Standing room only in hearing room

The hearing on proposed pension and health benefit reform legislation has yet to begin, but the committee room is packed to the rafters with press, lobbyists, staffers and union members.

Word in the chamber is several union members are planning an act of civil disobedience to protest the legislation, which would sharply increase the required benefit contributions for public employees.  According to sources in the chamber, a group of union members plans to force their own removal from the hearing.

The hearing was reportedly delayed by last-minute changes to the bill that would preserve benefits for employees with 20 or more years of service.

Standing room only in hearing room