By Rep. Greg Chaney
It was an incredibly difficult vote today in Judiciary & Rules Committee. The bill would have given Juvenile Detention officers, Misdemeanor Probation officers, Juvenile Probation officers, and 911 dispatchers the same accelerated retirement benefit as police and firefighters. H21 would have granted additional benefits to a group of real life heroes who deserve our admiration, appreciation, and who clearly “deserve” to be classified in the same esteem as our law enforcement and firefighter.
However, the specific retirement benefit discussed was created for firefighters and law enforcement specifically in recognition that the physical abilities to do the job are lost at a younger age than other professions. Changing the benefit would shift the basis or standard to apply in an uncertain way, and it would be difficult to figure out just where that line would then lie; it would open to door to additional requests which would be difficult to reject on the basis of any sort of objective standard that would be seen as fair.
To those of you who were affected by today’s vote to hold H21 in committee: Please know, the vote was a difficult judgment on how to manage a standard, not in any way a reflection on the incredibly high esteem in which you are held.