A bill to reduce lifetime health benefits for Metro Nashville City Council members passed on Tuesday. Mayor John Cooper quickly approved it on Wednesday. However, there were significant amendments from the initial proposal to the adopted version.
Notably, the final version of the bill extended the grandfathering deadline – which also required council members to serve eight years or more – from 2023 to 2027. Additionally, Metro government will cover 75 percent of benefits during the first two years of continued participation in their healthcare plan, 50 percent for the next two years, and 25 percent after that. In the initial proposal, Metro government would’ve covered 25 percent.
Council members that served less than eight years prior to 2027 can continue their coverage, as long as they pay their premiums in full. Those that served eight or more years would have to pay contribution rates equivalent to regular Metro employees. No council members that serve after 2027 would be eligible for the subsidized healthcare plan after leaving office.
The sponsor of the bill, Tonya Hancock, didn’t respond to request for comment from The Tennessee Star by press time. Other sponsors on the bill were council members Erin Evans, Freddie O’Connell, Russ Bradford, John Rutherford, and Angie Henderson.
The Star noted early last month that this legislative effort received a lot of pushback, and had a history of failing. Hancock confirmed with The Star that she’d had to use Rule Eight to overcome an attempt to kill the bill by the Budget and Finance Committee.
The estimated fiscal impact of healthcare coverage, if unchanged, was estimated to be over $1.2 million by 2024.
Council members Sharon Hurt, Zulfat Suara, Sean Parker, Emily Benedict, Ginny Welsch, Colby Sledge, Gloria Hausser, Tanaka Vercher, Delishia Porterfield, Sandra Sepulveda, Joy Styles, and Dave Rosenberg voted against the bill initially. After the matter recurred, then only members Benedict, Sledge, and Vercher opposed.
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Corinne Murdock is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and the Star News Network. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Nashville City Hall” by Nicolas Henderson. CC BY 2.0.