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Legislative Information

 

Link to Nebraska Legislature Website

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Committee on Nebraska Retirement Systems

  Sen. Mark Kolterman Chairperson
  Sen. Mike Groene
  Sen. Rick Kolowski
  Sen. Brett Lindstrom
  Sen. Kate Bolz
  Sen. John Stinner

Retirement Laws

  County 23-2301 through 23-2334
  Judges 24-701 through 24-714
  Domestic Relations Order 42-1101 through 42-1113
  Investment Council 72-1237 through 72-1269
  School 79-901 through 79-977.03
  Patrol/DROP 81-2014 through 81-2041
  State 84-1301 through 84-1333
  PERB/DCP 84-1501 through 84-1513

Legislative Archives

  105th Legislature - See Below
  104th Legislature - 2015/2016
  103rd Legislature - 2013/2014
  102nd Legislature - 2011/2012
  101st Legislature - 2009/2010
  100th Legislature - 2007/2008
  99th Legislature - 2005/2006
  98th Legislature - 2003/2004

105th Legislature

2017 Legislative Action

Please Note: The legislative descriptions below are not intended to serve as a comprehensive explanation of proposed or passed legislation. A link to each bill is provided for individuals who wish to review the full content.

Bill # Description Status
LB 169
All Plans

This bill would exempt retirement benefits from NE State taxes.

Held Over

LB 412
All Plans

This bill would require the Nebraska State Investment Officer to:

  • "Determine the extent to which state funds are invested in companies or funds which derive a substantial portion of their revenue from extraction or combustion of fossil fuels."
  • "Review the extent to which state funds are invested in companies or funds which derive a substantial portion of their revenue from clean energy and opportunities for investment in clean energy investment."
  • "Report on the volatility and risk associated with identified fossil fuel investments."
  • "Begin the process of clean energy investment to the extent it is consistent with prudent investment strategies."
  • "Provide a status report to the Governor and to the Clerk of the Legislature no later than December 15, 2017."

Held Over

LB 414
Judges

This bill would change how the Judges Plan is funded. Effective July 1, 2017, the portion of court fees currently appropriated to the retirement fund would be diverted to the general fund. Each July 1st an annual employer matching contribution (of a currently undesignated percentage of member compensation) would then be remitted to the Judges’ retirement fund.

Held Over

LB 415
All Plans (As Amended)

School
Increases the minimum age to qualify for the “Rule of 85” from 55 to 60. This provision would apply to members hired on or after July 1, 2018, and participants who have taken a refund or retirement benefit and returned to membership (as a new employee) on or after July 1, 2018.

Further defines service credit in the School Plan for employees hired on or after July 1, 2018. Used sick and vacation leave must be leave accrued by the member in order to be counted as service credit. “Sick Leave Bank” or donated leave used by a member would not be eligible for service credit. Jury duty is added to the definition of service credit when the member is paid full compensation by the employer. Adds language limiting service credit to only those items found in the statutory definitions.

Clarifies early retirement incentives are not counted as compensation for all plan members, and further defines these payments.

Defines disability as “…an inability to engage in any substantially gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which was initially diagnosed or became disabling while the member was an active participant in the plan and which can be expected to result in death or be of a long-continued and indefinite duration.” In addition, the bill changes the application time frame for disability retirements. Under the new provisions, all disability applications must be made within one year of termination of employment.

Removes the language allowing employers to pay for purchases of service under the 12-month preretirement provision and requires these purchases be paid by the employee.

Employers participating in the plan must provide written notification of all terminations. This notification shall include whether or not the member accepted and received a retirement incentive and written certification from both the member and employer that, prior to the member's termination, there was no prearranged written or verbal agreement to return to work in any capacity.

Changes the valuation for lump sum settlements to an estate from the Moody’s Triple A Bond Index to the Barclays Long U.S. Corporate Bond Index.

State & County
Currently, State and County Cash Balance annuity rates are determined using the 1994 Group Annuity Mortality Table. This bill would allow the use of updated mortality factors. The new mortality assumptions for calculating cash balance annuity rates shall use a unisex mortality table recommended by the plan actuary and approved by the Public Employees Retirement Board (PERB) after completion of an actuarial experience study, a benefit adequacy study, or a plan valuation. Retirement benefits will be calculated using the mortality table and actuarial factors in effect when the member begins retirement (Retirement Date). These provisions would apply to Cash Balance members hired after January 1, 2018; or terminated members rehired on or after January 1, 2018, who have taken a distribution or refund from their account.

Clarifies that the PERB may make adjustments to the Cash Balance interest (annuity) rate based on a recommendation from the plan actuary after completion of an actuarial experience study, a benefit adequacy study, or a plan valuation. This rate may be, but is not required to be, equal to the actuarial assumed rate of return. Retirement benefits will be calculated using the interest rate and actuarial factors in effect when the member begins retirement (Retirement Date). In addition, the bill clarifies the annuity rate for Defined Contribution members as the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation interest rate plus three-fourths of one percent, or the interest rate used for Cash Balance, whichever is lower.

Defines disability as “…an inability to engage in any substantially gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which was initially diagnosed or became disabling while the member was an active participant in the plan and which can be expected to result in death or be of a long-continued and indefinite duration.” The bill also allows the PERB to waive the requirement for a medical exam for disability retirement if the PERB determines “…extraordinary circumstances exist which preclude substantial gainful activity by the member. Such circumstances shall include hospice placement or similar confinement for a terminal illness or injury.“

Removes language requiring the PERB to provide information regarding the tax consequences of the various retirement options, to members who are eligible for retirement.

Changes provisions for military service credit. Under the new language, members who are reemployed after qualified military service will be granted vesting and benefit credit for the period of military service. The employer shall be responsible for funding military service benefits including member and employer contributions. Payments must be made within 18 months. Late payments will be subject to actuarial costs and interest. These provisions only apply to military service that begins on or after January 1, 2018 and falls within the definition of uniformed service per the Uniformed Services and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA). The bill allows the PERB to adopt and promulgate rules and regulations to carry out these provisions including, but not limited to, notification of military service, acceptable methods of payment, determining the compensation upon which the contributions must be made, and the documentation required to substantiate that the individual was reemployed pursuant to USERRA regulations.

County
Allows Counties to make quarterly, semiannual, or annual payments to individuals receiving a prior service annuity.

School, Judges, & Patrol
Members who are reemployed after qualified military service will be granted vesting and benefit credit for the period of military service. The employer shall be responsible for funding military service benefits including member and employer contributions. Payments must be made within 18 months. Late payments will be subject to actuarial costs and interest. These changes to military service credit provisions only apply to military service that falls within the definition of uniformed service per the Uniformed Services and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA). The bill allows the Public Employees Retirement Board (PERB) to adopt and promulgate rules and regulations to carry out these provisions including, but not limited to, notification of military service, acceptable methods of payment, determining the compensation upon which the contributions must be made, and the documentation required to substantiate that the individual was reemployed pursuant to USERRA regulations.

Currently, annuity rates are determined using the 1994 Group Annuity Mortality Table and an 8% interest (annuity) rate. This bill would allow the use of updated mortality factors using a unisex mortality table and allow the PERB to adjust the interest rate. The new mortality assumptions and interest rates shall be recommended by the plan actuary and approved by the PERB after completion of an actuarial experience study, a benefit adequacy study, or a plan valuation. Such interest rate may be, but is not required to be, equal to the actuarial assumed rate of return. Retirement benefits will be calculated using the mortality table, interest rate, and actuarial factors in effect when the member begins retirement (Retirement Date). These provisions would apply to members hired after July 1, 2017; or terminated members rehired on or after July 1, 2017, who have taken a retirement benefit or refund of their account.

County, Judges, School, Patrol, State
For retirement plan purposes, the bill defines hire date or date of hire as “…the first day of compensated service subject to retirement contributions.”

Judges & Patrol
Increases the filing time for retirement applications from 90 to 120 days prior to the effective date of retirement.

Judges
Clarifies language relating to the supplemental cost-of-living payments (COLP) for Judges participating in Tier 2.

Passed and Approved by Governor

LB 548
School

This bill would merge Omaha Public School Retirement (OSERS) into the Nebraska Public School Plan effective July 1, 2020. Requires NPERS use the current OSERS benefit and contribution structures for all active, deferred, inactive, disabled, and retirement members of the OSERS plan. Transfers all assets, rights, liabilities, and obligations of OSERS obligations to the School Plan. Requires the Retirement Systems Committee of the Legislature to contract with an actuary to provide an analysis that will identify the additional contribution to be made each year for additional funding that would have been required under OSERS to achieve the same funding ratio as the School Plan. Omaha Public School employees first hired on or after July 1, 2020, would participate in the School Plan provisions.

Held Over




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