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Pension bill is ‘good bipartisan work’

Published (5/20/2011)
By Nick Busse
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An omnibus retirement bill described by its sponsor as the smallest in nearly two decades appears to have bipartisan support.

Sponsored by Rep. Morrie Lanning (R-Moorhead), HF1647 proposes a variety of mostly technical changes to state laws governing public employee pension programs. The House Government Operations and Elections Committee approved the bill May 16 and sent it to the House Ways and Means Committee.

The bill represents the work of the Legislative Commission on Pensions and Retirement — a bipartisan, bicameral group that recommends legislative changes to public employee pension programs, which are governed by statute. The bill would modify actuarial assumptions for salary increases and payroll growth for several retirement plans, bringing them in line with the results of a recent actuarial experience study.

Selected other provisions in the bill include:

• modifying the way the St. Paul Teachers’ Retirement Fund Association’s post-retirement benefits are adjusted until greater funding ratios are achieved;

• increasing from three to five years the period of time after which some employees enrolled in the Duluth Teachers’ Retirement Fund Association become vested;

• specifying that new employees of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system are enrolled in the Teachers Retirement Association coverage; and

• a handful of changes relating to specific individuals in various retirement programs.

Rep. Ryan Winkler (DFL-Golden Valley) said the bill is an example of “below-the-radar, good bipartisan work.”

Sen. Julie Rosen (R-Fairmont) sponsors the companion, SF1369, which awaits action by the Senate State Government Innovation and Veterans Committee.

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