Legislative Goals

2021 GSRA LEGISLATIVE GOALS

 

1. Obtain funding for a cost of living adjustment (COLA) in FY 2022.

 

2. Encourage ERS to institutionalize a COLA and fund it within the actuarially determined employer contribution as well as by returns on pension fund investments. The practical result of this will be that the incremental cost of COLAS will be included in continuation funding along with the cost of paying benefits, the same as was done before FY 2009 and has continued to be done for TRS.

 

3. Pass a bill such as 2020’s HB 821 which deletes the prohibitions for members of the Georgia State Employee Pension and Savings Plan (GSEPS) Legislative Retirement System (LRS), and Judicial Retirement System (JRS) from receiving COLAs. In a comprehensive review of GSEPS, the Department of Audits found that the GSEPS is not competitive with other states’ retirement systems and, most telling, offers little or no incentive for active employees to continue their employment with the state.

 

4. Pass a bill to change the method for appointing trustees to three of the seven ERS trustees’ positions. This bill will require the trustee appointed by the governor, and the two trustees elected by other trustees, to be from a list of nominees provided by large ERS retiree organizations (currently only GSRA). This bill will institutionalize ERS retiree input into selection of those who are fiduciarily responsible to them for the management of our retirement fund and benefits. It will result in roughly 43% of ERS board members being appointed with retiree input. This will put the ERS board trustee selection process on the same footing as that of the TRS board appointments, of which 40% are made with input from TRS consumer organizations.

 

5. Amend bills which benefit single or limited number of retirement systems’ beneficiaries so that they benefit beneficiaries of all other systems equitably.

 

6. Ensure SHBP insurance rates and benefits remain the same with no increased cost in premiums or out of pocket expenses.

 

7. Support any Tax Reform that does not adversely affect retirees or low-and middle-income Georgians and that does not hinder the ability of the state of Georgia to provide essential services and meet financial responsibilities and obligations.

 

8. Oppose any attempt to use ERS pension fund for any purpose other than direct payment of benefits to beneficiaries. This includes use of fund to buy life insurance for beneficiaries with payments to be made to the fund (“dead peasants” insurance).

 

9. Continue efforts to contact all retired and active ERS members in effort to expand our membership.

 

ARCHIVE

2019-2020 GSRA Goals and Objectives

 

Click HERE to view letter and HERE to view questionnaire sent to Legislators by GSRA President Jim Sommerville 

 

Great beginning in achieving one of GSRA's legislative goals! HB 821 is passed out of committee on 2/4/20.

 

HB 821 by our champion Rep. Debbie Buckner, with Rep. Gerald Greene as sponsor, would remove the restrictions against the granting of COLAs for GSEPS members, as well as for members of the legislative and judicial retirement systems. Click HERE to view the video.

 

In the video below of today's proceedings, Rep. Buckner introduces HB 821 9:25 into the video. In responding to Rep. Chuck Martin's question, ERS Director Jim Potvin clearly explains the restrictions on ERS board awarding COLAs based on its guidelines beginning at 14:50. And GSRA president Jim Sommerville speaks to the bill from 17:20 to 23:20. Rep. Greene seconded a do-pass motion from Rep. Patty Bentley, and the bill passed unanimously.

  

GSRA’s specific outcomes for the 2019 legislative session: click here

 

GSRA’s specific outcomes for the 2018 legislative session are to:

  • Enhance ERS Retirees Benefits by: 
  • Providing $76.05 million of state funds ($117 million total including federal matching funds) in the FY 2019 Budget to provide a 1% COLA to ERS retirees beginning on July 1, 2018. 
  • Seeking legislative affirmation that the ERS Board is authorized to add annually a percentage of a minimum of .45% to the ADEC (Actuarially Determined Employer Contribution) to help pay down the unfunded liability of the ERS retirement fund.
  • Attain a 3% pay raise for all active state employees and teachers. 
  • Maintain SHBP benefits at the current level with minimal increased cost (both premiums and out of pocket expenses). 
  • Support passage of legislation that protects against surprise medical billing for patients when receiving medical care from an in-network provider in an in-network facility even if other medical personnel may be out-of-network contract employees.