This week the NM Educational Retirement Board announced the 2019 Cost of Living Adjustment(COLA) to be applied to eligible retirees as of July 1, 2019 as follows:
>1.8% for non-disability retirees with 25 or more years of service and a monthly annuity less than or equal to $1627.76.
>1.6% for all remaining non-disability retirees.
>2% for disability retirees.
For more information on the 2019 COLA, please check the NMERB webpage at www.nmerb.org
This week in the legislative arena work continued to move very rapidly on several fronts, including: expanded background checks on sales of guns;abortion rights, hiking the minimum wage and tapping more into the permanent fund for early childhood programs and many others. At the same time numerous bills on public education continue to be heard in both the House and the Senate, while the House Appropriations Committee finalizes work on the Budget. We anticipate that HB 2, General Appropriations Act of
2019 will be rolled out to the House floor very soon, possibly late this week or early next week. Once the Budget clears the House, the HAFC Committee will begin to hear other legislation. In the mean time a number of bills are backed up in that committee.
As of February 16, 2019 there have been 1574 bills introduced.
Here are the bills we are following and their status:
HB 2, General Appropriations Act of 2019, Rep Patricia Lundstrom. This bill authorizes expenditures by State Agencies as required by law. The HAFC subcommittee approved the LFC recommendation for FY20.
LFC budget is slightly higher than the Governor's recommendation. HB 2 remains in the HAFC. NO ACTION WAS TAKEN THIS WEEK.
SB 14, Educational Retirement Changes, Sen. Stuart Ingle & Rep Tomas Salazar. To ensure fiscal strength and long-term sustainability, this bill requests eight changes to achieve full funding in a 30 year period. This week SB 14 was heard in Senate Education Committee and was given a DO PASS. It has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee. The American Federation of Teachers Union indicated during the hearing that they would propose an amendment to reduce contributions for those making less that
$24,000 to 7.9% and eliminate the proposed minimum retirement age of 58 for those maintenance workers doing heavy work and with 25-30 years of service. SB 14 received a DO PASS in the Senate Education Committee and has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee for it's next hearing.
NO ACTION WAS TAKEN THIS WEEK.
HB 50, Audit Review by Board of Finance, Rep. Rudy Martinez, Rep. Abbas Akhill & Rep. William "Bill" Pratt. This bill would require ERB, PERA & Office of the Treasurer to submit annual financial records to DFA for review. This bill is part of "Rocket Docket" Legislative Package. HB 50 received a DO PASS in the House Judiciary Committee and the House passed the bill 60 - 7. It received a DO PASS in Senate Finance Committee and the Senate passed the bill 49-0. HB 50 HAS BEEN SIGNED INTO LAW.
SB 57, Additional Reports by Board of Finance, Sen. Sander Rue. This bill would require ERB, Office of the Treasurer, PERA and SIC to provide additional information as part of the annual financial audit process. SB
57 received a DO PASS in the Senate Public Affairs and is now on the Senate Finance Committee calendar. NO ACTION WAS TAKEN THIS WEEK.
HB 97, Local Government Investment Pool Participants, Rep. Tomas Salazar.
This bill is part of the "Rocket Docket" Legislative Package and would amend current law to specifically allow ERB, PERA and SIC to participate in the Office of State Treasurer's Local Government Investment Pool. HB 97 received a DO Pass in the House Judiciary Committee and passed the House 68-0. HB 97 received a DO PASS in the Senate Public Affairs Committee and passed the Senate 41-0. HB 97 HAS BEEN SIGNED INTO LAW.
SB 157, Sick Leave for Educational Retirement Credit, Sen. William Soules. This bill is part of the "Rocket Docket" Legislative Package. It allows ERB members to convert sick leave to service credit. SB 157 received a DO PASS in the Senate Education Committee and the Senate passed the bill 39-0. SB 157 received a DO PASS in the House Taxation and Revenue Committee and the House passed the bill 52- 15.SB 157 HAS BEEN SIGNED INTO LAW AND IS EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2020.
SB 235, Investment Performance Based Compensation, Sen Munoz. This bill would allow ERB & PERA Boards to set compensation, including incentive based compensation for certain investment staff, thus eliminating the current requirement of compensation increases for exempt staff being approved by the Department of Finance & Administration.
SB 235 has been referred to the Senate Public Affairs Committee. NO ACTION WAS TAKEN THIS WEEK.
HB 338, PERA Board Retirement Changes. Rep Tomas Salazar. This bill addresses the actuarial solvency of the PERA Fund and recommended changes. HB 338 is currently on the House State Government, Elections & Indian Affairs Committee calendar. NO ACTION WAS TAKEN THIS WEEK.
HB 360a, Educational Retirement Changes, Rep. Tomas Salazar. This bill provides changes to improve the sustainability of the Fund in a thirty year period. It is the House version of SB 14 and is currently on the House State Government, Election & Indian Affairs Committee calendar. HB
360 received a unanimous DO PASS in the House State Government, Election & Indian Affairs Committee. This bill was amended to remove the settlement agreement from the 2008 lawsuit w American Federation, State, County & Municipal Employees on contributions swaps. HB 360 has been referred to the House Appropriations and Finance Committee. NO ACTION WAS TAKEN THIS WEEK.
*SB 439, Educational Retirement Board Membership. Sen, Antoinette Sedillo Lopez. This bill would change the composition of the Educational Retirement Board from seven to nine members. The current composition includes the Secretary of Public Education or her designee, Rep. of National Education Association, Rep. of New Mexico Association of Educational Retirees, Rep. of American Association of University Professors, State Treasurer or his designee, and two Governor appointees with investment experience. The new composition would include the above and add a Rep. from the American Federation of Teachers Union, and one additional Governor Rep. with public education experience. SB 439 has been referred to the Senate Education Committee. SB 439 received a DO PASS in the Senate Education Committee on a party line vote. The concern by the "R's is the additional seat given to the Governor. The bill has been referred to the Senate Public Affairs Committee.
*HB 501, Increase Certain PERA & ERB Contributions, Rep. Jim Trujillo, Rep. Micaela Lara Cadena & Rep Sheryl Stapleton. This bill would increase the employer contributions for ERB & PERA by .05%. For PERA the rate would increase from 16.99 to 17.49%. For ERB the rate would increase from 13.9 to 14.4%. This is similar to the Executive recommendation. HB 501 will be heard tomorrow in the House State Government, Election and Indian Affairs Committee.
HB 95, Retire Health Care Fund Contributions, Rep. Tomas Salazar.
This bill would incrementally increase rates of the Employee and Employer to the Retiree Health Care Fund. HB 95 is in the House State Government, Election & Indian Affairs Committee and will be heard on Wednesday, February 6, 2019. HB 95 received a unanimous DO PASS in the House State Government, Election & Indian Affairs Committee. The bill has been referred to the House Appropriations and Finance Committee. NO ACTION WAS TAKEN THIS WEEK.
HM 5, New Mexico Association of Education Retiree Day, Rep. Sheryl Stapleton. HM 5 Is currently on the House calendar.
*SM 70, New Mexico Association of Education Retiree Day, Sen. Mimi Stewart. SM 70 is on the Senate Calendar.
In conjunction with SENIOR Day on February 22, 2019 both Memorials will be heard in their respective chambers on Friday.
*HB 141, State Disclosure of Information, Rep Miguel P. Garcia,.This bill would prohibit state agency employees from disclosing "sensitive personal information," including a persons name. HB 141 received a DO PASS in the House State Government, Election & Indian Affairs Committee. This bill has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee. NO ACTION WAS TAKEN THIS WEEK.
*SB 381, Add Public Record Protected Personal ID, Sen Pete Campos. This bill would prohibit the release of an email address and "any other unique identifier from which the identify of a person may be reasonably determined. SB 381 has been referred to the Senate Public Affairs Committee. NO ACTION WAS TAKEN THIS WEEK.
In closing, Feb 22, 2019 has been designated is Senior Day at the State Capitol. Along with the presentation of our Memorials and thank you notes to Legislative Offices, we will have a table (G) in the Rotunda. Please drop by and see us if you are able to attend. Thank you for your SUPPORT.
As these bills proceed we will keep you informed.
Have a great week!
"Remember don't take your benefits for granted."