PERS Votes to Develop Regulation to Allow Retirees to Serve in Legislature
Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Posted by: Kelly Riley
The Mississippi Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) Board of Trustees voted earlier today to affirm retirees’ right to serve in the Mississippi Legislature without the forfeiture of their retirement benefits. The board also directed PERS staff to develop a regulation to this effect which will comply with both the Attorney General’s recent opinion on this matter, as well federal tax law and regulations while protecting the tax status of the system. The PERS Board intends for the new regulation to be in effect by January 1, 2020.
The Administrative Committee of the board met at 10:00 this morning prior to the 11:30 special called meeting of the full board. Committee members discussed the need for additional work and research on the issue, particularly other states’ retirement systems which allow for retirees to serve without forfeiting their benefits. Committee discussions emphasized that any regulatory changes must not endanger the tax status of the retirement system. Committee members discussed the need for the PERS board to publicly declare its intent in order to allow interested candidates in meeting the March 1 qualifying deadline.
Dr. Randy McCoy, one of two retiree representatives on the board and retired superintendent of the Tupelo Public Schools, made the motion for the PERS Board to state its support for retirees’ rights to run and serve in the Mississippi Legislature and to direct PERS staff to conduct the research and work necessary to develop a new regulation that will allow for such while upholding the Attorney General’s opinion and federal tax regulations with the intent for the new regulation to be in effect by January 1, 2020. Bill Benson, the county employees’ representative on the board and Lee County Chancery Clerk, seconded McCoy’s motion. The Administrative Committee voted to adopt the motion, with the State Treasurer’s designee abstaining and Drew Snyder, Governor Bryant’s appointee to the board, voting against the motion. The meeting of the Administrative Committee then adjourned.
After a short break, the PERS Board met in a special called meeting and received a report from the Administrative Committee of its discussion and vote. Randy McCoy once again made the motion and George Dale, the other retiree representative on the board, seconded the motion. Board members voted in favor of the motion, with Drew Snyder voting against the motion.
Today’s decision opens the door for interested retirees to qualify by March 1 to run for the state legislature. While the PERS Board declared its intent today, they did so with the acknowledgement that candidates will be running before any new regulation is developed, adopted or goes into effect. There is a great deal of interest in this opportunity for educators, as well as other state retirees. MPE will keep our members updated as to developments.