Friday, June 12, 2015

Legislative Session Over, Update on Retirement Bills

The 2015 Legislative Session has now concluded. The following bills were passed during the session which impact LASERS and its members:
  • HB 42 (Jones) would authorize a Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) of up to 1.5 percent for eligible LASERS retirees and their beneficiaries,effective July 1, 2015. It was supported by the LASERS Board of Trustees. The bill also makes changes that positively impact the long-term funded status of the System. It awaits action by the Governor.
  • HB 33 (Berthelot) would increase littering fines and distribute 50 percent of the fines to the retirement system of the law enforcement agency issuing the litter citation. The funds would be used to decrease debt. The LASERS Board supported the bill, insofar as it reduces debt. It awaits action by the Governor.
  • HB 46 (Reynolds) provides for survivor benefits for minor children of wildlife enforcement agents, allowing benefits for unmarried full-time students to the age of 23. The LASERS Board was neutral on this bill. It has been signed by the Governor and is now Act 44, effective June 5, 2015.
  • HB 800 (Fannin) appropriates surplus funds to LASERS to be applied to the initial unfunded accrued liability of the system as required by the Constitution. It awaits action by the Governor.
Other measures which were tracked by LASERS, but did not make it through the process were:

  • HB 45 (Pearson) would have provided that membership is optional for persons age 62 or older at the time of employment, consistent with the age sixty-two retirement eligibility for new hires after July 1, 2015.
  • HB 55 (Ritchie) and SB 15 (Nevers) would have proposed a Constitutional Amendment to levy a tax on the use of hydrocarbon processing facilities and dedicate a portion of the tax proceeds to payment of the initial unfunded liability of LASERS.
  • HB 762 (Talbot) would have eliminated the Department of Public Safety Peace Officers Fund which provides funds for payment of the actuarial liability associated with the increased accrual rate for certain Peace Officers.
  • SB 14 (Guillory) would have included non-investment related administrative expenses in calculating the required employer contribution rate.
  • SB 16 (Guillory) would have clarified provisions created in Act 399 of 2014 regarding excess investment earnings, employer contributions, and COLAs.
  • HCR 57 (Montoucet), HCR 71 (Fannin),and SCR 2 (Adley) would have each suspended individual income tax credits, deductions, exclusions, and exemptions, including the exemption of LASERS retirement benefits from Louisiana state taxes.
  • HCR 159 (Pearson) would have established the Task Force on State Retirement System Sustainability to study the funding and benefits of Louisiana's state public retirement systems and to make recommendations to the legislature regarding the sustainability of such systems for current and future employees.

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