COLA VICTORY FOR NON-CONTRIB RETIREES

JANUARY 5, 1999 - "We
never gave up our fight for non-contributory retirees to receive a
cost-of-living adjustment (COLA)," announced Association President
Ralph White. "And because of that, victory was achieved before the
Legislature ended its session."

As
reported in the January Voice, our non-contrib members remained
optimistic that their COLA bill (H-5469) would be enacted. Sharing that
same optimism, the Association’s legislative team worked feverishly for
H-5469’s enactment as the legislative session came to a close.

On
Monday, December 28, H-5469, the Senate Committee on Ways and Means
released the non-contrib COLA bill. After a week of procedural
maneuvers between the House and Senate, the bill was enacted into law
on January 4 and placed on Governor Cellucci’s desk.

Cellucci
is expected to sign the bill into law within the next ten days. We have
requested an executive order from the Governor so that the law will
take effect immediately. Otherwise, the law will not take effect until
90 days after it is signed.

After
it is signed by the Governor, the law indexes COLAs for
non-contributory retirees to the current and future COLAs granted to
contributory retirees. In other words, when a COLA is granted to
members of the retirement system, it is also granted to the
non-contributory retirees.

The
law takes effect immediately for state non-contribs and requires a
onetime local acceptance for the municipalities, counties, districts ,
and authorities. Another important feature of the new law is that upon
acceptance, COLAs will be retroactive to July 1, 1998, meaning that,
when the law is accepted this year by a municipality its non-contrib
retirees will receive the same 2.1% COLA received by its contributory
retirees this past July 1.

The
1999-2000 Legislative Session begins on Wednesday (January 6).
Committee assignments are expected to take place within the next two
weeks, with public hearings on pending legislation to begin by the
month’s end. For up-to-date legislative information, please revisit the
Association web site. We plan to post all relevant retirement
legislation on the internet as the information becomes available

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