There was one bill passed during the 2009 legislative session that impacted OPERS members. Below is a description of SB 899 which amends the “felony forfeiture” provision in 51 Okla. Statutes, Section 24.1. Senate Bill 212 amends a provision of law dealing with the Board of Trustees’ authority to set employer contribution rates for the URSJJ. House Bill 1254 provides additional funding to the URSJJ.
Senate Bill 899
This bill amends 51 O.S. § 24.1 dealing with the loss of public officials’ positions and pensions if they are convicted of certain crimes. Under prior law, state officers and employees could lose their state pensions if the crime amounted to a “violation of the oath of office” of that official. This provision was removed and replaced by identifying specific crimes that will forfeit an official’s pension. Felony crimes such as bribery, forgery, perjury and campaign-related offenses are all specifically identified. In addition, other felony crimes related to the official’s office or employment will trigger a forfeiture. The procedure followed by the retirement system when receiving notice of a conviction or plea of guilt to one of these crimes is spelled out. When the system receives such notice, the pension of that individual is suspended with the right of an appeal to the system. The Governor signed the bill on April 21, 2009.
Senate Bill 212
This bill deletes the mandatory requirement that the URSJJ never fall below a 100% funded ratio. Instead, a target of “at or near” a 90% funded ratio is adopted, coupled with the preservation of the Board’s ability to adjust contribution rates. The bill makes the contribution rate setting power of the Board more flexible. Under prior law, once the URSJJ has a funded ratio below 100%, the Board had to set a very high employer contribution rate. It had to be high enough to get the funded ratio back to 100% in a single fiscal year. Under the revised law, the Board and staff can work toward achieving the setting and collecting of the actuarially determined employer rate over a period of time. The Governor signed the bill on June 1, 2009.
House Bill 1254
This bill was a spending bill for the Court System. It provides in Section 9 that $6 million in the Supreme Court’s Management Information System’s fund, may be used to pay employer contributions to the URSJJ. The Governor signed the bill on June 2, 2009.