Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf’s House Bill 80 passed the House on Tuesday in an unanimous 41-0 vote. On Wednesday, the bill got assigned to and then quickly approved and released by the Senate Corrections & Public Safety Committee. I am surprised that the bill wasn’t passed by the Senate yesterday, but given this speed, it will be passed by the Senate next week, likely unanimously.
This bill provides an increase in the pension benefits for certain specified “peace” officers. Those certain specified peace officers are listed as follows:
- (1) Probation and parole officers employed by the Department of Correction;
- (2) Capitol Police officers;
- (3) Department of Natural Resources police officers;
- (4) University of Delaware Police;
- (5) State Fire Marshal officers;
- (6) Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement agents;
- (7) Justice of the Peace Court constables; and
- (8) Probation and parole officers in the Serious Juvenile Offender Unit and senior probation officers employed by the Division of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families.
|House Bill 80 Sponsors||Yes Votes||No Votes|
|Schwartzkopf, Minor Brown, Mitchell, Briggs King, Carson, Morrison, Osienski, Ramone, M.Smith, Smyk, Yearick||House Passed 41-0. Baumbach Bennett Bentz Bolden Brady Bush Carson Chukwuocha Cooke Dorsey-Walker Griffith Heffernan K.Johnson K.Williams Kowalko Lambert Longhurst Lynn Matthews Minor-Brown Mitchell Morrison Osienski S.Moore Schwartzkopf Wilson-Anton Briggs King Collins D.Short Dukes Gray Hensley M.Smith Morris Postles Ramone Shupe Smyk Spiegelman Vanderwende Yearick||None|
|Ennis, Paradee, Hansen, Lopez, Pettyjohn, Sokola, Walsh, Wilson|
The increase in pension benefits is as follows: 1) Before January 1, 2022, 2.45% of his or her final average compensation multiplied by years of service above 25 years; (2) On January 1, 2022, 2.5% of his or her average compensation multiplied by the number of years of service up to 20 years, plus 3.5% of his or her average compensation multiplied by the number of years of service above 20 years.
The stated reason for these increases are 1) increased costs, 2) other reduced benefits, and perhaps most importantly 3) the need to recruit and retain qualified and competent correction officers and specified peace officers with a modernized pension benefit.