Governor Signs KPERS Bill
Topeka-Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed Senate Sub. for House Bill 2194 into law today during a ceremony in the Governor’s Ceremonial Office in the State Capitol. The new law begins addressing the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System’s nearly $8 billion shortfall by modifying the retirement plan for both current and future public employees of state, school, and local groups.
The new law establishes a 13-member KPERS Study Commission to consider alternative retirement plans, including defined contribution plans, hybrid plans that could include a defined contribution component, and other possible plans.
“This bipartisan compromise takes immediate steps towards retirement security for Kansas families who rely on KPERS,” Governor Brownback said. “However, according to independent analysts, the structure of KPERS remains unsustainable. The commission needs to protect existing beneficiaries and move towards a defined contribution system for all new state employees in order to restore balance and security to KPERS. Adoption of such recommendations will be a top priority for the next legislative session.”
The Commission will report its recommendations to the 2012 Legislature who will consider two identical bills in each chamber. Each chamber must vote on the identical bills in 2012 before other provisions in HB 2194 will be implemented. Those provisions require:
* Increased employer contributions;
* Increased employee contributions;
* Increased benefit multiplier for future service; and
* Transfer 80% of the proceeds from the sale of surplus state real estate to KPERS to reduce the unfunded liability.
The new law also requires a decision from the Internal Revenue Service as to whether current state employees can choose to change their retirement benefits.
The Governor signed three additional bills during the ceremony:
HB 2054: This new law abolishes the Kansas Technology Enterprise Corporation (KTEC) and divides its duties and responsibilities between Kansas Department of Commerce and the Kansas Board of Regents.
Sub. SB 154: This new law allows the University of Kansas School of Engineering to issue $65 million in bonds for phase two of its expansion project. It also transfers the bonding authority for the state’s NBAF-related expenses from the Kansas Biosciences Authority to the Kansas Department of Administration and requires the State Finance Council’s approval before they can be issued.
Sub SB 127: This new law creates the University Engineering Initiative Act to increase the number of engineering graduates at the University of Kansas, Kansas State University and Wichita State University. It equally distributes $10.5 million as part of a $1 for $1 match by the three universities. It directs the Commerce Secretary to work with the Board of Regents and the schools to develop a plan to target engineering education efforts to fuel economic growth and business success in Kansas.
Today’s signings bring the total number of bills signed into law to 96. You can find additional information about these bills at http://www.kslegislature.org. .