Haslam bill to abolish longevity pay (for new state employees) wins legislative approval

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Republican Gov. Bill Haslam’s proposal to make changes to state employees’ longevity bonuses is headed to his desk.

The House approved the measure 70-26 on Monday, and the Senate passed it 26-3 last week.

Haslam had originally sought to fold the bonuses into state workers’ salaries, halt future increases and use the savings to fund merit raises based on employee evaluations.

But the plan was heavily modified after being met with strong bipartisan opposition in the Legislature. The change will now only apply to new hires, meaning current state workers will keep the bonuses worth $100 for each year of service — up to a maximum of $3,000.

An effort to delay the proposal failed in the House on Monday.

Note: The measure is SB606, as amended. Rep. Bo Mitchell, D-Nashville, led the attempt postpone the effective date of the measure until 2020. His amendment was tabled or killed on a 67-30 vote.