2002 No Action
2001 No Action
2000 No Action
1998 No Action
1995 No Action
August 7, 1996
TO THE HONORABLE, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:
In accordance with the provisions ofR.I. Gen. Laws § 43-1-4, I am transmitting herewith, with my disapproval, 96-H-7512, As Amended, An Act Relating to Relief of Injured and Deceased Fire Fighters and Police Officers."
This Act would provide for the addition of Department of Environmental Management Conservation Officers to the salary payment during line-of-duty illness or injury, under the Deceased Fire Fighters and Police Officers Relief Fund.
The Police Officers and the Fire Fighters Relief Funds are accounted for as a component of the Department of Labor's general revenue appropriation and are a non-contributory benefit available to police officers and firelighters. This Act, however, is problematic because it would increase costs to the state by allowing conservation officers to participate in a non-contributory retirement system. If coverage is expanded to these officers, then annuities, tuition and medical benefits will increase the State's general revenue appropriation.
The Department of Administration Bureau of Audits completed an audit of the Department of Labor on July 11, 1996 regarding the Relief of Injured and Deceased Fire Fighters and Police Officers Fund for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1995. The Bureau of Audits concluded that this legislation would increase the costs of this program. More importantly, the Bureau of Audits recommended that the Relief Boards should be limited to the original legislative intent of providing for police and fire officer's widows and dependents. In addition, me Bureau recommended that the Relief Boards should not be expanded to include state employees already covered under the State Retirement System and Workers' Compensation Laws and Regulations.
Given the fact that over the last several years, the Relief of Injured and Deceased Fire Fighters and Police Officers Fund has become a major fiscal concern for the Department of Labor, the State should recognize the unfunded liability of this fund before expanding the number and class of participants. According to the Departments of Labor and Administration, who stand opposed to this Act, any expansion of this will escalate the fund's current unfunded liability. In sum, the proposed legislative changes to include DEM Conservation Officers will increase the required funding level in future years without proper appropriation by the General Assembly.
For the foregoing reasons, I disapprove of this legislation and respectfully urge your support of this veto.