Retiree bonus bills back in 2022 session

Retiree bonus bills back in 2022 session

By MARY SELL, Alabama Daily News

Sens. Del Marsh, R-Anniston, and Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro, said recently they’ll try again in the upcoming session to give one-time bonuses to retired state workers and teachers.

Marsh has already pre-filed for the upcoming session Senate Bill 11, giving a bonus of at least $300 to state retirees. Singleton said he plans to pre-file a similar bill for retired educators soon.

Unless lawmakers act, retirees in the state do not get bonuses or cost of living increases. The 2021 bills cleared a Senate committee in the spring, but then stalled.

“We felt we had an agreement with the budget chairs last session that they’d rather pass it (in the upcoming session) so we pulled back and got ready to reintroduce the same bills,” Marsh told Alabama Daily News.

Singleton said educators spend their careers giving to students.

“They’ve nurtured our children, they’ve taught generations,” Singleton. “And now that they’ve retired, they deserve (a bonus.)”

Marsh noted that the state’s budget situation at the end of fiscal 2021 made it a good time for bonuses. Senate education budget committee chairman Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, has said bonuses are on the table next session.

Both 2021 bills awarded bonuses based on years of service, with a minimum of $300.

A fiscal note on Marsh’s 2021 bill said it would cost the state about $15.1 million. Singleton’s 2021 proposal would have cost $84 million.

The 2022 session starts Jan. 11.