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June 14, 2024 Clouds | 70°F
The 193rd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 24: State Retiree Benefits Trust Fund

Section 24. (a) There shall be established and set up on the books of the commonwealth a fund to be known as the State Retiree Benefits Trust Fund. The State Retiree Benefits Trust Fund board of trustees established in section 24A shall be the trustee of the fund and shall employ the pension reserves investment management board to invest the fund's assets in the Pension Reserves Investment Trust Fund. The fund shall be an expendable trust not subject to appropriation.

(b) The purpose of said fund shall be for depositing, investing and disbursing amounts set aside solely to meet liabilities of the state employees' retirement system for health care and other non-pension benefits for retired members of the system and for depositing, investing and disbursing amounts transferred to it under subsection (d). There shall be credited to the fund any revenue from appropriations or other monies authorized by the general court and specifically designated to be credited to the fund, and any gifts, grants, private contributions, investment income earned on the fund's assets and all other sources. Money remaining in the fund at the end of a fiscal year shall not revert to the General Fund.

(c) Upon request of the group insurance commission established, the board may expend amounts in the fund, without further appropriation, to pay the costs of health care and other non-pension benefits for retired members of the state retirement system; provided, however, that said group insurance commission shall remain responsible for administering the payment of, and determining the terms, conditions, schedule of benefits, carriers and eligibility for, health care and other non-pension benefits for retired members of the state retirement system.

(d) Upon authorization by the board, any political subdivision, municipality, county or agency or authority of the commonwealth may participate in the fund using procedures and criteria to be adopted by the board.

(e) The fund shall be revocable only when all such health care and other non-pension benefits, current and future, payable pursuant to this chapter have been paid or defeased.

(f) The trustees shall adopt an annual budget for the fund and supplemental budgets that the trustees consider necessary, subject to the approval of the general court. Funding for the budget shall be from the investment return of the fund. If the general court takes no final action to disapprove a budget within 60 days after its filing with the clerk of the house of representatives and the clerk of the senate, the budget shall be considered to be approved. If the general court disapproves a budget within 60 days after it has been filed, the trustees shall operate under the annualized budgetary level most recently approved pending the filing and subsequent approval of any other annual or supplemental budget request.

(g) The trustees shall engage actuaries experienced in retiree health care costs to perform annual actuarial calculations in accordance with Government Accounting Standards Board Statements 43 and 45, using data as needed from the group insurance commission, the public employee retirement administration commission, the state treasurer and the comptroller and prepare funding schedules to be filed in accordance with section 25.

(h) The trustees shall engage an independent auditor to perform an annual audit of the State Retiree Benefits Trust Fund's assets, liabilities, net assets, investments and operations on an annual basis in accordance with government auditing standards and policies established by the comptroller. The annual audit report shall be made available to all participating subdivisions, authorities, boards or instrumentalities not later than September 15.

(i) All transactions affecting the fund including, but not limited to, all amounts credited to and all expenditures, transfers or allocations made from the fund shall be recorded by a subsidiary on the Massachusetts management accounting and reporting system.

(j) The fund shall be classified by the comptroller as a nonbudgeted fund of the commonwealth. Amounts credited to the fund, including both principal and earnings, shall not be subject to the calculation of the consolidated net surplus under sections 2H and 5C of chapter 29.

(k) The attorney general shall file a quarterly report with the state comptroller, the secretary of administration and finance and the house and senate committees on ways and means which shall include, but not be limited to: (i) an updated schedule of payments due to the commonwealth under the master settlement agreement in Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. Philip Morris, Inc. et al., Middlesex Superior Court, No. 95–7378; (ii) an analysis of imminent factors that may affect the industry's ability to generate those payments to the commonwealth; (iii) a detailed account of the analysis and methodology used to determine the variations associated with the schedule of payments; (iv) an explanation of the financial impact that those variations in the schedule of payments shall have upon the amount due to the commonwealth and the industry's obligation to the commonwealth; and (v) an itemized account of all amendments that have been made to the master settlement agreement referenced in clause (i).