Vermont-NEA News

Lawmakers Show Support for Teachers, State Workers, and Troopers in Overwhelmingly Passing Pension Bill

Lawmakers Show Support for Teachers, State Workers, and Troopers in Overwhelmingly Passing Pension Bill

Now on its way to the governor’s desk, the pension bill did not receive a single ‘no’ vote as it worked its way through the House and Senate

MONTPELIER – By giving a final, unanimous nod to the framework for strengthening public worker pensions, lawmakers today reaffirmed their commitment to ensuring that teachers, state workers, and troopers have financial security after a career serving Vermonters.

“The message from the legislature couldn’t be clearer,” said Don Tinney, a high school English teacher who serves as the elected president of Vermont-NEA. “The governor can – and should – add his signature to this bill that was the product of more than a year of open, robust debate.”

The measure was crafted by the legislature’s Pension Task Force over the course of 17 open meetings and two public hearings. The task force included lawmakers, a member of the governor’s administration, a representative of the treasurer’s office, and six union members, including teachers Molly Stoner of Dummerston, Kate McCann of Montpelier, and Andrew Emrich of Waterbury.

“The unanimous support this bill got as it made its way through the legislature has been an honor to witness – as a member of the Pension Task Force and as an employee in Vermont’s public schools,” said Stoner, a fourth-grade teacher. “The complexity of the work and dedication of all involved has been inspiring; my hat is off to our legislators who work so hard on our behalf, to my courageous colleagues in education, state offices, and our troopers to the committed members of the Pension Task Force, and to all Vermonters willing to listen intently across aisles to find solutions to complex problems.”

Added McCann, a math teacher, “I want to extend my heartfelt gratitude for my fellow union members, the taskforce members, legislators from all parties, the Treasurer's office and Joint Fiscal Office for the courageous conversations and steadfast commitment that has led to a pension bill that preserves the defined benefit system for teachers, troopers, and state employees for decades to come.”

And Emrich, a kindergarten teacher, commented, “After nearly seven months of collaborative and effective work with the Pension Task Force, we have almost come to the end without a single objection to one of the most significant bills of the past decade. I am extremely thankful for the dedicated work done by the legislative leaders, the passion and support shown from educators across our entire state, and an outcome that helps to provide a secure and dignified retirement for state employees, troopers, and Vermont's educators.”

After a technical review by legislative staff, the bill we be sent to the governor. He will then have the opportunity to sign it, veto it, or let it become law without his signature. 

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