Update on SB 560: The author of the bill has decided to lay over the bill—meaning the bill is postponed until a future time, most likely next year. We will notify you if it comes up again this session. This means that technically there was no vote on the item—call and contacts from you HAVE MADE A DIFFERENCE!
In Tuesday’s meeting of the Banking, Financial Services & Pensions Committee, Rep. McDaniel presented a committee substitute of the bill. The new language excludes PK-12 schools and Career and Technology Centers from having the optional defined contribution plan. The optional DC would only apply to higher education institutions only. OU and OSU are already participating in a DC plan, and this bill would add the regional universities and community colleges. McDaniel mentioned in committee that he is still considering including career tech, but is going to hold off until he hears more from career tech employees. If the bill passes the House floor, it could always be amended in the Senate, so we will continue tracking this bill! We will let you know if there are attempts to change the language. Although it feels like this legislation is letting the “camel’s nose under the tent,” it certainly better than the attempt to eliminate a defined benefit for educators!!! Thank you for your diligence in advocating to protect our defined benefit.
Oklahoma is not the only state whose public pensions are under attack. This is a nationwide attempt, and we are faring better than some.
We must continue to share the message about the advantages of a defined benefit pension plan. In the BFS&P Committee, voting “no” to include the remainder of higher ed in the DC were Representative David Perryman and Rep. Eric Proctor. The remainder of the committee voted yes, including of course, Rep. McDaniel, Rep. Scott McEachin, Rep. Meloyde Blancett, Rep. Avery Frix, Rep. Kyle Hilbert, Rep. Ryan Martinez, Rep. John Montgomery, Rep. Charles Ortega, Rep. Michael Rogers, and Rep. Earl Sears.
Although rumor still indicates that there will be attempt to CAP dedicated revenue from TRS, there is no evidence yet of that happening. But of course, there’s no revenue source for a teacher pay raise yet either. Things may get a little ugly once the legislature starts hammering out the budget. So…stay tuned. We shall see what next week brings. Rep. McDaniel is dedicated to preserving the dedicated revenue to the TRS. (On a positive note, at the February TRS Board meeting, it was reported that assets are now over $15 billion and the rate of return so far for the year is 19.41%. This is great news.)
Stay diligent friends!
Until next week,