Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Communicate

We are in the homestretch with the legislative session that ends on June 4. There has been some great news on the retirement legislation.

They are signaling defeat on the cruel and unconstitutional retirement changes. Keep up the heat this weekend and coming week.

"'I think we've done as much as we can do in this session' on retirement issues, [Sen. John] Alario said."

But a bill is not dead until it is DEAD, DEAD, DEAD, as the old saying goes. It has to be thrice dead to be done with and gone.

Here’s my summary of what’s left:

HB 61  (Cat Food Retirement Plan- Will leave future retirees on welfare and food stamps. The cash-balance plan with no Social Security is a moral failure of epic proportions. It’s in conference committee. I’m the most fearful of this one. No one will want to work for the state, and it could leave future employees who  retire in abject poverty. Retirees will eat cat food if they're lucky. It's that bad. And this one is likely to pass unless it's fought tooth and nail this week.

SB 52 – Will violate the constitution and raise retirement contributions on SELECT state employees (divide and conquer). If this passes, all state employees will pay more and get less when the legislators pull ALL employees into the mix later. Teachers, get ready.

SB 740 - Will stop cost of living adjustments (COLAs) for current retirees for an "eternity." This is plain bad for retirees. It’s unnecessary, cruel, and disingenuous. They should hold off no more than two or three years as a temporary debt fix.

SB 749 (age 67 bill) - Unconstitutional and will change the retirement ages/years for SELECT current employees. All state employees will be attacked after this session if SB 749 passes. It’s a test case.

SB 47 (3 year to 5 year FAC) - An unconstitutional bill that will recalculate how retirement benefits are determined for current employees.

Note: I am for protecting pensions long-term, but I am not for destroying the pensions in order to “save” them. This is about privatizing all government services and giving the contracts to the fat cats. It's about employment reform and not about fixing the pensions’ unfunded accrued liability (UAL).

See the latest analysis of retirement legislation put out by TRSL posted on May 25: 

Here is "A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Communicate" between now and June 4th:

1.) Write a letter to a newspaper ASAP. Better yet, write a letter to 40 Louisiana papers. Write about 300 words and send to your closet newspapers first. Be sure to give your address and phone number. “Dear Editor…”

2.) Send an email to all representatives and senators. Use your home email address and PC. Cut and paste into the BCC line on your email account. All email addresses can be found here:

3.) Drop off a handwritten letter to your senator and representative at their district offices. - Go to the bottom of the web page. Click on the question and type in your address. I mailed mine on Sat., May 26, but it's probably too late now to get to the legislative office by Tuesday.

4.) Call and send personal emails to Sen. Elbert Guillory, Rep. Kevin Pearson (Retirement Chairs in Senate and House), and your senator and representative, as well as any other legislators that you know personally.

Contact information for Louisiana Senators:
Contact information for Louisiana Representatives (House): 

5.) Post an open letter on Facebook and your weblog or personal website. Start a blog and send all legislators the link with an email. You’ll be regarded as an activist, which is good. Get a blog free at Blogger:

6.) Consider joining the Retired State Employees Association - RSEA. It’s important. T They are having an event at the Capitol on – Thurs., May 31, 2012, 12:00 noon until 1:00 PM. Nothing strikes fear in a legislator’s heart quite like an angry group of retirees. Why? They vote.

7.) If you have some time, go to the Capitol. Send notes to your senator and representative, as well as Guillory and Pearson. The sergeant at arms can help, but you need to get the legislators’ seat numbers. Write on the appropriate House/Senate communication slip and give your cell phone number. Say that you want to talk. Be creative with your message.

If you can't go to Baton Rouge, ask to meet the legislator at his or her office. If they can't see you next week, tell the assistant your position and set an appointment for after the session. They'll know you are coming, and you may not be happy.

8.) Send this email/post to everyone you know on Facebook and your personal email contact list.

9.) Contact all of the retired state employees you know and tell them what's at stake (such as never getting another cost of living adjustment).

Download an app. PAR has a Legislative Guide as an iPhone-android app for $2.99. I downloaded it, and it works like a charm. You can contact anyone in the legislature in seconds. Calls, emails, addresses, photos.

While you are at it, download the FREE phone app for civic engagement: GPO Guide for the 112th Congress. It works great on my iPhone. All you need to contact all of the US Senators and Reps (You can even get the federal budget) -

You may only have time to do 2 or 3 of the steps above. Every little bit counts. Let’s exercise our rights afforded to us by the First Amendment to the US Constitution. It matters now more than ever.


Dayne Sherman, Writer, Speaker, Scholar
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***This message speaks only for the writer, a citizen, not for any present or past employer.***