Agenda Item 4
Robert H. Drummer, Senior Legislative Attorney
Bill 13-16, Personnel - Benefits for Domestic Partner of
Employee - Amendments
Bill 13-16, Personnel
Benefits for Domestic Partner of Employee - Amendments,
sponsored by Lead Sponsor Council President at the request of the County Executive, was
introduced on April 12, 2016. A Government Operations and Fiscal Policy Committee
worksession is tentatively scheduled for May 4, 2016 at 2:00 p.m.
The recently negotiated collective bargaining agreement between the County and the
Municipal and County Government Employees Organization, Local 1994 (MCGEO) provides that
all health and insurance benefits
extended to opposite-sex domestic partners of employees
covered under the agreement. The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #35 (FOP) and the International
Association of Firefighters, Local 1664 (IAFF) have similar provisions in their contracts. This
statutory change in eligibility for health and insurance benefits would be effective January 1, 2017,
so as to coincide with the normal health plan enrollment period that is done in the fall and takes
effect January 1 of each year. Bill 13-16 would extend these benefits to all County employees
who are eligible for health and insurance benefits.
Bill 28-99, Personnel- Benefits for Employee's Domestic Partner, enacted on November
30, 1999 and signed into law on December 3, 1999, extended health and insurance benefits to a
same-sex domestic partner of an employee. According to the legislative history, sponsors and
supporters of Bill 28-99 argued that the law was needed to correct an inequity in benefits provided
to gay and lesbian County employees, compared to other employees. They argued that it is unfair
to provide benefits for an employee's spouse but not for the partner ofan employee in a long-term,
committed, same-sex relationship.
benefits inequity conflicted with the County's
longstanding law and policies against discrimination based on sexual orientation.
In short, Bill
28-99 was a civil rights law that was enacted outside ofthe collective bargaining process.
The County first prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation in 1984.