SDCERA’s legislation section helps to keep you informed about recently proposed,
chaptered, adopted and vetoed legislation that may have an effect on your retirement
benefits. For the most current details on these or other bills, refer to the
California’s legislative information website.
Bills under consideration
The following bills are pending in the California Legislature, and are not currently law.
PEPRA clean-up legislation—SB 13, SB 481, SB 24, AB 696
The Senate Public Employment and Retirement Committee is reviewing proposed legislation that would clarify provisions of the Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013 (PEPRA). Senate Bill (SB) 13 is the most comprehensive of this legislation. This bill has passed the Senate and is now in the Assembly. If passed, it would allow reciprocal local public retirement systems to fully implement the original pension reform act measures. It would grant local systems with authority to adopt resolutions to implement PEPRA requirements. There are a number of additional bills seeking to make changes to PEPRA wording, including Assembly Bill (AB) 696 and SB 481. Another bill, SB 24, allows public employers to adopt a defined benefit plan with a lower benefit formula if the retirement system’s actuary certifies the benefit has no greater risk and not greater cost than the PEPRA formulas.
Bills chaptered (signed into law)
The following bills were signed into law and became effective January 1, 2013, unless otherwise noted.
AB 340—Public Employees' Retirement
AB 340 is also known as the California Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act (PEPRA). PEPRA defines new benefit formulas (2.5% at age 67 for General members and 2.7% at age 57 for Safety members) and member contribution rates for individuals who became SDCERA members on or after January 1, 2013. PEPRA also requires all retired members who wish to return to work for the County of San Diego (or participating employer) in an hourly position requiring special skills to wait 180 calendar days (90 days for Public Safety Officers) following their last day of employment as a regular employee. Refer to the January issue of News for more details.
Also under PEPRA, you forfeit your pension and related benefits if you are convicted of a felony in carrying out official duties, in seeking an elected office or appointment, or in connection with obtaining salary or pension benefits. If convicted of such a felony, you would forfeit all of the retirement benefits earned from the earliest date of the commission of the felony. Employee contributions paid after that day will be returned without interest. This provision applies to anyone who is convicted on or after January 1, 2013.
AB 197—Public Employees' Retirement
AB 197 excludes from the definition of compensation earnable any compensation determined by the Board of Retirement to have been paid to enhance a member’s retirement benefit. It also excludes various payments from the definition of compensation earnable, including payments for unused vacation, annual leave, personal leave, sick leave, and compensatory time off, as well as payments made at the termination of employment, except what may be earned and payable in each 12-month period during the final average salary period.
AB 1519—Retirement Board Member Continuing Education
Requires the Board of Retirement to establish an education policy, including a minimum of 24 hours of board member education within the first two years of assuming office and every two-year period thereafter. The Board is required to maintain a record of each member's compliance with the policy and to post the policy and an annual compliance report on the system's internet website.
SB 996—Heart Trouble Presumption
Existing law provided that if a Safety member who has completed five years or more of service develops heart trouble, the heart trouble shall be presumed to arise out of and in the course of employment. Effective January 1, 2013, the presumption is rebuttable. Unless successfully rebutted, the Board is bound to find that when a safety member is permanently incapacitated due to heart trouble, the heart condition is work-related.
SB 1382—County Employees’ Retirement: Retiree Organizations
Existing law allows SDCERA to make deductions from a retired member’s benefit upon the member’s authorization. This law adds recognized retiree organizations and the benefits offered through that organization to the list of authorized deductions from a retirement allowance. It requires the Board of Retirement to provide reasonable advance notice of and reasonable opportunity to comment on any proposed changes to the retirement and health care benefits. It also requires the Board to assist with distributing communications regarding the retiree organization and allows the Board to charge a reasonable fee for the deductions and mailings.