The focus on cost-saving pension reforms continued through the 2017 legislative session, but lawmakers also passed measures to ease pension-related burdens on local employers and to provide needed benefits for Arizona’s public safety employees.
HB 2485: EORP; PSPRS; CORP; MODIFICATIONS (Chapter 269)
Authored by PSPRS, passed unanimously by the Arizona House and Senate, and signed into law on May 3 by Governor Doug Ducey, House Bill 2485 clarifies 2016 pension reforms and offers employers some relief to escalating contribution rates.
This law, also known as the PSPRS “admin-bill,” reverses a reform provision passed last year that shortened PSPRS’ available amortization period to 20 from 30 years, which eliminated employers’ ability to “refinance” unfunded liability payments over a longer time period to reduce their contribution rates. Now, under the new law, local governments – state agencies are excluded – can seek to increase their individual amortization period up to 30 years by petitioning the PSPRS Board of Trustees through formal resolution. HB2485 included an emergency clause and became effective upon signing.
Click here for more information about HB2485. Several key provisions of the law are as follows:
- Clarifies benefits for Tier 3 employees killed or disabled in the line of duty during their initial 90-day period before their selected benefit structure takes effect
- Provides that DROP payments be directly deposited into the PSPRS Defined Contribution plan before members may withdraw or transfer funds
- Allows PSPRS retirees to buy health insurance through a welfare benefit trust and continue their eligibility for existing subsidies
SB1063: PSPRS; RISK POOL (CHAPTER 235)
Senate Bill 1063 stipulates that starting July 1, 2017, all employers will pool their Tier 3 retiree, death and disability liabilities. Additionally, all individual employer plans who currently have 250 or less public safety employees will have their assets and liabilities pooled (for Tier 3 members only) while plans with more than 250 members will remain independent and continue as individual agent plans. However, all Tier 3 costs will be split 50/50 between the employees and employers within the pool and for each independent plan.
Click here for more information about SB1063. Several key provisions of the law are as follows:
- Except for state agencies and counties, if only one employer plan exceeds 250 members, the companion plan is also exempted from the pool
- Tribal governments can decline risk pooling by notifying PSPRS before January 1, 2018
- Tribal governments will have 90 days after joining PSPRS to opt-out of risk pooling
- Employers will be “charged back” (billed by PSPRS) for decisions that create active member contribution expenses/deviations that are greater than 20 percent of the average cost of risk-pooling employers
Due to the outcome of SB1063 and the most recent actuarial experience study, Tier 3 DB contribution rates have been revised to account for the risk pool’s and each individual group’s unique demographics. These contribution rates are now available to employers and local boards.
SB1442: CORRECTIONS OFFICER RETIREMENT PLAN; MODIFICATIONS (CHAPTER 163)
With the passing of this bill, lawmakers and the governor closed the Corrections Officer Retirement Plan for corrections officers hired on or after July 1, 2018. The reform puts future corrections officers into the 401(a) Defined Contribution (DC) plan managed by PSPRS, but provides probation and surveillance officers the option to choose between a pension (Defined Benefit) and the DC plan.
Details of the DC plan include a default 7 percent employee contribution with an employer match of 5 percent. Unlike reforms to PSPRS, which require employees to work 10 years for full vesting/ownership of employer matching contributions, the CORP plan provides full vesting within only three years.
The legislation also works in tandem with a referendum set to appear on the 2018 ballot to replace CORP’s permanent benefit increase (PBI) with a cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) similar to what Prop 124 did for the PSPRS plan. Additionally, this bill requires that PSPRS and each employer publish on their websites the funding ratio of each plan in the system. Click here for more information on SB1442.
SB1115 (CHAPTER 266) PSPRS; RETIREMENT BENEFIT CALCULATION
Senate Bill 1115 allows Tier 2 employees (those hired on or after Jan. 1, 2012, and before July 1, 2017) to retire with at least 15 years of credited service when they reach age 52 and a half. Prior to this law, Tier 2 public safety members could not retire prior to age 55 and 25 years of service. Click here for more information about SB1115.
To view proposed and enacted legislation from previous sessions, click here.
Information regarding current Arizona legislative session activity, or to learn more about Arizona’s legislative process, please visit the Arizona State Legislature website at http://www.azleg.gov/. This site provides detailed information such as committee schedules, live proceedings of hearings and State House or Senate floor sessions.
The following statutes are not an official version of the Arizona Revised Statutes. If there are any differences or discrepancies, the official version will prevail.
The Administrative Office of the PSPRS provides general benefit information for members in the PSPRS, CORP, and the EORP. If there are any differences or discrepancies, the official version of the Arizona Revised Statutes will prevail.
Click here for EODCRS information.