Senate Retirement Committee Approves Bills for Actuarial Study

The Senate Retirement Committee met Friday, June 4, to discuss and approve legislation for actuarial study.

Retirement legislation deemed to have a fiscal impact on public employee retirement plans must be introduced in the first year of the legislative biennium – the 2021 legislative session in this case. The retirement committee from which chamber the bill originates must then approve an actuarial study of the legislation. This study is designed to determine the legislation’s fiscal impact. Bills approved by the committees for study are then eligible to move through the legislative process in 2022, the second year of the legislative biennium.

The following bills discussed by the committee would impact the Teacher Retirement System (TRS):

SB 167 by Sen. Nan Orrock (D-Atlanta) would provide a semi-annual 1.5 percent cost of living adjustment (COLA) for members of the Employees’ Retirement System (ERS). If state revenue in the prior fiscal year decreases by 3 percent or more below the revenue estimate or if state revenue declines for three consecutive months during the current fiscal year, the governor would have the authority to suspend the ERS COLA through executive action. This executive order could only be issued three times per 10 consecutive calendar years. The bill would also constrain the governor to suspending the ERS COLA for two consecutive calendar years. Strong efforts have been made by retired state employees to provide COLAs for ERS members similar to the automatic TRS COLA. ERS members have not received a COLA since Fiscal Year 2009. The ERS plan includes members of the Public School Employees’ Retirement System.

SB 267 by Sen. Sheikh Rahman (D-Lawrenceville) would allow retired TRS members who elected to participate in an optional retirement allowance that included one or more beneficiaries to change a beneficiary one time every three years. The member’s retirement allowance or allowance to a named beneficiary would be recalculated to ensure the cost of the benefit would be actuarially equivalent to the allowance in effect prior to naming a new beneficiary.

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