekindling questions about the management of the program in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene. The Malloy administration is investigating 800 state employees to determine if they lied to qualify for the one-time federal assistance. (Republican-American)

Irene Probe Includes State Troopers
The investigation into state employees receiving improper financial aid after Tropical Storm Irene apparently includes state police troopers. At least two Connecticut state troopers are among the state employees under investigation, according to State Police Union President Andrew Matthews. (NBCConnecticut)

Labor's uneasy dance with Dan Malloy
HARTFORD -- They joke on the eve of Mark Ojakian's first meeting with the unions. He is off to meet the representatives of more than 45,000 state workers, many of whom had helped to push Dan Malloy into office in the first place. Now Malloy is management, and they are bound to clash. (Connecticut Post)

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at jortiz@sacbee.com.

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