CLEAT explains need for lawmakers to fix pension disparity

Representatives from universities and school districts across the state testified in support of HB 1821 and HB 2933

Representatives from universities and school districts across the state testified in support of HB 1821 and HB 2933.

On Monday, the House Pensions Committee heard testimony in support of two bills to fix the disparity between the pensions earned by campus peace officers and other state peace officers who are not able to participate in the law enforcement supplemental fund within ERS known as LECOS.

HB 1821 by Rep. Roberto Alonzo and HB 2933 by Rep. Rodney Anderson were both drafted by CLEAT and filed at our request.

CLEAT's Chris Jones was called to explain the need for the bills, and CLEAT was the only law enforcement organization to testify in support of these bills. Last week, CLEAT led a contingent of campus officers on a trip to the Capitol to personally meet with lawmakers on this vital issue.

At Monday's hearing, Jones pointed out that under current law new officers now have to work until age 62 to retire without penalty. This means that that an officer starting at age 21 would have to work 41 years in order to draw a pension.

Jones said that virtually every pension across the nation has a law enforcement provision that takes into consideration the inherent hazards of the job: stress and burnout.  Most cities and counties have a 20- or 25-year retirement options and the Legislature carved out most law enforcement officers when in created LECOS. However there are a segment of officers that were left out and this has created a group of "haves" and "have nots."

Jones said if lawmakers are going to fix pensions this session, they need to fix it for everyone.

For the rest of the story, watch the video of the hearing online. The hearing is House Pensions Committee 3/30/15. Fast forward or scroll to the 28-minute mark for HB 2933. HB 1821 starts at 1:48.

CLEAT's Chris Jones briefs university and school district officers prior to the House Pensions Committee hearing.

CLEAT's Chris Jones briefs university and school district officers prior to the House Pensions Committee hearing.

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