Dear OREA Leaders:
Well, the time is almost here. The Oklahoma 56th Legislature convenes Monday, February 6th, at noon.
Your OREA president, lobbyist, and executive director have been meeting with legislators this last week.
There are some proposed bills that would have a significant impact on TRS, including (but not limited to) the following:
HB 1340—Creates a one-time distribution (or stipend) for members of the public retirement systems. (McDaniel). We have already been working on some changes to this bill since it was originally filed. We think this has promise for providing some relief for retirees.
HB 1162—(Pension Protection Act) This bill includes language that would affect the retirement age of participants in the TRS. (McDaniel)
HB 1172—(Retirement Freedom Act of 2017) This bill would create an optional defined contribution plan for TRS. (McDaniel). We are concerned that this bill will open the way for a mandatory defined contribution plan in the future. At best, it could lead to a long, slow death of the secure retirement educators have been promised and expect. We will monitor this bill closely as the session continues. As you know, our goal is to protect and improve the TRS defined benefit plan for current and future retirees. No evidence exists that says a defined contribution plan would do that. We will oppose these efforts.
HB 1328—Places a retired educators on the TRS Board (Perryman).
HB 1178—Creates a 2% COLA for TRS retired members and beneficiaries (Meredith).
HB 1348—Increases the death benefit paid from TRS, currently $5000 to $7500 (Condit).
HB 1238—Eliminates retirement earnings limit after 60 days. (Hardin)
SB 428—Lifts earnings cap for a retiree after 3 years and changes to 1 year (Smalley).
We will continue to closely monitor the above and all additional bills that impact our members.
Please let us know if you have been meeting with legislators from your area and what type of response you are getting. Let us know if we can assist you in any way.
Thanks for all you do,