Key Legislative Commission Approves Senator Karla Bigham’s Bills To Ease State’s Teacher Shortage, Improve Efforts to Retain Firefighters

Bipartisan Bills Expected to be Included in Final Pension Package This Year

Senator Karla Bigham (DFL – Cottage Grove) said today that a key legislative pensions commission has approved two of her bipartisan measures to address the state’s teacher shortage and to help recruit and retain volunteer firefighters in Minnesota. 

Senator Bigham said that this week, the Legislative Commission on Pensions and Retirement approved both bills and will include them in the final omnibus pensions package expected to pass by the end of the current legislative session.

“This legislation will help teachers and volunteer firefighters at a time when they’re asking for our support,” said Senator Bigham. “These measures grew out of conversations I had with constituents who shared their stories with me. The bills earned bipartisan support and are now on their way to being included in the final omnibus pensions bill.”

Measures to Help Reduce Teacher Shortage and Retain Firefighters

The first bill will assist schools by temporarily removing a pension penalty that discourages retired teachers from re-entering the classroom. This comes at a critical moment when schools across the state are dealing with large class sizes and teacher shortages. 

The second bill provides flexibility in the pension vesting schedule for local fire departments, which serves as recruitment and retention incentives.

Both bills passed with bipartisan support and will be included in the final Pensions omnibus bill considered in both the House and the Senate. If approved in both chambers, they will be sent to the Governor to be signed into law.

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Karla Bigham represents District 54 in the southeast Twin Cities metro, including parts of Dakota and Washington counties.

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