WEST virginia legislature
2021 regular session
Senate Bill 706
By Senators Woelfel, Lindsay, and Romano
[Introduced March 22, 2021;
to the Committee on Pensions]
A BILL to amend and reenact §5-10-2 and §5-10-52 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, all relating to the manner of computing retirement benefits for certain members of the Legislature under the West Virginia Public Employees Retirement Act; and requiring that the final average salary for members of the Legislature taking office after June 30, 2021, and thereafter participating in the retirement system as a member of the Legislature, be the average of the member’s annual rate of compensation during his or her total years of credited service.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
article 10. west virginia public employees retirement act.
Unless a different meaning is clearly indicated by the context, the following words and phrases as used in this article have the following meanings:
(1) “Accumulated contributions” means the sum of all amounts deducted from the compensations of a member and credited to his or her individual account in the members’ deposit fund, together with regular interest on the contributions;
(2) “Accumulated net benefit” means the aggregate amount of all benefits paid to or on behalf of a retired member;
(3) “Actuarial equivalent” means a benefit of equal value computed upon the basis of a mortality table and regular interest adopted by the board of trustees from time to time: Provided, That when used in the context of compliance with the federal maximum benefit requirements of Section 415 of the Internal Revenue Code, actuarial equivalent shall be computed using the mortality tables and interest rates required to comply with those requirements;
(4) “Annuity” means an annual amount payable by the retirement system throughout the life of a person. All annuities shall be paid in equal monthly installments, rounding to the upper cent for any fraction of a cent;
(5) “Annuity reserve” means the present value of all payments to be made to a retirant or beneficiary of a retirant on account of any annuity, computed upon the basis of mortality and other tables of experience, and regular interest, adopted by the board of trustees from time to time;
(6) “Beneficiary” means any person, except a retirant, who is entitled to, or will be entitled to, an annuity or other benefit payable by the retirement system;
(7) “Board of Trustees” or “board” means the Board of Trustees of the West Virginia Consolidated Public Retirement System;
(8) “Compensation” means the remuneration paid a member by a participating public employer for personal services rendered by the member to the participating public employer. In the event a member’s remuneration is not all paid in money, his or her participating public employer shall fix the value of the portion of the remuneration which is not paid in money: Provided, That members hired in a position for the first time on or after July 1, 2014, who receive nonmonetary remuneration shall not have nonmonetary remuneration included in compensation for retirement purposes and nonmonetary remuneration may not be used in calculating a member’s final average salary. Any lump sum or other payments paid to members that do not constitute regular salary or wage payments are not considered compensation for the purpose of withholding contributions for the system or for the purpose of calculating a member’s final average salary. These payments include, but are not limited to, attendance or performance bonuses, one-time flat fee or lump sum payments, payments paid as a result of excess budget, or employee recognition payments. The board shall have final power to decide whether the payments shall be considered compensation for purposes of this article;
(9) “Contributing service” means service rendered by a member within this state and for which the member made contributions to a public retirement system account of this state, to the extent credited him or her as provided by this article;
(10) “Credited service” means the sum of a member’s prior service credit, military service credit, workers’ compensation service credit and contributing service credit standing to his or her credit as provided in this article;
(11) “Employee” means any
person who serves regularly as an officer or employee, full time, on a salary
basis, whose tenure is not restricted as to temporary or provisional
appointment, in the service of, and whose compensation is payable, in whole or
in part, by any political subdivision, or an officer or employee whose
compensation is calculated on a daily basis and paid monthly or on completion
of assignment, including technicians and other personnel employed by the West
Virginia National Guard whose compensation, in whole or in part, is paid by the
federal government: Provided, That an employee of the Legislature whose
term of employment is otherwise classified as temporary and who is employed to
perform services required by the Legislature for its regular sessions or during
the interim between regular sessions and who has been or is employed during
regular sessions or during the interim between regular sessions in seven or
more consecutive calendar years, as certified by the clerk of the house in
which the employee served, is an employee, any provision to the contrary in
this article notwithstanding, and is entitled to credited service in accordance
with provisions of section fourteen of this article: Provided, however,
That members of the legislative body of any political subdivision and
of the state Court of Claims commissioners of the West Virginia
Legislative Claims Commissions are employees receiving one year of service
credit for each one-year term served and prorated service credit for any
partial term served, anything contained in this article to the contrary
notwithstanding: Provided further, That only a compensated board member
of a participating public employer appointed to a board of a nonlegislative
body for the first time on or after July 1, 2014, who normally is required to
work 12 months per year and 1040 hours of service per year is an employee. In
any case of doubt as to who is an employee within the meaning of this article,
the board of trustees shall decide the question;
(12) “Employer error” means an omission, misrepresentation or violation of relevant provisions of the West Virginia Code or of the West Virginia Code of State Regulations or the relevant provisions of both the West Virginia Code and of the West Virginia Code of State Regulations by the participating public employer that has resulted in an underpayment or overpayment of contributions required. A deliberate act contrary to the provisions of this section by a participating public employer does not constitute employer error;
(13) “Final average salary” means either of the following: Provided, That salaries for determining benefits during any determination period may not exceed the maximum compensation allowed as adjusted for cost of living in accordance with section seven, article ten-d of this chapter and Section 401 (a) (17) of the Internal Revenue Code: Provided, however, That the provisions of section twenty-two-h of this article are not applicable to the amendments made to this subdivision during the 2011 regular session of the Legislature;
(A) The average of the highest annual compensation received by a member, including a member of the Legislature who participates in the retirement system in the year 1971 or thereafter, during any period of three consecutive years of credited service contained within the member’s 15 years of credited service immediately preceding the date his or her employment with a participating public employer last terminated: Provided, That for persons who were first hired on or after July 1, 2015, any period of five consecutive years of contributing service contained within the member’s 15 years of credited service immediately preceding the date his or her employment with a participating public employer last terminated: Provided, however, That for a member of the Legislature who made his or her first contribution to the members’ deposit fund after June 30, 2021, final average salary is computed as provided in §5-10-52 of this code; or
(B) If the member has less than five years of credited service, the average of the annual rate of compensation received by the member during his or her total years of credited service; and in determining the annual compensation, under either paragraph (A) or (B) of this subdivision, of a member of the Legislature who participates in the retirement system as a member of the Legislature in the year 1971, or in any year thereafter, his or her actual legislative compensation (the total of all compensation paid under sections two, three, four and five, article two-a, chapter four of this code), in the year 1971, or in any year thereafter, plus any other compensation he or she receives in any year from any other participating public employer including the State of West Virginia, without any multiple in excess of one times his or her actual legislative compensation and other compensation, shall be used: Provided, That final average salary for any former member of the Legislature or for any member of the Legislature in the year 1971 who, in either event, was a member of the Legislature on November 30, 1968, or November 30, 1969, or November 30, 1970, or on November 30 in any one or more of those three years and who participated in the retirement system as a member of the Legislature in any one or more of those years means: (i) Either, notwithstanding the provisions of this subdivision preceding this proviso, $1,500 multiplied by eight, plus the highest other compensation the former member or member received in any one of the three years from any other participating public employer including the State of West Virginia; or (ii) final average salary determined in accordance with paragraph (A) or (B) of this subdivision, whichever computation produces the higher final average salary, and in determining the annual compensation under subparagraph (ii) of this paragraph, the legislative compensation of the former member shall be computed on the basis of $1,500 multiplied by eight, and the legislative compensation of the member shall be computed on the basis set forth in the provisions of this subdivision immediately preceding this paragraph or on the basis of $1,500 multiplied by eight, whichever computation as to the member produces the higher annual compensation;
(14) “Internal Revenue Code” means the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, codified at Title 26 of the United States Code;
(15) “Limited credited service” means service by employees of the West Virginia Educational Broadcasting Authority, in the employment of West Virginia University, during a period when the employee made contributions to another retirement system, as required by West Virginia University, and did not make contributions to the Public Employees Retirement System: Provided, That while limited credited service can be used for the formula set forth in subsection (e), section twenty-one of this article, it may not be used to increase benefits calculated under section twenty-two of this article;
(16) “Member” means any person who has accumulated contributions standing to his or her credit in the members’ deposit fund;
(17) “Participating public employer” means the State of West Virginia, any board, commission, department, institution or spending unit and includes any agency created by rule of the Supreme Court of Appeals having full-time employees, which for the purposes of this article is considered a department of state government; and any political subdivision in the state which has elected to cover its employees, as defined in this article, under the West Virginia Public Employees Retirement System;
(18) “Plan year” means the same as referenced in section forty-two of this article;
(19) “Political subdivision” means the State of West Virginia, a county, city or town in the state; a school corporation or corporate unit; any separate corporation or instrumentality established by one or more counties, cities or towns, as permitted by law; any corporation or instrumentality supported in most part by counties, cities or towns; and any public corporation charged by law with the performance of a governmental function and whose jurisdiction is coextensive with one or more counties, cities or towns: Provided, That any mental health agency participating in the Public Employees Retirement System before July 1, 1997, is considered a political subdivision solely for the purpose of permitting those employees who are members of the Public Employees Retirement System to remain members and continue to participate in the retirement system at their option after July 1, 1997: Provided, however, That the Regional Community Policing Institute which participated in the Public Employees Retirement System before July 1, 2000, is considered a political subdivision solely for the purpose of permitting those employees who are members of the Public Employees Retirement System to remain members and continue to participate in the Public Employees Retirement System after July 1, 2000;
(20) “Prior service” means service rendered prior to July 1, 1961, to the extent credited a member as provided in this article;
(21) “Regular interest” means the rate or rates of interest per annum, compounded annually, as the board of trustees adopts from time to time;
(22) “Required beginning date” means April 1 of the calendar year following the later of: (A) The calendar year in which the member attains age 70 and one-half years of age; or (B) the calendar year in which a member who has attained the age 70 and one-half years of age and who ceases providing service covered under this system to a participating employer;
(23) “Retirant” means any member who commences an annuity payable by the retirement system;
(24) “Retirement” means a member’s withdrawal from the employ of a participating public employer and the commencement of an annuity by the retirement system;
(25) “Retirement system” or “system” means the West Virginia Public Employees Retirement System created and established by this article;
(26) “Retroactive service” means: (1) Service between July 1, 1961, and the date an employer decides to become a participating member of the Public Employees Retirement System; (2) service prior to July 1, 1961, for which the employee is not entitled to prior service at no cost in accordance with 162 CSR 5.13; and (3) service of any member of a legislative body or employees of the State Legislature whose term of employment is otherwise classified as temporary for which the employee is eligible, but for which the employee did not elect to participate at that time;
(27) “Service” means personal service rendered to a participating public employer by an employee of a participating public employer; and
(28) “State” means the State of West Virginia.
§5-10-52. Specific provisions relating to certain members of the Legislature and certain service by members of the Legislature.
(a) The provisions of this article specifying that a legislator may be a member of the retirement system and at the same time also a member of another state or political subdivision retirement program and may receive credit in the retirement system from two or more public employments simultaneously and authorizing automatic increases in the annuities of retired legislators based upon increases in compensation paid to members of the Legislature shall not be applicable to any member of the Legislature who first becomes a member of the retirement system as a member of the Legislature during the year 1971, or any year thereafter, nor shall such provisions be applicable to the computation of service, credited service or benefits for any period of service as a member of the Legislature for the year 1971, or any year thereafter.
(b) Notwithstanding §5-10-14 of this code, “final average salary” means the average of the annual rate of compensation received by a member during his or her total years of credited service for any member meeting the following criteria:
(1) The member served as a member of the Legislature and, after June 30, 2021, made his or her first contribution to the members’ deposit fund.
(2) The member thereafter claims retirement benefits under this article based, in whole or in part, on his or her years of contributing service as a member of the Legislature.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to require that for calculating retirement benefits under the West Virginia Public Employees Retirement Act, the final average salary for members of the Legislature taking office after June 30, 2021 and thereafter participating in the retirement system as a member of the Legislature be the average of the member’s annual rate of compensation during his or her total years of credited service.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from a heading or the present law and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.