Friday, April 8, 2016

Legislative Update for April 8, 2016

The House and Governmental Affairs Committee met Wednesday, April 6 and reported HB 78 favorably.

Two bills passed unanimously on the Senate Floor:
SB 14, sponsored by Sen. Morrish, would add employees of the Chenier Plain Coastal Restoration and Protection Authority to LASERS. The LASERS Board of Trustees is neutral on this bill.
SB 18, sponsored by Sen. Peacock, passed after three sets of technical amendments were adopted. This bill clarifies provisions created in Act 399 of 2014; reduces the amortization period for actuarial gains and losses from 30 years to 20 years once the System is 70 percent funded (rather than 85 percent funded); and provides for the re-amortization of schedules of gains and losses for the 2019-2020 fiscal year and every fifth fiscal year thereafter. The LASERS Board of Trustees supports this bill, as amended.
SBs 14 and 18 now move to the House Retirement Committee for consideration.
Upcoming Meetings 

The Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Committee is scheduled to meet Monday, April 11 at 1:30 p.m. There will be a discussion regarding the tax exemptions for retirement benefits paid by public retirement systems.

The House Retirement Committee is scheduled to meet Thursday, April 14 at 9:00 a.m.  Four bills are on the agenda that would impact LASERS if passed:
HB 14, sponsored by Rep. Pearson, replaces the chairmen of the House and Senate committees on retirement with the speaker of the House of Representatives and the president of the Senate as trustees on each state and statewide retirement system board. The LASERS Board of Trustees has not yet taken a position on this bill.
HB 32, sponsored by Rep. Jones, authorizes a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) of up to 1.5 percent (based on the amount of funds available in the Experience Account) for LASERS retirees and beneficiaries and provides for the order in which credits and debits shall be applied to the Experience Account (the Experience Account will not be refilled in years when a COLA is granted). The LASERS Board of Trustees has not yet taken a position on this bill.

HB 33, sponsored by Rep. Jones, authorizes the LASERS Board of Trustees to grant Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs) without legislative approval when the COLA conditions are met. COLAs shall be based on the first $60,000 of the retiree's annual benefit and the $60,000 limit shall increase based on any increase in the CPI-U beginning July 1, 2028. The LASERS Board has not yet taken a position on this bill.
HB 910, sponsored by Rep. Talbot, prohibits membership in LASERS for employees of a primary health center established under federal law whose first date of employment is on or after September 1, 2016 (Excelth is the impacted LASERS entity). The LASERS Board of Trustees is neutral on this bill.
The Senate Retirement Committee is not scheduled to meet next Monday, April 11.

Please note that meeting schedules are subject to change. Check the LASERS website daily for updates and for detailed information about proposed retirement legislation that may impact LASERS if passed.

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