Hello everyone,

Unfortunately, even though both the House and Senate adopted the amendment to increase trooper salaries by an additional 3% next year, the JBC decided not to include the amendment in the conference committee report on the Long Bill. The JBC indicated there were too many unanswered questions to adopt a targeted pay increase through the Long Bill amendment process (e.g., what is the right amount? How will this compress the salary ranges?). Instead, the JBC is issuing an RFI (request for information) to the Department of Personnel & Administration. The RFI asks for a detailed analysis of the recruitment and retention of P.O.S.T. certified law enforcement officers employed by the state by rank, including monthly separation and retirement data, for the last five fiscal years. In addition, the RFI asks for the data to be presented by region and identify the top five reasons why each region experiences recruitment and/or retention challenges. If available, the data will identify the number of separated P.O.S.T. certified officers who went to work for a different law enforcement agency after leaving state employment. The RFI also asks DPA to examine the trooper pay statute and make recommendations concerning pay range adjustments, including adjustments required to address compression pay. The JBC indicated they may address trooper pay in the fall after reviewing the results of the RFI that are due August 1st.

One budget highlight we should not forget is that all the State Patrol decision items were included in the Long Bill. These include the following: $4.5 million and 27.9 FTE for the capitol complex security plus-up; $1.6 million for increased salary base for communications officers; $1.3 million and 2.0 FTE for the central evidence facility lease; $1.7 million for communications branch technology & equipment; and $523,022 and 7.0 FTE for additional state patrol administrative staff. My plan for the upcoming interim (between the 2022 and 2023 legislative sessions) includes working with JBC members and staff to highlight the need for additional salary increases for troopers and port of entry officers.

Finally, now that the Long Bill is on its way to the Governor, I want to give you an update on the PERA payback bill. Rep. Shannon Bird (D-Westminster), who is sponsoring HB 1029, has indicated the bill will be heard by the House Finance Committee on Monday, April 25th. The JBC replenished the cash fund used to make payments to PERA which is good news, but the full amount of the transfer to make up for the cancelled payment is still up in the air. Only 24 days until the General Assembly is required to adjourn sine die.

Bill Skewes

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