Wisconsin’s biennial budget bill, 2019 Wisconsin Act 9, became law on July 3. The budget funds state government operations and local spending commitments such as school aids and other funds for local governments. The approved budget provides the Department of Employee Trust Funds the necessary resources to effectively administer the Wisconsin Retirement System and other benefit programs. 2019 Wisconsin Act 9 did not make any changes to WRS benefit programs.
Other current legislative proposals related to ETF and/or WRS benefit programs include:
2019 Senate Bill 149 and 2019 AB 157, which allow an annuitant who was a law enforcement officer or firefighter to return to work with a WRS employer and elect to not participate in the WRS and instead continue to receive his or her annuity.
2019 Senate Bill 5 and 2019 Assembly Bill 5, which classify county jailers as Protective category participants under the WRS without a requirement that their principal duties involve active law enforcement. The bills would require county jailers who are currently employed by a county that does not classify county jailers as Protective participants and who become Protective participants under this bill to pay the employer share on the higher WRS contribution and the duty disability premium, which is currently an employer cost. The proposed legislation also provides that county employers who currently classify their jailers as Protective category participants can continue to pay the employer cost for current and future employees.
2019 Senate Bill 154 and 2019 AB 164, which allow WRS participants, who worked at the Department of Corrections for at least five years and who terminate on or after the effective date of the bill, to receive military service credits for any military service. Current law requires that the service must have been performed prior to 1974.
2019 AB 257 and 2019 SB 233, which authorize ETF to withhold money from a member’s WRS annuity or lump-sum payment if a court has issued a restitution order for a crime that is both felony theft and misconduct in public office, the crime 257257resulted in a loss to the defendant’s employer and the defendant’s employer participates in the WRS.