state employees

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While Florida’s budget has taken a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic, state economists have delivered some good news.

The state employee health insurance trust fund, which pays health care costs for 365,729 state employees and their families, had a $649.3 million cash balance at the June 30 end of the 2019-20 fiscal year.

Thousands of state workers -- including Gov. Rick Scott -- are expected once again to keep paying low rates for health insurance.

State Worker Insurance Overhaul Proposed

Jan 7, 2016

A Senate Republican on Wednesday filed a proposal aimed at overhauling the health-insurance program for state employees.

Florida Gov. Scott and the union that represents state workers are ending their legal battle over drug tests.

Scott in 2011 ordered random testing of roughly 85,000 state workers. The executive order was challenged by the union, and the testing was placed on hold.

The two sides on Monday asked a federal judge to approve a settlement in the case.

The settlement would exempt most state employees from drug tests. It would also require the state to reimburse $375,000 to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

Florida House of Representatives

Since 2005, monthly health insurance premiums for state workers in Florida have stayed the same.

But a bill making its way through the Florida House could make big changes to the state group employee health plan, which covers more than 300,000 state employees and their families.

Right now, workers pay $50 dollars a month for individual coverage, or $180 dollars a month for their family. That’s a fraction of the cost most people who have health insurance through a private employer.

As budget negotiations between the Florida House and Senate approach lawmakers are carefully arranging their chess sets. But as some are worried a House plan could end up putting state employees in check.

While the American Civil Liberties Union continues its legal fight over drug tests for state employees, Gov. Rick Scott is giving up on his proposal to test workers in about 1,000 job classifications, the News Service of Florida reports. Still, according to court documents, Scott wants to require drug testing for about half of the state’s job categories. The tests are on hold until an agreement can be reached.

The U.S. Supreme Court will meet privately on Friday to decide  whether it will hear an appeal filed by Gov. Rick Scott on state employee drug testing, the News Service of Florida reports. Scott filed the appeal in January after a lower court threw  out  his executive order that all state employees undergo random urine screens. Opponents of the order say that it violates the Fourth Amendment’s ban on unreasonable searches and seizures. The 11th U.S.

State non-career employees who work at least 30 hours per week can enroll in health coverage through the state health-insurance plan when open enrollment starts in October, the Florida Current reports. The Florida Legislature passed a bill last session to extend the coverage to these workers, known as "other professional services" or OPS employees, to avoid a $321 million penalty under the Affordable Care Act.

The House Select Committee on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act approved a measure to provide health insurance coverage to all part-time and temporary state employees and their families, the Associated Press reports. The health law requires large employers to cover those who work 30 hours a week or more, but the committee voted after debate to extend it to all.

For the state, it’s pretty clear: Spend $24 million to extend health benefits to certain state employees who lack coverage or pay $300 million in fines. But for owners of small businesses that are near the 50-employee trigger point for fines, the decision isn’t as clear, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports.

Tampa Bay Times environmental reporter Craig Pittman, who has dogged the Dept. of Environmental Protection as it shed experienced hands and closed offices, now reports that a former developer has been masterminding the shake-up.

 

The $74.2 billion state budget recommended by Gov. Rick Scott includes funding for the mandatory parts of the Affordable Care Act and bonuses for state employees, but not the optional Medicaid expansion, the Palm Beach Post reports.
 

For Florida Department of Health employees moving to a new office, the only way to guarantee they could keep their office chair was to push it across the parking lot themselves, the Tampa Bay Times reports.The massive shuffle set up a parade caught on video.