|Meeting Wednesday, House and Senate Committees passed separate bills that address benefits and other aspects of the retirement system for sheriff’s deputies.
The Senate Pensions Committee adopted Senate Bill 609. The House Finance Committee adopted House Bill 5267, a companion measure.
SB609 and HB5267 make the following changes:
The surviving spouse of a DSRS member who dies due to injury, illness or disease resulting from occupational risks or hazards, including injury, illness or disease resulting from an occupational risk or hazard while engaged in the performance of his or her duties as a deputy sheriff would receive benefits in equal monthly installments in an amount equal to the greater of:
1. Two-thirds of the annual compensation received by the deceased member during the last 12 full months of contributory service (currently preceding twelve-month period);
2. “If the member dies after meeting early or normal retirement age requirements, the monthly amount which the spouse would have received had the member retired the day before his or her death and then died.” The provision is effective if the retirant elected a 100% joint and survivor annuity with the spouse as the joint annuitant.
According to Committee Counsels, the provisions allow the surviving spouse’s retirement benefit to be calculated on a full 12 months rather than pro-rated.
In any case where a member who has been a contributing member for at least 10 years dies prior to retirement from any cause as specified in law (duties pertaining to service) and not due to “vicious habits, intemperance, or willful misconduct on his or her part,” the CPRB will pay equal monthly payments annually to the surviving spouse during his or her lifetime, a sum equal to the greater of:
· One-half of the annual compensation received by the deceased member during the last 12 full months of contributory service; or
· “If the member dies after meeting early or normal retirement age requirements, the monthly amount which the spouse would have received had the member retired the day before his or her death and then died.” The provision is effective if the retirant elected a 100 percent joint and survivor annuity with the spouse as the joint annuitant.
Any member who retired under early retirement and is subsequently re-employed in covered employment and who again retires shall have his or her retirement annuity recalculated as if he or she were retiring at an age calculated by adding his or her original early retirement age to the number of years and months during which he or she was re-employed and contributing to the plan. In the event the artificially determined age, as determined in accordance with the preceding sentence, exceeds 60, the board shall not make any reduction for early retirement.
The Committee also approved similar bills relating to the Municipal Police Officers and Firefighters Retirement System, Emergency Medical Services Retirement System, and Natural Resources Police Officers Retirement System.
According to House Finance Counsel, the Consolidated Public Employment Retirement Board (CPRB) recommended the bills for passage. The purpose of the bills, according to Counsel, is to codify existing CPRB practice so all retirement system have similar provisions through eliminating conflicting provisions of code.
House Finance Counsel also explained the measures, if adopted as Committee Substitutes, included non-substantive, technical changes.
Bills have second references to the respective Senate and House Finance Committees.