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House | June 12, 2014 | Chamber | House Personal

Full MP3 Audio File

Sergeant in Arms, Reggie Seals, Marvin Lee and Mike Clampet. Like to thank them for their continued service to our committee. We also have several pages who are serving us today. We have Kate Maxwell from Cumberland County who’s sponsored by Representative Lucas. We have Carolyn May from Wake County, sponsored by Representative Duane Hall. Devon McNeil from Cumberland County, sponsored by Representative Szoka. And Taylor Nordun from Wake County, sponsored by Representative Stam. Thank you for being with us today. Also like to thank our clerk and our staff, who are always helpful in us getting our business done. Today we have really one item of business which is broken down into three parts, all of which come from Senate Bill 744. Actually the PCS we have for that, version 5 I believe you probably had in your offices this morning. We have printed off for you the relevant parts that need to come before the state personnel committee and the reason these parts have to come before the state personnel committee is that they deal with parts of the state pension plans. And anything dealing with any of the state retirement plans, by house rules, must be approved by the state personnel committee. So that’s why we have to approve these three changes that are in the budget. If you’ll look at your bill summary, I think we can get these pretty quickly. We do have staff people if you need more than my brief explanation, we can get. But there are three pieces to it. Under your bill summary here, the first one is in section 36.14 which is on the very first page of the other printout that you have. This just grants costs of living adjustments to three retirement plans. The TSERS, the CJRS and the LRS plan. And these are detailed in the three paragraphs, the first three paragraphs on what’s called page 248 of Senate Bill 744 that you have printed before you. The second aspect is something we’ve already voted on and already approved, not only in this committee but I think on the House floor. This comes from House Bill 1034 and if you remember, it allows for in-service distributions for paid firefighters from the firefighters’ pension fund, the fire and rescue pension fund. We’ve dealt with that already. We’ve already approved that so I don’t know why we, unless we’ve changed our minds, this is the very same thing that appeared in House Bill 1034. [SPEAKER CHANGES] If I might, Mr. Chairman. I think I understand what you said and what that does, but I’ve asked a couple people and I got different answers from everybody. [SPEAKER CHANGES] All right, I’ll get our staff to explain that in just a minute. And then the third one, gives a very slight enhanced benefit to the National Guard Pension Fund. If you’ll look at the bill summary again, section 35.15c, right now after 20 years of service you get a $95 per month benefit, and then an additional $9.50 a month for each year you served up to a maximum of $190. What we’re doing is changing three figures slightly. Rather than starting out at $95 a month after 20 years, you start out at $100 a month. Rather than increase it by $9.50 a month, you increase it by $10 a month for each additional year of service, and rather than maxing out at $190 you max out at $200. Those are the three changes to that aspect. Representative Brawley, would you please restate your question? And I’ll get one of our staff people to answer that and then we’ll take any other questions that the committee may have on these issues. [SPEAKER CHANGES] On page 249, line 32, section B, just exactly what does that do? [SPEAKER CHANGES] David, you want to take that? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes. David Vanderweide of fiscal research division. So, currently in the Fire and Rescue Squad Workers’ pension fund, this is a fund that covers volunteer firefighters and paid firefighters and rescue squad workers. It’s $170 a month benefit. It’s separate from any local governmental employees retirement system or Charlotte firefighters or any other retirement benefit that would provide more of a replacement of your income. This is just $170 a month. Currently volunteer firefighters are allowed to receive this benefit at age 55, even though they are still serving. Paid firefighters are not allowed to receive this benefit at age 55 if they are still working as a paid firefighter. This would remove that restriction and allow that benefit to be paid at 55 even if the individual member is still being paid as a firefighter or rescue squad worker. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, go ahead. [SPEAKER CHANGES] This only affects the $170 benefit. It doesn’t affect the rest of the pensions, correct? [SPEAKER CHANGES] That is correct. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Further questions from the committee? Yes, Representative Turner. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I just have a curious point that I need clarification on. Before I came as a representative, I had a firefighter who was concerned about one of their members in their volunteer organization had taken a sabbatical while his children were small, and then had returned to service. Are they able to rejoin the retirement system at that point, or is that a [SPEAKER CHANGES] There are service purchase provisions that would allow someone, you are allowed to rejoin, and there are service purchase provisions. None of that has changed in this bill. We can [SPEAKER CHANGES] Any other questions? Representative McNeill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Just a curiosity question. On the bill portion of this, on the last page, there’s some capital appropriations. Did that just happen to be printed out? It doesn’t have anything to do with today? And the sections above it, dealing with law enforcement. [SPEAKER CHANGES] You are correct. They just happened to be on that page. The only things we have to approve here by house rules are the pension aspects of the budget, that is correct. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Hurley. [SPEAKER CHANGES] At the appropriate time I’ll make the motion, whatever you need. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, I think we’ve finally worked out what motion we need. Any other questions? Hearing none, Representative Hurley, we need to have a motion for a favorable report to the fifth edition of Senate Bill 744, which is this edition. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I so move. [SPEAKER CHANGES] All right, thank you very much. You’ve heard the motion to give a favorable report to the fifth edition of Senate Bill 744. All in favor say aye. All opposed, no. Thank you very much. And those of you that are in judiciary, can now go to that meeting.