June 4, 2012

As you likely are aware, over the last several months there has been legislation either passed or proposed by the State Legislature that adversely affects the pension benefits of state retirees. Two of these include SB1313 and SB1673. Another one of interest is HB1447.

Senate Bill 1313 (SB1313) eliminates for retirees the 5% reduction in the health insurance premium for each year of service. It also authorizes the Illinois Department of Central Management Services to determine each year the amount of premiums that retirees and others will be required to pay.

SB1313 was approved by the House of Representatives and the Senate on May 10. They have up to 30 days (latest date June 9) from their approval to send it to the Governor for his approval. The Governor has 60 days from receipt to act (approve or veto) on it.

Senate Bill 1673 (SB1673) requires current retirees to choose between two options:
a) keep the current 3% compounded annual cost-of-living adjustment and become ineligible to participate in the state’s health insurance program, or
b) receive an annual cost-of-living adjustment that is ½ the consumer price index or 3%, whichever is less and be allowed to participate in the state’s health insurance program.

The provisions of this bill do not apply to the Judicial Retirement System.

SB1673 is currently being held in the rules committee of the House of Representatives. The Senate has formulated and discussed its own bills that contain these same provisions.

House Bill 1447 (HB1447) applies only to retirees from the State Employees Retirement System and the General Assembly Retirement System. It contains essentially the same provisions that are contained in SB1673.

At this time, the Governor and Legislative Leaders are in discussions regarding pension benefits legislation. A special legislative session on pensions will likely be called by the Governor in the near future. The RSEA’s legislative leadership and Cook-Witter, Inc. are actively watching and meeting on these issues.

Have you wondered how your Legislators have voted recently on legislation that has a significant affect on the pension benefits of state retirees?

To see how legislators have voted on a particular bill, go to the Illinois General Assembly website On the left hand side of the General Assembly Home page, enter the bill number, such as SB1313, and click GO. At the top of the Bill Status page, click the link titled ‘Votes’. Then, click on the Voting History entry that applies.

To determine who your Legislators are, go to the Illinois State Board of Elections website On the left hand side of the State Board of Elections Home page, click on the menu item titled District/Official Search – By Address. Then, enter your home address information and click ‘Search’. A list of all the elected officials who represent you will appear. Click on the name of the elected official to obtain their contact information.

Contacting the Governor to express your objection to the proposed changes contained in SB1313 would be a good thing to do. It may also be helpful to contact your State Representative and Senator regarding your feelings about this and other legislation being discussed. As they continue to look at legislation that adversely affects the pensions of retirees, it may help for them to be aware of its affects on retirees.