SECTION 1. Subsection (2) of section 40 of chapter 15A of the General Laws, as appearing in the 1996 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out paragraph (a) and inserting in place thereof the following paragraph:-
(a) Participation in the optional retirement program provided by this section shall be limited to persons who are otherwise eligible for membership in the state employees' retirement system as established under the provisions of chapter 32; provided, however, that they are faculty members, chancellors, vice chancellors, presidents, vice presidents, deans, or holding a position classified as a senior administrator IV, senior administrator III, senior administrator II, senior administrator I of the board of higher education or public institutions of higher education, as defined in section 5.
SECTION 2. Subsection (3) of said section 40 of said chapter 15A, as so appearing, is hereby amended by adding the following paragraph:-
(e) Any eligible employee enrolled in the optional retirement program who retires and wishes to retain his group insurance coverage as provided in chapter 32A, or retires and wishes to enroll in group insurance coverage pursuant to said chapter 32A, may do so in the same manner, and subject to the same limitations and requirements as an active employee member of the state retirement system. Any eligible employee enrolled in the optional retirement program who retains or enrolls in the group insurance coverage upon retirement shall be deemed to have authorized his optional retirement program plan provider to deduct from the retired employees account, on a monthly basis, and forward to the group insurance commission, an amount equal to the retired employee's share of the premium as set by said chapter 32A and each annual appropriation act. Each optional retirement program plan provider shall be required to deduct and forward said premium amounts, as determined by the group insurance commission, to the group insurance commission in advance of the month for which the premium is due and in a manner as may be prescribed by the group insurance commission. For group insurance commission purposes employees who were members of the state retirement system when they became eligible to participate in the optional retirement program, and who then enrolled in the optional retirement program, may add their time in the state retirement system to their time in the optional retirement program in determining years of creditable service.
SECTION 3. Section 8 of chapter 32A of the General Laws, as appearing in the 1996 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out the fourth paragraph and inserting in place thereof the following paragraph:-
All amounts withheld from an employee's salary or wages as provided in this section and all amounts withheld from pensions or retirement allowances under the provisions of section 19 of chapter 32 shall be forwarded by the department, institution, or other agency responsible for the payment of employee salaries and wages or pensions and retirement allowances to the commission. All amounts withheld from the optional retirement plans of participating retirees pursuant to section 40 of chapter 15A shall be forwarded directly to the commission by the optional retirement program plan providers. The commission may place all such amounts withheld or paid directly in interest bearing accounts. Any current and future interest earned on such amounts shall be deposited by the commission in the group insurance commission trust fund and maintained separately as a special account subject to the terms of investment and expenditure as provided in section 9A. Such interest shall not be classified under section 9 as a dividend, its equivalent or other refund or rate credits. A statement of all funds so placed, any current and future interest earned thereon, and the purposes for which such interest is expended shall be included in the annual report of the commission as required by section 3. The Massachusetts Parking Authority, the metropolitan area planning council, the Massachusetts State College Building Authority, Worcester county, the county cooperative extension service of Suffolk county, local housing authorities and redevelopment authorities, and all other non-state-funded agencies and authorities shall reimburse the commonwealth for all contributions made on behalf of their employees and retirees including the applicable administrative expense as determined by the commission. The commission, from funds appropriated therefor, may empower the executive director to authorize payment of the contribution of the commonwealth as provided above, which, together with the employee and retiree payments, shall be paid at least once each month to the carrier or carriers entitled to the total monthly premium.
SECTION 4. Notwithstanding the provisions of section 40 of chapter 15A of the General Laws and the regulations adopted thereunder, any election made in writing by an eligible employee between October 30, 1995 and April 26, 1996 to participate in the optional retirement program authorized by said section shall be deemed valid.
SECTION 5. Notwithstanding the provisions of subparagraph (ii) of paragraph (b) of subsection (2) of section 40 of chapter 15A of the General Laws and any other general or special law to the contrary, any eligible employee who was a member of any retirement system established under the provisions of chapter 32 of the General Laws on January 14, 1994 and who had less than ten years of creditable service on that date but more than ten years of creditable service on April 26, 1996, and has been an eligible employee and a member of said retirement system continuously from January 1, 1994 to the effective date of this section may elect in writing to participate in the optional retirement program established by said section 40 of said chapter 15A within 90 days of the effective date of this section. Any such election shall become effective on the first day of the pay period next following such election, and shall constitute a waiver of all retirement benefits to which the individual may be entitled as an employee under any retirement system established under the provisions of said chapter 32.