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SENATE DOCKET, NO. 1150         FILED ON: 1/20/2011

SENATE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1352

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

_________________

PRESENTED BY:

Marc R. Pacheco

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To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
              Court assembled:

              The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act relative to the enrollment into the state retirement system of current members of the optional retirement program.

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PETITION OF:

 

Name:

District/Address:

Marc R. Pacheco

 

David B. Sullivan

6th Bristol

Robert M. Koczera

11th Bristol

Cleon H. Turner

1st Barnstable

Denise Provost

27th Middlesex


SENATE DOCKET, NO. 1150        FILED ON: 1/20/2011

SENATE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1352

By Mr. Pacheco, petition (accompanied by bill, Senate, No. 1352) of Provost, Turner, Koczera and other members of the General Court for legislation relative to the enrollment into the state retirement system of current members of the optional retirement program [Joint Committee on Public Service].


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
 

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In the Year Two Thousand Eleven

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An Act relative to the enrollment into the state retirement system of current members of the optional retirement program.
 

              Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
 

              SECTION 1. Chapter 32, section 4, subdivision 1 is hereby amended by adding the following new subsection: -

              (t)  (i) Within twenty (20) days of the effective date of this act, the department of higher education and the state retirement board shall request of the Internal Revenue Service the necessary letters of determination and/or ruling on whether the provisions of this bill may be implemented without violating subsection (a) of section 401 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.

              (ii) If the Internal Revenue Service affirms that this act complies with said subsection (a) of said section 401 of the Internal Revenue code, any active member of the optional retirement program established by subsection (3) of section 40 of Chapter 15A of the General Laws shall be eligible, notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, to enroll in the state employee retirement system, governed by Chapter 32 of the General Laws, and shall be eligible to purchase as creditable service in the state employee retirement system the years, including partial years, of membership in the optional retirement system.  Years of membership in the optional retirement program shall include a member’s years, if any, in the state retirement system that preceded the member’s joining the optional retirement program.  Within thirty (30) days of such favorable letter or ruling, the department of higher education shall notify active members of the optional retirement program of such eligibility.

              (iii) Within thirty (30) days of receipt by an active member of the optional retirement program of the notice of eligibility from the department of higher education, such member may request that the state retirement board provide the member with a statement of the cost of purchasing as creditable service in the state employee retirement system the years of membership in the optional retirement system as defined in paragraph (ii), above. The state retirement board shall provide to the member within thirty (30) days of the request, the cost statement so requested. The cost of such purchase shall be an amount equal to the contributions such member would have paid into the state employee retirement system for the years of membership in the optional retirement program as defined in paragraph (ii), above, plus actuarial-assumed interest.  The cost statement shall include the cost of an installment plan for payment.  The member shall not be required to purchase as creditable service all or any of his or her years in the optional retirement program, however, the years so purchased shall count toward vesting in the state employee retirement system.

              (iv) Such member of the optional retirement program may transfer all or a portion of the member's optional retirement program account to the state employee retirement system in order to purchase creditable service in the state employee retirement system. Should the member leave a balance in the optional retirement program account, the member's optional retirement program status shall become inactive. Should such member liquidate the optional retirement account, the optional retirement account shall be terminated. The purchase amount may be submitted in one lump sum or through an installment arrangement established by the state employee retirement board.

              (v) Within one hundred and eighty (180) days of receipt from the board of retirement of the cost statement, an active member of the optional retirement program who elects to transfer to the state employee retirement system shall submit to the state retirement board an application for enrollment in the state employee retirement system.  The effective date of transfer to the state employee retirement system will be the date upon which such member submits the purchase amount in one lump sum or the date upon which such member makes the first payment pursuant to the installment arrangement established by the state employee retirement board, as the case may be.  The effective start date of participation in the state employee retirement system shall be determined by the number of years the member elects to purchase upon transfer to the state employee retirement system.  If such member elects not to purchase creditable service for the years enrolled in the optional retirement program, the effective date of participation will be the date upon which the member submits the application to the state retirement board for enrollment in the state employee retirement system.

              (vi) Should the member of the optional retirement program elect to participate in the state employee retirement system, such member shall make contributions to the state employee retirement system at the rate the member contributed to the optional retirement program.

              (vii)  Any elections under this section shall be limited to current active members of the optional retirement program and shall be for one time, only; provided, however, that any community college, state university or University of Massachusetts faculty member who does not hold tenure on the effective date of this act or who is hired after the effective date of this act, shall be permitted to postpone election to enroll in either the state employee retirement system or the optional retirement program until acquisition of tenure, with timelines set out in this section to commence from the date of such member's tenure acquisition; and provided, further, that all employees other than faculty in the community colleges, the state university system and the University of Massachusetts shall, if eligible for enrollment in the state employee retirement system, be eligible to enroll, in the alternative, in the optional retirement program.  Community college, state university and University of Massachusetts employees other than faculty in the state employee retirement system on the effective date of this act, and who have seven (7) or more years of creditable service, shall be eligible to transfer to the optional retirement program under the same terms, regardless of vesting, as employees of the community colleges, the state colleges and the University of Massachusetts transferred to the optional retirement program at the time of its establishment.  Community college, state university and University of Massachusetts employees other than faculty who have fewer than seven (7) years of employment in the college or university or who are hired after the effective date of this act, shall be permitted to postpone election to enroll in the state employee retirement system or the optional retirement program until completion of seven (7) years of employment in the college or university, with timelines set out in this section to commence from the date of such member's completion of seven (7) years of employment.

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