- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 29, 2016

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - A Republican state lawmaker wants to revive a program that would reward public employees who retire early.

Palmer Rep. Shelley Hughes’ bill would allow departments to offer a retirement incentive program to employees who are within three years of their normal retirement dates.

The state has offered similar programs in the past. Ginger Blaisdell, an aide to Hughes, said nearly a quarter of the state’s employees would likely be eligible to participate.

Besides the retirement benefit incentive, Hughes’ bill also reduces the number of special assistants that department commissioners can have and raises employee contributions to the state’s health care system.

The bill also requires ten days of furlough a year for at least 650 executive branch employees and requires that all new negotiated contracts for state employees allow furloughs.

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