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News

Department of Employee Trust Funds
October 16, 2015

Legislative Update:
Proposals Affecting the Wisconsin Retirement System

Several bills affecting the Wisconsin Retirement System were recently introduced in the Wisconsin State Legislature.

2015 SB 312 and 2015 AB 394 requires the Group Insurance Board, in consultation with the Division of Personnel Management in the Department of Administration, to submit all proposed changes to public employee group health insurance programs to the Joint Committee on Finance (JCF). Under the bill, the GIB may not implement any changes in the group health insurance programs unless approved by JCF through a 21-day passive review process.

2015 SB 312 was introduced by Sen. Darling and 2015 AB 394 was introduced by Rep. Nygren. The bills were referred to the JCF, which held a public hearing and executive session on the bills on October 15, 2015. The JCF subsequently passed both bills 15-0.

2015 AB 397 and 2015 SB 329 increase the minimum retirement age for all employees by two years.

  • General category employees and those in the Elected Official/Executive/Judge category are currently eligible to retire at age 55. The bill would change that to age 57.
  • Protective category employees, such as police and firefighters, are currently eligible to retire at age 50. The bill would change that to age 52.
  • This change would only apply to WRS participants who are under age 40 on the effective date of the bill.

2015 AB 397 was introduced by Rep. Sanfelippo and referred to the Joint Survey Committee on Retirement Systems. 2015 SB 329 was introduced by Sen. Stroebel and referred to the Senate Committee on Labor and Government Reform.

2015 AB 398 and 2015 SB 328 change the formula method for calculating a WRS retirement benefit from three to five years.

  • Under current law, a formula benefit is based on the average of the three highest years of earnings.
  • Under the bill, a formula benefit would be based on the average of the five highest years of earnings.
  • This change would take effect five years after the effective date of the bill.

2015 AB 398 was introduced by Rep. August and referred to the Joint Survey Committee on Retirement Systems. 2015 SB 328 was introduced by Sen. Stroebel and referred to the Senate Committee on Labor and Government Reform.

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