The weather certainly slowed things down at the Capitol this week. One comment I read on Twitter Wednesday evening said, “Oklahoma City is cancelled tomorrow.” I had a good laugh at that, but of course, transportation crews, linemen, firemen, police, highway patrolmen, and other first responders were busier than ever. Our gratitude goes out to those men and women that work to make life easier and safer for the rest of us! Many of those folks retire and are part of one of the state’s pension systems. Like retired educators, they have also not had a cost of living increase in TEN YEARS.   

A bill granting a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for retirees in state pension systems, House Bill 2985 by Rep. Avery Frix, should be heard by the House Banking and Business Committee on Tuesday, February 27th at 1:30 p.m. This bill is our best chance to obtain a COLA for retired state employees this year. The deadline for hearing bills in committee is March 1st, so the bill will have to be heard this week.

It is important to remember that any COLA would be paid for out of the retirement fund and NOT out of general revenue. This COLA does NOT take any money away from other programs or services and does not require any revenue to be taken out of the state budget. Also, the COLA can only be given if it does not jeopardize the health of the pension fund it comes from. If given, it will not put the plan at risk.

The bill’s language is still being finalized but we expect the COLA to be four percent to begin on November 1, 2018. There are still negotiations concerning granting the COLA to persons who have just retired.

The stipend bill, HB 1340, also passed out of committee earlier this month. The difference between the two is that a stipend is only a ONE TIME PAYMENT, whereas a COLA is a permanent increase in benefits.

The House Banking and Business Committee will be voting on bills this TUESDAY. If you have an opportunity please give them a call asking them to support HB 2985.

Name District            Phone
Hall, Ellise - Chair      100 405-557-7403
McEachin, Scott - Vice Chair 67 405-557-7341
McDaniel, Randy - Chair Emeritus 83 405-557-7409
Frix, Avery 13 405-557-7302
Bennett, Forrest 92 405-557-7404
Blancett, Meloyde 78 405-557-7334
Dunnington, Jason 88 405-557-7396
Goodwin, Regina 73 405-557-7406
Martinez, Ryan 39 405-557-7342
McBride, Mark 53 405-557-7346
McDugle, Kevin 12 405-557-7388
Montgomery, John 62 405-557-7374
Mulready, Glen 68 405-557-7340
Ortega, Charles 52 405-557-7369
Perryman, David 56 405-557-7401
Proctor, Eric 77 405-557-7410
Rogers, Michael 98 405-557-7362
Sanders, Mike 59 405-557-7407
Sears, Earl 11 405-557-7358
Taylor, Zack 28 405-557-7372
Teague, Tess 101 405-557-7395
West, Kevin 54 405-557-7343

Thanks for all you do and THANK YOU for being a member!

Sabra Tucker

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