Be Active in the Future of Your Retirement System

At Colorado PERA, we believe in empowering our members by providing them with the right tools to engage in the public policy process that could impact the future of your retirement system. 

For information on federal legislation that may affect PERA, visit the NASRA and NCTR websites.

Current Legislation

The following is a summary of legislation affecting PERA that has been introduced in the 2015 legislative session.

Senate Bill 15-080: Choice of PERA Members to Participate in the Defined Contribution Plan

Sponsors: Sen. Owen Hill (R–Colorado Springs), Rep. Paul Lundeen (R–Monument)

The bill would allow all new employees of all Colorado PERA employers, upon being hired after January 1, 2016, to have a choice between PERA’s Defined Benefit (DB) Plan and PERA’s Defined Contribution (DC) Plan, as currently structured in the State Division. In addition, the bill allows all active PERA DB Plan employees of all employers to have a one-time irrevocable option to move from the DB Plan to the DC Plan during open enrollment. If a member made the choice to move to the DC Plan going forward, they could freeze their current DB account to collect a benefit later or they could close their DB account and transfer the balance to the new DC account.

Status: Postponed indefinitely on March 18 by the House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee.

PERA’s Position: The PERA Board of Trustees voted to oppose this bill.

Senate Bill 15-097: Supplemental Needs Trust For Certain PERA Benefits

Sponsors: Sen. Irene Aguilar (D–Denver) and Rep. Lois Landgraf (R–Fountain)

Senate Bill 97 would allow a PERA DB Plan retiree to designate a supplemental needs trust as a cobeneficiary. The trust would be eligible to receive a continuing benefit upon the PERA retiree’s death. The bill would also allow a supplemental needs trust to qualify as an eligible survivor and therefore able to receive applicable PERA survivor benefits.

Currently, PERA retirees may name a disabled dependent as a cobeneficiary. The dependent would then receive an ongoing monthly benefit following the retiree’s death. Under federal and state law, this cobeneficiary designation may result in the dependent losing his or her right to needs-based government benefits. Additionally, survivors who are entitled to PERA survivor benefits may lose the right to needs-based government benefits as a result of that entitlement.

Status: Signed into law by Governor Hickenlooper on April 16.

PERA’s Position: The PERA Board of Trustees voted to support this bill.

Senate Bill 15-133: Compensation Report Prepared By State Personnel Director

Sponsors: Sen. Kent Lambert (R–Colorado Springs) and Rep. Bob Rankin (R–Carbondale)

The bill would require the state personnel director to make recommendations regarding retirement benefit contribution rates in the annual report for state employees. The bill would also require that the compensation report be filed in odd-numbered years and include information for the next two fiscal years.

Currently the annual compensation report includes information on state employee salaries, merit pay, and state contributions to health, life, and dental plans. The PERA Board is statutorily charged with making contribution rate recommendations to the General Assembly for the Defined Benefit plan on an annual basis.

Status: Passed in the Senate on Third Reading on April 16.

PERA’s Position: The PERA Board of Trustees voted to oppose this bill.

House Bill 15-1251: PERA & Denver Public Schools 5-Year True-up

Sponsors: Rep. Lois Court (D–Denver) and Rep. Jim Wilson (R–Salida)

The 2009 legislation that authorized the merger of the Denver Public Schools Retirement System (DPSRS) with PERA required that every fifth year it be determined if the DPS employer contribution rate should be adjusted. The adjustment is meant to ensure that 30 years after the merger the funding status of the Denver Public Schools (DPS) Division is equal to the School Division.

This bill would reduce the employer contribution rate for the DPS Division from 13.75 percent to 10.15 percent, effective January 1, 2015.

Status: Passed third reading in the House on March 17.

PERA’s Position: The Board of Trustees is neutral on this bill but continues to oppose the actuarial deterioration of the funded status of the DPS Division. The Board urges the General Assembly to adopt an employer contribution rate for the DPS Division of 12.6 percent, which is projected to bring the Division to 100 percent funding at the end of the true-up period.


Your Future, Your Voice

Do you want to have a voice in the future of your retirement? Become an Ambassador and represent PERA in your community. PERA’s Ambassador Program is made up of members and retirees just like you who want to protect the retirement security of teachers, State Troopers, snow plow drivers, corrections officers, and all the public employees who dedicate their careers and contribute to the quality of life we enjoy in Colorado.