For Immediate Release: April 13, 2022
Contact: Marty Karlon, Director of Communications & Legislative Affairs, (603) 410-3594; firstname.lastname@example.org
CONCORD, NH – Eleven legislative proposals related to the New Hampshire Retirement System (NHRS, the retirement system) remain active in the N.H. Senate, including three stand-alone bills added to the budget trailer bill.
“Crossover Day,” which was April 6 this year, is the deadline for all House bills to go to the Senate and all Senate bills to go to the House. Not all bills that cross over will be enacted into law. To become law, legislation must be agreed to by majorities in both the House and Senate, after which it is sent to the Governor, who may veto the bill, sign it into law, or let it become law without a signature.
Legislation under consideration this year includes changes to benefit formulas for Group II (Police and Fire) members hired prior to July 1, 2011, and not vested prior to January 1, 2012; a one-time payment to Group II retirees and beneficiaries retired more than 10 years as of July 1, 2023; and modifications to accidental death benefits for active members.
The NHRS-related bills passed by the House are:
- House Bill 2: This is the 145-page budget trailer bill. The following NHRS-related bills have been consolidated into HB 2:
- House Bill 50: Provides a one-time, $50 million appropriation toward the retirement system’s unfunded pension liability in fiscal year 2023.
- House Bill 436: Adjusts, over a 10-year period, the application of the minimum age, minimum years of service, average final compensation, and annuity multipliers for Group II members in service prior to July 1, 2011, and not vested prior to January 1, 2012. These changes will be funded by a recurring state appropriation of $25 million per year in fiscal years 2023 through 2032 and through employer contributions.
- House Bill 571: Authorizes a one-time payment to a retired Group II member or beneficiary. Group II retirees (or beneficiaries) retired 10 to 19 years as of July 1, 2023, are eligible for a payment ranging from $1,100-$2,900 depending on the number of years retired; Group II retirees (or beneficiaries) retired 20 or more years as of July 1, 2023, are eligible for a payment of $3,000. Group II members with a benefit of $100,000 or more are ineligible for the one-time payment.
- House Bill 30: This bill allows county commissioners to exempt the county chief administrative officer from compulsory NHRS membership at the time of initial hiring or appointment.
- House Bill 193: This bill makes various changes to the administration of the NHRS, including clarification of the definition of teacher job share, references to the system's annual comprehensive financial report, and procedures related to the purchase of service credit.
- House Bill 250: The bill modifies the amount of the retirement annuity payable upon the accidental death of a member to 100 percent of average final compensation at the member's death with a maximum benefit of $85,000.
- House Bill 278: This bill ratifies a section of RSA 100-A regarding annual employer reporting of hours worked and compensation paid to retired members working part-time that was inadvertently repealed.
- House Bill 457: This bill requires NHRS to report on a quarterly basis to the office of Legislative Budget Assistant regarding compliance with the duty to make all investment decisions solely in the interest of the participants and beneficiaries.
- House Bill 461: This bill requires political subdivision employers to continue to pay retirement contributions when eliminating or transferring certain department head positions from full-time to part-time.
- House Bill 555: This bill requires the transfer of 75 percent of future state biennial surpluses to the reduction in the retirement system’s unfunded accrued liability.
- House Bill 639: This bill establishes procedures for the legalization, regulation, and taxation of cannabis; and the licensing and regulation of cannabis establishments. This bill dedicates a portion of state revenue generated through the sale of cannabis toward paying down the retirement system’s unfunded actuarial accrued liability.
In addition, three Senate bills were passed and subsequently tabled by the Senate. One or more of these bills could potentially be added to the Senate version of HB 2:
- Senate Bill 57: This bill links the recalculation of a Group I (Employee and Teacher) retiree’s NHRS benefit to his or her full retirement age under the federal Social Security system.
- Senate Bill 114: This bill provides that the state shall pay 7.5% of local employer retirement contributions for Group I Teachers and Group II Police and Fire members.
- Senate Bill 205: This bill grants a 1.5% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) on the first $50,000 of the pension benefit to retirees who retired on or before July 1, 2018, or any beneficiary of such retiree who is receiving a pension benefit. The COLA would take effect on the retired member's first anniversary date occurring on or after July 1, 2024.
Seven other 2023 bills related to NHRS have been killed, tabled, or retained in committee by the House or Senate and no further action is expected on these bills.
Additional information on NHRS-related legislation is compiled on the NHRS Legislative Updates page (https://www.nhrs.org/about-nhrs/legislative-updates). From this page, users can click on the bill number to go directly to the “bill docket” pages on the New Hampshire General Court website for additional details, including the current status of a bill, upcoming hearings (if any), and links to the full text.
NHRS provides retirement, disability, and death benefits to its eligible members and their beneficiaries. The State of New Hampshire and more than 460 local government employers participate in NHRS for their employees, teachers, firefighters, and police officers. NHRS has more than 48,500 active members and 42,000 benefit recipients. NHRS administers a defined benefit plan qualified as a tax-exempt entity under sections 401(a) and 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code.
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