Senate Democrats Block Three Attempts by Hunterdon State Senator Doherty to Move Bills Limiting Local Sick Leave Payouts to Protect Property Taxpayers

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Three separate efforts by Senate Republicans to protect property taxpayers by moving bills they sponsor addressing the absurd six-figure sick leave payouts that some local government employees receive when they retire were blocked by Senate Democrats during today’s session of the New Jersey Senate.

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Senate Democrats tabled an effort to bring S-194 up for a vote. (SenateNJ.com)

Motions were made by Senator Joe Kyrillos (R-13) on S-194, Senator Mike Doherty (R-23) on S-572, and Senator Jennifer Beck (R-11) on S-2140 to bring the bills to the floor of the Senate for consideration. Senate Democrats blocked each of those efforts.

 

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S-194 (Kyrillos) – Limits payments for unused sick leave upon retirement to $15,000, and imposes limits on the carry-forward of vacation leave not used in a give year by any current or future employee of the State, a local government, or board of education.

“Our towns and counties carry an estimated $1.1 billion liability for accrued unused sick time,” said Kyrillos. “That’s a billion dollars that could fall on the shoulders of local property taxpayers when employees retire. It’s an absurd practice that taxpayer cannot afford to continue. It’s more than high time for the majority to move on sick leave reform.”

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Senate Democrats tabled an effort to bring S-572 up for a vote. (SenateNJ.com)

S-572 (Doherty) – Ends the practice known as “terminal leave” when a public employee, in anticipation of retirement, is permitted to use up accumulated days of sick leave. The bill requires a verified medical necessity to use six of more consecutive accumulated sick days in the 12 months prior to retirement.

“Whether a retiring government employee is cashing out a single six-figure check for their accumulated sick leave or collecting regular paychecks every two weeks after they’ve stopped working, the same expense still lands on property taxpayers,” said Doherty. “Ending terminal leave is important way to address sick leave reform that we cannot afford to ignore. Senate Democrats should lift their roadblock on this and other sick leave reforms.”

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Senate Democrats tabled an effort to bring S-2140 up for a vote. (SenateNJ.com)

S-2140 (Beck) – Limits payments for unused sick leave upon retirement to $10,000, and requires fine and reprimand or termination for violation of sick leave policies and regulations by public employees.

“Both Republicans and Democrats have sponsored bills over the years to address the sick leave payout burden that falls on property taxpayers,” said Beck. “That no legislation by either party has been allowed to be considered doesn’t make sense. Sick leave reform is low-hanging fruit that could provide immediate relief to property taxpayers. There’s no reason not to act.”

This continued stonewalling by the majority party follows previous Senate Republican efforts to move legislation that would forfeit the pensions of corrupt public officials, lower transportation infrastructure costs, and reduce the cost to taxpayers of public employee health benefits. All of those efforts were blocked by Senate Democrats as well.

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