2011 Legislative Preview: HB 1019

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Bill Name: AN ACT TO DECLARE AN EMERGENCY; TO RESTRICT THE AMOUNT OF CREDITED SERVICE EARNED BY A LOCAL ELECTED PUBLIC OFFICIAL FIRST ELECTED TO OFFICE ON OR AFTER JULY 1, 2011, TO ONE (1) YEAR OF RETIREMENT CREDIT FOR EVERY YEAR WORKED

Sponsors: Allen Kerr (R-32), 501-225-3170, allen.kerr@arkansashouse.org; Jane English (R-42), 501-257-7670, jane.english@arkansashouse.org; Tim Summers (R-99), 479-273-0773, tim.summers@arkansashouse.org.

Purpose: To amend Arkansas Code Annotated § 24-4-521(b)(5) so that anyone elected on or after July 1 of this year would only earn one year of credit toward the benefits and requirements of the Arkansas Public Employee Retirement System.  Currently, elected officials other than the Governor, constitutional officers, members of the General Assembly, and certain other state officials earn two years’ credit for every one year served.

Pros for Average Arkansans: Ostensibly, at least according to the bill’s emergency clause, this bill would help keep APERS solvent, especially through the current economic downturn.  An added benefit is just the plain ol’ common sense that comes from not letting some people’s retirement benefits vest in 2.5 years while other people within the same system must serve five.

Cons for Average Arkansans: Just like with HB 1018, also proposed by the three listed above, this bill seemingly has no downside for most Arkansans.  If a currently elected official who is receiving 2-for-1 finds this bill egregious, he or she can always choose not to run for re-election after July 1, 2011.

Official BHR Position: Strongly support