LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

OREA LEGISLATIVE UPDATE - FEBRUARY 24, 2017

Thanks to your diligence, this last week started off with a win. Senate Bill 329 was defeated in the Senate Insurance and Retirement Committee. In fact, OREA was mentioned as an influencing factor by more than one member of the committee! Health Insurance is a crucial benefit that was EARNED over the course of a career, and it continues to be a top priority. Later that same day, Rep. Michael Rogers agreed to “lay over” HB 1630, the companion bill to SB329, so it was not even heard in committee that day. We have heard through various sources that talks to continue to “reform” or “do something” with HealthChoice, and we may see some new language presented as early as next week. So, right now, it’s wait and see.

HB 1162:  This bill passed out of committee and will now go to the House floor. The original language would have raised the minimum retirement age of educators to 62, with 90 points, full retirement at 67. Through thoughtful conversations with Rep. McDaniel, the language has instead been changed to raise the number of years of full vesting from 5 years to 7. This would mean a savings to the TRS system in the low millions of dollars. We appreciate Rep. McDaniel for working with retired educators on this issue.

HB 1172: The Banking, Financial Services & Pensions (BFS&P) Committee meets next Tuesday at 1:30. I have reason to believe that this bill will be on the agenda. The original language of this bill provides for an “optional” defined contribution plan for new hires. A defined contribution plan [also known as a 401(k) or 403(b) plan] does not guarantee retirement income will last through retirement, fluctuates in value with the stock market, requires that employees decide how to invest (and withdraw) retirement savings, and are much more expensive to manage—creating a more expensive burden for the state and TRS. In addition, with every employee pulled out of the system, the overall health of the system weakens.

*Rep. McDaniel has shared with us that he is pulling employees in PK-12 schools out of the bill’s language; he wants to create a DC for higher education (including all regional universities and community colleges) and possibly include career and technology education in the DC plan. IF YOU ARE A HIGHER EDUCATION OR CAREER TECH EMPLOYEE and have definite feelings about this bill, please contact Rep. McDaniel and members of the BFS&P Committee.

Randy McDaniel, Dist. 83, Chair; Room 409; 405-557-7409                                                                             

Scott McEachin, Dist. 67, Vice-chair; Room 438; 405-557-7341

Meloyde Blancett, Dist. 78; Room 510; 405-557-7334

Avery Frix, Dist. 13; Room 328B; 405-557-7302

Kyle Hilbert, Dist. 29; Room 330; 405-557-7353

Ryan Martinez, Dist. 39; Room 338; 405-557-7342

John Montgomery, Dist. 62; Room 304; 405-557-7374

Charles Ortega, Dist. 52; Room 305A; 405-557-7369

David Perryman, Dist. 56; Room 540; 405-557-7401

Eric Proctor, Dist. 77; Room 540A; 405-557-7410

Michael Rogers, Dist. 98; Room 302; 405-557-7362

Earl Sears, Dist. 11; Room 439; 405-557-7358

In addition, pulling any employees out of the system, weakens the system for all of us.

OTHER PENDING ISSUES

We are hearing that there will be an attempt to CAP the TRS dedicated revenue stream (5% of sales, use, income tax and lottery). By how much, we have no idea.

THE REVENUE FAILURE of the state of Oklahoma that was declared this week will affect everything that happens at the Capitol, and our pensions and health insurance will be vulnerable. There is a good article that was printed in the Tulsa World this week about the quality of our State’s insurance plan. http://www.tulsaworld.com/opin...

Thanks for all that you do,
Sabra Tucker

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