Here by popular demand is an updated list of state lawmakers getting free health, dental and vision care coverage at a cost to taxpayers of $6,247 for each individual plan, $17,454 for each family package.
The number has shrunk dramatically since January and even more over the election-year summer as more high-profile lawmakers - including House Speaker William J. Murphy and Senate President Joseph Montalbano - joined the ranks of those voluntarily paying 10 percent of the cost of their health-care packages, forgoing the coverage in return for a $2,002 waiver payment or, in a handful of cases, forgoing both the insurance and the waiver payment.
So who among the state's $14,089 a year part-time legislators is accepting a 100 percent state-paid health package?
In the 75-member House, the number is down to 16, including: Reps. Steven Costantino, the chairman of the House Finance Committee; Grace Diaz, D-Providence; Robert Flaherty, D-Warwick; Brian Patrick Kennedy, D-Richmond; Peter Lewiss, D-Westerly; Peter Palumbo, D-Cranston; Peter Petrarca, D-Lincoln; Henry Rose, D-East Providence; William SanBento, D-Pawtucket; Joseph Scott, D-Exeter; David Segal, D-Providence; Agostinho Silva, D-Central Falls; Richard Singleton, Republican-turned-Democrat- Cumberland; Thomas Slater, D-Providence; Anastasia Williams D-Providence, and Timothy Williamson, D-West Warwick.
Four of the 16 are not running for reelection: Lewiss, Rose, Scott and Singleton. Several others are running unopposed, including Costantino, Flaherty, Williamson, San Bento, Segal and Silva.
Seventeen members of the 38-member Senate are still getting the freebie, according to the summary report produced at the Providence Journal's request this past week by the Joint Committee on Legislative Services.
They include: Sens. Stephen Alves, the defeated -in-the-primary chairman of the Senate Finance Committee; Leo Blais, R-Coventry; Frank Ciccone, D- Providence; Daniel Connors, D-Cumberland; James Doyle, D-Pawtucket; Hanna Gallo, D-Cranston; Daniel Issa, D-Central Falls; Beatrice Lanzi, D-Cranston; Charles Levesque, D-Portsmouth; John McBurney, D-Pawtucket; Michael McCaffrey, D-Warwick; Paul Moura, D-East Providence; Juan Pichardo, D-Providence; John Revens, D-Warwick; Dominick Ruggerio, D-Providence; V. Susan Sosnowski, D-South Kingstown, and William Walaska, D-Warwick.
Alves and Issa were defeated in the Senate primary. Revens and Moura opted not to seek reelection. Doyle, McBurney, Gallo, McCaffrey and Walaska are running unopposed.
Only a handful of current members of the General Assembly opted out of both the insurance and the $2,002 waiver payments, according to the JCLS, including: Democratic Sens. Maryellen Goodwin and Paul Jabour of Providence, Paul Fogarty of Glocester and Janes Sheehan of North Kingstown , and in the House, Reps. Douglas Gablinske, D-Bristol, Peter Kilmartin of Pawtucket, Patricia Serpa, D-West Warwick, and John Shanley, D-South Kingstown.
During the last legislative session, the House passed legislation that would have eliminated the waiver payments and required every lawmaker who accepted the insurance to pay 10 percent of the premiums. Williamson and San Bento were the only ones to vote against it.
But House Republicans chided their colleagues for voting for a bill that they knew was "NGN"- as in "not going nowhere in the Senate." And that in fact is what happened. It died in the Senate, with Majority Leader M. Teresa Paiva Weed, D-Newport, saying the Senate leadership saw no need for the bill. She said lawmakers could show more leadership by making the 10-percent payments voluntarily, as she does.
The free health coverage for legislators has resurfaced as a water-cooler issue in the days since the ratification of a new contract by the largest state employees union that hikes health-care costs for most full-time state employees.
Instead of paying a relatively small portion of their salaries for the coverage, the new contract requires them to pay anywhere from 12 percent to 25 percent of the premiums for individual coverage, and anywhere from 8 percent to 25 percent of the premiums for family coverage.
The graduated scale is tied to how much the worker makes.
Murphy is "in the process,'' according to spokesman Larry Berman, of scheduling, sometime during the week of November 10, the first JCLS meeting in more than a year to discuss whether the new health-care rates and plan design changes for other state workers should apply retroactively to General Assembly employees as well.