HB2630, by Rep. Randy McDaniel and Sen. Rick Brinkley, passed out of the senate by a 34-9 margin Wednesday. The bill requires the Oklahoma Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) to establish a defined contribution pension system for state employees hired July 1, 2015 except for correctional officers, probation and parole officers or fugitive apprehension agents employed by the Department of Corrections.
This bill previously had the title stricken which means that itl is still a “work in progress” and will go to conference committee to iron out the final details before returning to the house and senate for a vote. To be passed, it must be approved in both the house and senate after it is amended. It would then go to the governor’s office for signature.
OPEA has heard from some members that they are increasingly concerned about the impact this change would have on the current OPERS system. Even though the changes spelled out in HB 2630 are for future employees, the state must ensure that there is no detrimental impact on current OPERS members as fewer employees pay into that system in the future. There has been no independent actuarial study to determine the effect. OPEA continues to discuss our concerns about this bill with legislative leadership.
OPEA asks lawmakers to work toward improving employee pay prior to making any benefit changes including pension changes for future employees. The details of this bill and any changes to state employee compensation will be determined during the state’s 2015 appropriation process which will likely occur in May.