April 23, 2022

Rep. Adam Wool (l) with Rep. Andy Josephson
  Rep. Adam Wool (l) with Rep. Andy Josephson speaking in favor of HB 220.

HB 220, Establishing a Defined Benefit Option for New Employees, moved out of House Finance last Thursday by a vote of 6 to 2. According to two actuaries, additional revisions to the legislation providing more risk sharing make the new tiers cost neutral and may even result in a cost savings. Representative Adam Wool, pictured on the left with Representative Andy Josephson, spoke in favor of the bill and addressed some ongoing concerns with financial risk to the state. "The risk is in not having a Defined Benefit," he said, noting that the state of Alaska is the only one without a Defined Benefit Plan for the public sector leading to recruitment and retention problems. Wool and Josephson voted to move HB 220 out of committee and were joined by Representatives Merrick, Foster, Ortiz, and Edgmon. Representatives Thompson and Carpenter voted no. The bill now goes to House Rules to be scheduled for a floor vote.

Two other measures of concern to RPEA members are in House Rules. They include:

On the Senate side, the Senate Finance Committee continues to work on its version of the operating budget. One major change of interest to retirees: the addition of $89.3 million of the Health Care portion of the retirement rate that was not funded in FY 23 to the pension side of PERS. The committee worked through some twenty amendments last week and will take up HB 281 again on Wednesday.