FREA and Florida Retirement System

We received this information from state FREA; we need to start contacting our legislators now. The Florida Legislature is gearing up to attack the Florida Retirement System. The following letter outlines the details and how to contact legislators.


To Friends of Florida Retirement System:

The 2016 Legislative session is about to begin and Speaker of the House, Steve Crisafulli (R-Merritt Island), has vowed to change FRS. Our Florida Retirement System is one of the strongest in the US. It is a working system that benefits the hard working state workers, teachers, police and firefighters in our state. For the past several years members of our legislature have attacked FRS in hopes of changing it for future retirees. Research has shown that pensions benefit the employee once they retire, and these retirees have a positive impact on their local economy.


FACT: each dollar invested by Florida taxpayers in the pension supported $4.47 in total economic activity in the state.

Public employees receive lower wages than their private sector counterparts and the pension plays an important role in offsetting this financial impact of lower salaries.

How Can You Help? Now is the time to let YOUR legislators know how you feel about saving FRS. The legislators will listen to their voters and it is important that we all contact our legislators and tell them to vote against any changes to the Florida Retirement System. When you contact the office, chances are your emails and letters will be received by an aide who will calculate how many contacts have been made and tally the positive or negative remarks. Thus, your letter does not need to be long. Below is a

sample of an email that you could use. It is important that they hear from hundreds of voters and it is important that they hear NOW!

The Main Complaint is that the State Must Pay Into FRS:

*** This money is owed to FRS because past Legislators used the money to support other projects during the economic crisis.

***Changes to FRS will NOT take away the money owed

***Changes to the Pension plan will cost more money because there will be less money invested in long term investments

***Pensions encourage life-time employees and less turnover

Past Voting History: Over the past several years FRS has been under attack by several legislators. The vote in the House follows party lines: All Democrats voting to keep FRS as it is and all Republicans

voting to change FRS. In the Senate, all Democrats have voted to keep FRS and many Republicans have voted to change FRS. Luckily there have been several Republicans who have crossed party lines and voted to keep FRS. Some of these Senators are:

Charles Dean – Inverness Nancy Detert – Venice

Miguel Diaz de la Portilla – Coral Way Greg Evers – Pensacola
Anitere Flores – Miami
Denise Grimsley – Sebring

Jack Latvala – Clearwater

Tom Lee – Brandon

***** Last year, Senate President Andy Gardiner (R – Orlando), said that FRS was working and he would not support changes to the system. He conducted a study and did not bring up any changes. Next year Senator Joe Negron (R- Palm City) will be the Senate President. Over the past several years, Negron has always voted for a change.

How Do I Locate My Legislators: The easiest way to find the contact information is to go onto the Florida House of Representatives website, click on the link for “Find your Representative”, put in your address and you will receive a list of all of the lawmakers representing you.

How Can I Find out How My Legislator Votes: One way is to watch “The Florida Channel” on TV or your computer. This will let you watch live many meetings. A second way is to go online. Go to the Florida House or Florida Senate website, you will see committee meetings and bills that are going on at the Capitol. Type in the key words Florida Retirement System to see what meetings or bills come up. You can do also sign up to track any additional bills. Once the meeting is held, they will list the voting record.

It is very important that each legislator receives calls, emails or snail mail from their voters. Please contact them TODAY! If you would like additional information, or have additional questions feel free to contact me.

Linda Edson
Legislative Co-chair
Florida Retired Educators Association (a non-profit service organization)