At the Capitol
The legislative session began on January 8 and must conclude by May 20. The Legislative Commission on Pensions and Retirement (LCPR) first met on Tuesday, February 26, and will continue to meet on Tuesdays until the Commission concludes its business. The PERA Board has three proposals that will be heard by the Commission. Check our Facebook and Twitter pages for updates as they occur.
Phased Retirement Option (PRO)
The PRO is set to expire in June 30, 2019. With the support of both employers and employees, the PERA Board has recommended to pursue a legislative change that would make the program a permanent part of our benefit structure in the General Plan. Along with making the PRO permanent, it is also proposed PRO eligibility be restricted to employees who phase into retirement through employment through the same employer and the annual renewal process administered by PERA be eliminated.
- PRO bill approved by LCPR (article) – The LCPR approved the PRO bill at their March 19 meeting.
Minneapolis Police and Fire Relief Associations (MPRA/MPFA)
MPRA and MPFA merged into the PERA P&F Plan in 2012. The City of Minneapolis is required to make an annual contribution to fully fund the plans and ensure the P&F Plan does not subsidize the benefits payable to the relief association members. As a result of current statute, the contribution rate for Minneapolis was reevaluated in the past months. In an effort to protect the fund and allow Minneapolis a fixed annual contribution rate, a mutually agreed upon annual rate was determined. The Board recently approved a $7.7 million annual contribution rate through 2031 to fully fund the plan.
Statewide Volunteer Firefighter (SVF)
During the December board meeting, the PERA Board approved the Statewide Volunteer Firefighter Advisory Board Recommendations. These recommendations are administrative in nature.
- Change the name of the Voluntary Statewide Volunteer Firefighter Retirement Plan to the Statewide Volunteer Firefighter Plan;
- Change Minnesota Statutes 353G.11, to allow the fire chief for a lump-sum retirement division to request a cost estimate from the executive director of an increase in the service pension level;
- Change Minnesota Statutes 353G.09, subdivision 3, to separate the defined benefit and defined contribution computations into separate sections, clarify the application of non-forfeitable percentages, and add a section exclusively for deferred service pensions for former volunteer firefighters;
- Change Minnesota Statutes 353G.05, to ensure that coverage elections include joint approval from the municipality (or municipalities in the case of a joint powers entity) or firefighting corporation and the relief association;
- Change Minnesota Statutes 353G.13, to ensure that when a SVF member leaves a fire department, the benefit that they will receive upon retirement from that department is based on vesting service determined using all years of service through the end of service with that respective department, including years of volunteer service accumulated prior to that specific department. Subsequent years of service with a different department will not be considered in the benefit determination.
Good pension policy is key
PERA balances equity, fairness, and costs while continuing to improve benefit security and plan stability.
We take action when necessary by collaborating with plan members and employers to reach common ground and keep PERA benefits a valuable source of retirement income.
Looking Back: 2018 Session
With the unanimous passage by both the Senate and the House, the Governor signed the 2018 Omnibus Retirement Bill on May 31, 2018. The 2018 Omnibus Retirement Bill contained benefit reform provisions for PERA and Minnesota’s three other retirement systems. The legislation immediately reduced the State’s pension liabilities by $3.4 billion with an additional estimated reduction of $2.7 billion over the next 30 years. The bill addressed benefit reforms, cost-of-living adjustments, and member and employer contributions. The legislation put PERA’s retirement plans on a better path towards full funding and safeguards the retirement security of public employees. Click below for key materials containing more information regarding the 2018 Omnibus Retirement Bill.
- The LCPR prepared a detailed summary of the legislation.
- Our legislative handout addressing the bill’s impact on PERA.
- Star Tribune notes the signage of the 2018 Omnibus Retirement bill.
- Star Tribune editorial emphasizes the need for a 2018 Retirement bill.
- Pioneer Press reports on the unanimous passage in the Senate of the 2018 Omnibus Retirement bill.