2019 Ed MN Retired Annual Meeting

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                                                              by Bobbie Margo

The 2019 Retired Annual Meeting was held on Friday, April 26 at Jimmy’s Event Center in Vadnais Heights.  A great breakfast was provided (lots of coffee) and an equally great welcome was extended by President Julie Jagusch to the 80+ attendees.

Jody Buehr presented the legislative report. The session started on January 8.  A figure as high as a  $1 Billion surplus has been mentioned.  Licensure will be an issue to the very end, as well as wage theft.  Wage theft is a problem for hourly employees.  These individuals have “clocked out,” but still find themselves having to help with bus transfers, playground duty, etc.  As of this writing the legislature has adjourned, but has now entered a sort of legislative limbo.  Without details about major spending bills or when the governor might call a special session to wrap up the Legislature’s business, lawmakers and Minnesotans have been left in the dark. Lawmakers must adopt a budget by June 30 or State Government could face a partial shutdown July 1.

The next session was by Jean Peters and Kay Bromelkamp (sisters).  They presented an extremely informative session on “The Epidemic of Elder Abuse in Minnesota.”  These two women have formed the “Elder Voice Family Advocates.” This group is working to form State legislation in order to raise awareness of the lack of standards regarding assisted living.  Nursing homes are federally regulated, assisted living homes are not.  Minnesota is the ONLY state that does not require licensure regulations for assisted living.  Approximately 400 abuse complaints a WEEK come in to the MN Department of Health.   Elderly abuse is a human rights issue, it is not a political issue!

During lunch (which was provided by United Educators Credit Union), a collection was taken to support the NEA R Kinnaman (Cat in the Hat) Scholarship.  Attendees contributed $480+ towards the scholarship fund.  Way to go retirees!!  Nationally there were 33 applications, 4 were chosen as winners.  One of the winners is Emma Todd from Minneapolis.  Congratulations Emma!!

After lunch, the Annual Business Meeting was next.  Minutes/agenda were approved.  The budget, standing committee reports, and the President’s report were included as part of our printed annual meeting packet.  President Jagusch reported on the “State of the Union.”  ED MN retirees have been attending pension hearings at the Capitol.  Instead of an annual fall conference, ED MN Retired regional meetings have been held throughout the State.  And perhaps an annual fall conference could be held again every other year beginning with the year 2020.  Currently, total ED MN Retiree membership is 7,918.

Christine Thornborrow then spoke on member benefits.  The goal of these benefits for our members are: 1) maximize dollars,  2) plan for the future, 3) protect loved ones.  ESI is self sufficient and is governed by our peers.

The final presentation of the day was a panel with a representative from TRA (Jay Stoffel) and PERA (Doug Anderson).  The 2018 Pension Bill (which is now law) received bipartisan, unanimous support at every step of the legislative process.  The bill was supported by a broad coalition of unions, employers, retiree organizations.  Immediate impact has included: 1)  State’s credit rating has been upgraded, 2)  Liability reduction of $3.4 Billion, 3)  Saves $6.1 Billion over 30 years in all plans, 4)  improved retirement security for over 500,000 Minnesotans.  
Fun Fact:  People born in the following 3 States have the longest life expectancies in the USA:  1) Hawaii,  2) Minnesota, 3) Connecticut 4).

In that spirit of long life expectancy, let’s all plan to meet again next year at the ED MN Retired Annual Meeting for informational sessions, good food, and retiree bonding; AND bring a another ED MN Retiree Member with you!