March 16th, 2018
Capitol Update
Representative Jeni Arndt- HD 53
Assistant Caucus Chair; Chair of Agriculture, Livestock, and Natural Resources Committee; 
Member of Business Affairs and Labor Committee

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

  
Bill Update:
Monday was a busy day in the Agriculture, Livestock, and Natural Resources Committee. Two of my bills passed, and today one of them passed 3rd reading in the House without dropping a single vote. 

SB18-033 continues a strong environmental collaboration between the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and livestock industry to ensure water quality. This bill has passed both chambers and is on to the Governor's desk. 

SB18-134 simplifies PUC rules for nonprofit water utilities. These rules are already in place for companies that serve less than 1,500 people.
The mighty Poudre River.
  
The Speaker appointed me as Chair of the Water Resources Review Committee. Aka-The Water Committee. Over the summer, the committee travels to learn in-person about water projects happening across the state. We also discuss and vote on legislation for the upcoming session. It is an honor to serve as Chair. 
Schedule from the first Select Committee on Climate Responsibility.
  
Wednesday morning, the Select Committee on Climate Responsibility met for the first time. We heard from stakeholders representing various conservation groups and energy suppliers. The Speaker created this committee to help meet the climate goals of our state. Our next meeting is on April 4th and is open to the public. 



Changes to PERA in SB18-200 affect every taxpayer in Colorado and state employees, public education employees, DPS employees, numerous local government employees, state troopers, and judicial division employees.  Individuals who enter the system on Jan. 1, 2020 will receive benefits different from those employees who entered PERA before 2020. Here's the quick and dirty:

  • Highest Average Salary: Excluding judicial division members, HAS for current PERA members is associated with 3 periods of 12 consecutive months of service with a base year.  For PERA members hired Jan 1, 2020 forward, and for members without five years of service before Jan 1, 2020, the HAS will be based on 7 periods of 12 consecutive months of service.
  • Salary includes cafeteria benefit plans and qualified transportation plans.  Unused sick leave converted to cash is included. Insurance premiums paid by employers are not included.
  • Local governments that want out:   Subdivisions of the state associated with PERA can terminate their affiliation but they must fully fund their share of any unfunded liability of the defined benefit plan and the health care trust fund.  Employees in PERA lose their affiliation when employers terminate their affiliation. PERA board gets to decide how much the parties terminating their association have to pay.
  • Employee Monthly Contribution:   For non state trooper employees, their contribution to PERA will increase by .5% for two years and 1% for two years.  The total increase will mean 11% of salary, up from the current 8%. The total will reach 13% of salary for state troopers, up from 10%.
  • Employer Monthly Contribution:  Monthly contributions to PERA for employers will go up 1% for two years.  For most PERA employers, their contribution will end up at 12.15% from 10.15%.  State trooper employer contribution will go to 14.85% from 12.85%, and for the judicial division, the uptick will go to 15.66% from 13.66%.
  • Automatic contribution and annual increase amount changes:   The bill allows annual increases to meet funding requirements, but they are limited to .5% for employers and employees.
  • Defined contribution supplement:  The required employer contribution to the defined contribution supplement kicks in on Jan. 1, 2022.  These contributions only include contributions make for eligible employees who started work on PERA affiliated entities after Jan. 1, 2020.
  • Retirement eligibility for current members:   For members as of Dec. 31. 2019, retirement age to receive service retirement benefits or reduced service retirement benefits is 46 on Jan 1, 2020, or somewhat younger under specified conditions.  The age requirement will not exceed 65 for a service reitrement benefit or 60 for a reduced benefit.
  • Retirement eligibility for new members:   For most new employees on Jan.1, 2020 and after, the retirement age goes to 65 for full-service retirement benefits with a minimum of five years of service, or any age with a minimum of 40 years of service.  Retirement age for state troopers goes to 55, with minimum of 25 years of service or any age with 35 years of service.
  • COLA:   Members prior to Jan 1, 2007 will see no COLA increase for two years, 2018 and 2019.  After 2019, the COLA goes to 1.25%, down from the previous 2%. Retirees after Jan 1, 2011 who haven't received a COLA before May 1, 2018, will not receive a COLA for at least 36 months.
  • Defined contribution plan:  School division members, DPS members, and local government members, beginning Jan 1,2020, can switch to the defined contribution plan and receive the same employer contribution formula as current employee members of the defined contribution plan.
Legislative oversight committee:   The bill creates a committee represented by senators, representatives and experts in pensions and retirement plans to develop legislation relating to PERA, and the fire and police pension associations.  The bill repeals the police officers' and firefighters' pension reform commission on Jan. 1. 2019.
   
You are all invited to join me, Rep. Joann Ginal, and Sen. John Kefalas for a Town Hall at Old Town Library on Saturday, April 7th from 3:30pm-5:00pm. The address is 201 Peterson St, Fort Collins, CO 80524. This is different from our usual time and date because of the County and State Assemblies coming up. We will be taking questions. Please join us! 
As always, feel free to call me anytime at 970-231-5090 or email me at jeniarndt53@gmail.com.
Jeni

970-231-5090



Representative Jeni Arndt | (303) 866-2917 | jeniarndt53@gmail.com |


,
Town Hall
Old Town Library

Saturday, April 7th
3:30pm-5:00pm

201 Peterson St, Fort Collins, CO 80524