Expanding who’s eligible for state pensions, lifelong health benefits…

The Senate chairman of the legislature’s insurance committee wants to broaden who is eligible to receive a lifelong state pension and retirement health plan.

Sen. Joseph Crisco Jr., D-Woodbridge, has proposed a bill that would count any time someone worked for the state when calculating if someone has worked 10 years to receive lifelong state health benefits and monthly pension payments. Currently, employees have to spend at least five consecutive years working for the state “immediately” proceeding their departure from the state’s workforce.

“It’s an inequity situation,” Crisco said Tuesday during an interview. “It seems fair.”

It is unclear how many additional people would qualify for a pension and health benefits if the change is enacted. One person who would benefit is Michael P. Meotti, the former vice president of the state’s public college system who resigned following a trio of missteps. Meotti, who was a state senator for eight years before years later becoming a higher education official in Connecticut, was away from state service for too long for his legislative history to count towards retirement qualifications.

Crisco said he knows Meotti, but the proposal was not made in an effort to qualify him for retirement benefits.

This bill is one of almost two dozen affecting state employee retirement benefits, many which are made by Republican legislators seeking to limit pension payments.

The bill has until tomorrow to be raised for a public hearing and until April 23 to be voted out of the Appropriations Committee.