Story by Kate Sosin, courtesy of the Windy City Times
Springfield Mayor J. Michael Houston has come out in support of civil union spousal benefits for city employees, after a committee voted unanimously against extending the benefits in December.
The Joint Labor/Management Health Care Committee, a Springfield committee comprised of city staffers and retirees, voted to keep its current eligibility standards for insurance, which do not include civil union spouses.
The vote caused uproar among LGBT rights organizations who argued that the decision violated the spirit and letter of the civil union act.
Committee members said that the vote was legal because Springfield is self-insured, freeing it from the same regulations placed on commercially-ensured employers. According to an actuary, the bill for extending such benefits would total $725,000, or an increase of 3.4 percent. The cost of insurance is already set to rise for Springfield by 3.75 percent on March 1, the start of its fiscal year.
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