Governor Signs Pension Bill

Caption: Gov. Dayton applauds the crowd, including workers up in the balconies, before signing the pension bill into law.
Caption: Gov. Dayton applauds the crowd, including workers up in the balconies, before signing the pension bill into law.

A bill to stabilize and protect public pensions for decades to come was signed into law Thursday in a packed Capitol Rotunda.

More than 300 state workers and retirees crowded into the Rotunda to watch as Gov. Mark Dayton signed the bill with a flourish, announcing, “That’s the last bill I’ll sign as Governor of Minnesota, and what a great one to end on.”

The reform will immediately save $3.4 billion and fully fund our public pension systems within 30 years. The bill passed the Senate and House unanimously.

The sustainability plan:

  • Increases employer and employee contributions
  • Includes new state funding
  • Reduces COLAs
  • Reduces the assumed rate of return from 8 percent to 7.5 percent
AFSCME's correctional officers and retirees, who were a constant presence at every pension hearing, celebrate with Gov. Dayton after the signing.
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Dayton said numerous workers and retirees have told him the measure is vitally important to their piece of mind and their financial security.

“They know they’re going to have a pension today, they’re going to have a pension tomorrow,” he said. “I’m very, very happy we can find that security for all of you.”

Dayton thanked the House and Senate for their unanimous vote, singling out Sen. Julie Rosen and Rep. Tim O’Driscoll, who co-authored the legislation and shepherded it through the legislative process.

“This is truly an historic day,” Rosen said, adding that the measure improves security for retirees and the state’s financial stability.

“I do hope this story, this bill, this day, does not get lost in the news cycle,” she said. “Sometimes in this building we just want to focus on the negatives and how different we are, but this was such a collaborative issue and so very important for the state.”

AFSCME member Christina St. Germaine shows off her selfie with the Governor after the bill signing.
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Rep. O’Driscoll says the reforms will reassure bond rating agencies, who had started to make note of the state’s unfunded pension liability, endangering future bond rates.

“When you have all the legislators, all stakeholders and all people on board, you know you’ve done something right,” he said.

AFSCME Council 5 and our allies in the Public Employee Pension Coalition, which represents more than 25 public sector unions, retiree groups and affiliated organizations, strongly supported the measure.

AFSCME members and allies for secure pensions watch as Governor Dayton signs the pension bill into law.
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Council 5 legislative director Julie Bleyhl said the bill assures public workers they’ll have secure and dignified retirements.

“The pension bill represents shared sacrifice by everyone, including the state, the employer, employees and retirees,” she said. “By working together and pulling together, we have ensured that public pensions will stay stable for decades to come. We have ensured that our government fulfills its promise to public employees.”