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Mar 4, 2019

Legislative Update March 4, 2019, 11:53am - NMAER Russell Goff


Greetings!

On Friday afternoon, March 1, 2019, HB 95, RHCA, had a  brief hearing in HAFC. Unfortunately, the bill was temporarily tabled leaving our bill in jeopardy. There maybe efforts to address the bill with the Governor's Office, but right now passage of HB 95 doesn't look very good. We will keep you informed.

HB 360 was also scheduled to be heard on Friday in HAFC, but the bill was tabled in order to add amendments. On Saturday morning, the HAFC Committee Chair, Rep Patricia Lundstrom, requested that the bill be rolled over into a Committee Substitute. Here are the proposed changes for HB 360:

> The 1% contribution increase for FY 2020 will be reduced to .05% so as to be consistent with the state budget.

> The anti-spiking provision will only apply to compensation paid after July 1, 2019

> The 7.9% contribution rate will apply to members with salaries of less than $24,000 or less.

> Retired public safety officers (PERA retirees) currently working for higher ed ERB will not pay ERB member contributions. All retired NM public safety officers (PERA retirees) beginning their employment with ERB on or after July 1, 2019 will pay ERB member contributions.

> Lastly, efforts continue to exempt ERB members, who have worked with heavy physical labor for at least 25 -30 years, to not be subject to a minimum retirement age of 58.

A committee substitute is also being prepared for SB 14 so it will mirror HB 360.

As of March 2, 2019 there have been a total of 1617 bills introduced. The House  has passed 220 bills, memorials & resolutions, while the Senate has passed 214 bills, memorials & resolutions. The Governor has signed 44 bills into law.

Here are the bills we are following and their status:

> Budget

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. The LFC budget is slightly higher than the Governor's recommendation. HB 2 was passed on a 46-23 vote and is in the Senate Finance Committee. Reports are that we will hear from the Senate later this week.

> Pension

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. THIS BILL WAS NOT HEARD THIS WEEK.

HB 50, Audit Review by Board of Finance, Rep. Rudy Martinez, Rep. Abbas Akhill & Rep. William "Bill" Pratt. 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. SB57 received a DO PASS in the Senate Public Affairs and Senate Finance Committee and remains on the Senate calendar.

HB 97, Local Government Investment Pool Participants, Rep. Tomas Salazar.

HB 97 HAS BEEN SIGNED INTO LAW.

SB 157, Sick Leave for  Educational Retirement Credit, Sen. William Soules. 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 received a DO PASS in the Senate Public Affairs Committee and is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Finance Committee on March 4th.

HB 338, PERA Board Retirement Changes. Rep Tomas Salazar. THE GOVERNOR HAS ESTABLISHED A NINETEEN PERSON TASK FORCE TO ADDRESS PERA PENSION ISSUES. A REPORT IS DUE TO THE GOVERNOR IN AUGUST 2019

HB 360cs, 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. HB360 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 was scheduled to be heard on Friday, March 1 in HAFC, but was tabled to work on a Committee Substitute. The bill remains in the HAFC.

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. SB 439 is scheduled to be heard on Tuesday, March 5, 2019 in 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 received a DO PASS in the House State Government, Election and Indian Affairs Committee and House Appropriations & Finance Committee and on a 61-4 vote passed the House. The bill has been sent to the Senate.

* SB 664, Public Peace, Health, Safety & Welfare, Educational Retirement Benefits to Spouses, Sen. Jeff Steinborn. This bill provides for a surviving spouse or domestic partner to be considered a beneficiary if a deceased member of the Educational Retirement Plan has not otherwise designated a beneficiary. SB 664 received a Do Not Pass-CS without a recommendation in Senate Judiciary Committee and a Do Not Pass-CS -DO Pass on a Committee Substitute in the Senate Public Affairs Committee. The bill is currently in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

>Health Care

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. HB 95 had a brief hearing in HAFC on Friday afternoon, March 1, 2019. The bill was given a temporary table over a funding issue on the amendment. We will see if anything happens this week, but it doesn't look good.

>Memorials

HM 5, New Mexico Association of Education Retiree Day, Rep. Sheryl Stapleton. HM 5 passed the House on a 70-0 vote. .

SM 70, New Mexico Association of Education Retiree Day, Sen. Mimi Stewart.

SM 70 passed the Senate on a 43-0 vote..

>Other

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.  HB 141cs (Committee Substitute) received a DO PASS in the House Judiciary and passed the House on a 42-24 vote. The bill has now been referred to the Senate Judiciary & Senate Public Affairs Committee.

*SB 449, 5-Year Literacy Initiative, Rep. Roberto "Bobbie" Gonzales, Rep. Susan Herrera, Rep. Christine Trujillo, & Rep. Anthony Allison. This would conduct a five-year, statewide Literacy Initiative for children and adults. HB 449 received a DO PASS in House Education Committee and has been referred to the House Appropriations Committee.

In closing,  thank you for your SUPPORT.  We appreciate your help in urging legislative support for HB 95 & HB 360, We will continue to keep you informed.

Have a great week!

"Remember, don't take your benefits for granted."

Stay tuned!

Russell Goff
NMAER

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