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PERA operates by authority of the Colorado General Assembly and is administered under Title 24, Article 51 of the Colorado Revised Statutes. The primary purpose is to provide benefits and programs as specified by state law, and the Board of Trustees oversees the administration of these benefits and programs, as established by the state legislature. The ability to provide retirement and other benefits to the employees of more than 500 government agencies and public entities in the state of Colorado is a result of changes in both state and federal law since 1931. The PERA Board of Trustees’ determines PERA’s legislative program and positions on bills that affect the organization.

Current Legislation

Visit PERA on the Issues for information on the 2023 Legislative session.

How does legislation affect PERA?

Senate Bill 14-214 Independent Studies on Colorado PERA 

In the 2014 legislative session, the Joint Budget Committee sponsored Senate Bill 14-214, which created and funded three separate studies to be conducted by neutral, outside experts to examine aspects of the benefit and funding structure of PERA. The Board of Trustees supported the bill and it was signed into law by Gov. Hickenlooper on June 4, 2014. All three studies were completed in 2015.

Milliman Retirement Benefits Study

In January 2015, the Colorado Department of Personnel and Administration incorporated retirement benefits into the State’s annual total compensation survey, which was conducted by the actuarial firm Milliman. The Colorado General Assembly had asked that the salary survey include the value of the PERA retirement benefit. Specifically, Senate Bill 14-214 required a comparison between the retirement package provided to State employees through PERA to retirement packages offered by both private companies and other states.

Gabriel, Roeder, Smith & Company Plan Design Study

In July 2015, the second study was released by the Colorado Office of the State Auditor, which was an independent evaluation of PERA comparing the costs and effectiveness of PERA’s DB Plan to alternative plans in the public and private sector. Nationally recognized actuarial firm Gabriel, Roeder, Smith & Company (GRS) conducted a comprehensive evaluation for this study.

Pension Trustee Advisors Sensitivity Analysis

In October 2015, the third study was released, which was a sensitivity analysis of PERA’s actuarial assumptions. This study was overseen by the Colorado Office of the State Auditor and performed by Pension Trustee Advisors (PTA). The analysis looked at the various components used in determining PERA’s financial health. A second objective of the study was to develop an understandable format for communicating PERA’s progress toward becoming fully funded for a broad spectrum of stakeholders and policymakers. To fulfill this objective, PTA developed a signal light methodology for evaluating PERA. 

Legislation Impacting PERA