NEBRASKA LEGISLATURE
The official site of the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature

Sen. Mark Kolterman

Sen. Mark Kolterman

District 24

The content of these pages is developed and maintained by, and is the sole responsibility of, the individual senator's office and may not reflect the views of the Nebraska Legislature. Questions and comments about the content should be directed to the senator's office at mkolterman@leg.ne.gov

Our office received information from the Nebraska Department of Insurance regarding SHIIP (Senior Health Insurance Information Program) enrollment events.  See below for more information.

 

“Medicare Part D Open Enrollment is fast approaching.  Open Enrollment is the annual opportunity for individuals with Medicare to review their insurance options and make changes for the upcoming year. The staff and volunteers at Nebraska SHIIP (a division of the Department of Insurance) provide free, unbiased, confidential, one on one counselling sessions to educate and assist people with their Medicare comparisons.  Between October 15 and December 7th, the Nebraska SHIIP routinely assists over 20,000 Nebraskans in comparing their Medicare Prescription Drug Plan and Medicare Advantage Plan options.   We highly encourage all individuals on Medicare to explore their options each year as personal medical and medicine regimes change. Plans also change each year. Beneficiaries that review their options yearly have few if any surprises when the New Year begins.

During this Open Enrollment season, SHIIP will host over 200 enrollment events across the state where Medicare beneficiaries will receive in-person Part D and/or Advantage Plan comparisons from one of our 370+ certified Medicare counselors. 

To learn more about the SHIIP Division, please feel free to visit the SHIIP website

 

There is one SHIIP event scheduled in District 24. Appointments ARE REQUIRED for the event. See below for event details and contact information.

Thurs., October 19th
9am-3pm
Seward Library
233 S. 5th Street, Seward
1-800-234-7120

Patient Centered Medical Home Stakeholders Agenda

 

PLEASE NOTE THIS IS A CHANGE OF DATE

Thursday, October 12th, 2017

1:30-3:30

State Capitol Hearing Room 1510

 

Patient Centered Medical Home Stakeholders Agenda

  1. Welcome and anti-trust statement
  2. BCBS report on CPC+ application, award and clinic recruitment
  3. Division of Behavioral Health- Project ECHO
  4. Reports from Medicaid MCO’s and other insurers on PCMH progress
  5. NeHII update
  6. Senator Kolterman –Next meeting date and possible agenda items

 

For those joining via conference call,

The access # 888-820-1398 and the attendee code is #3727514

 

Click link below for printable version of the agenda.

PCMH Meeting Agenda Oct 12 2017.revised

York News Times: September 1st

September 1st, 2017

State Chamber pays a call on York

Sen. Mark Kolterman shares the dais

 

YORK – The Nebraska State Chamber of Commerce brings annual legislative forums to communities in the state and Thursday was York’s turn.

The presentations and discussions took place over lunch at York Country Club. Speakers were State Chamber officials Joseph Young and Jamie Karl, and Nebraska State Senator Mark Kolterman from Seward.

Young began with a nod to Kolterman.

“We appreciate Sen. Kolterman,” he said, adding there’s a “great relationship” between him and the State Chamber. “He happens to have a 100 percent ranking on our vote scorecard again this year” for ballots he’s cast on issues of interest to the organization.

“We’re trying to make Nebraska the best place to do business,” a task that requires State Chamber staff “to track 350-400 bills” per legislative session.

Why so many? The diversity of members and the issues of concern to them, he explained, account for that number.

Flagship issues to the Chamber, he said, include: Taxes, the cost of doing business, job creation and work force, including affordable housing for families so they can take all those jobs. The latter, he said, “Is probably the biggest issue” over the past four or five years.

Chamber attention does not, he stressed, fall upon the bills that passed exclusively.

“The bills we stop from passing are important, too,” he noted.

Karl went through slides divided into The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of how business-friendly the state is as rated by outside entities.

The Good – No. 1 for regulatory climate, No. 5 for unemployment tax costs, No. 3 for legal climate and No. 6 in the fiscal solvency category.

He said the lofty solvency ranking is driven by the fact per-capita debt in Nebraska is only $8.

The Bad – No. 27 for current economic health, No. 26 for growth prospects, No. 33 for technology and innovation, No. 20 for available workforce.

Karl said the state’s workforce ranking has fallen nine spots in two years because not many workers are available in a state with 2.5 percent unemployment.

“Basically anyone who wants a job in Nebraska has a job,” he said. “You don’t want that (unemployed) 2 ½ percent working at your business.”

The Ugly?

“We pay a lot of taxes, $9.8 billion last year” at the state and local levels, he said with a sigh.

The point is made in the fact the average individual income tax rate in states that share borders with Nebraska is 2.03 percent. Here, he said, it’s 6.84 percent.

Obviously that discrepancy builds a fence between Nebraska and those other states when businesses go shopping for place in which to expand or relocate.

Nebraska taxpayers, he said, now face a combined, all-inclusive tax rate of 50 percent.

He also pointed out that 60 percent of property tax dollars statewide go to fund K-12 education.

The state, he stressed, does not collect a single dime of property tax money. That authority exists at the local level exclusively.

To the question of the state returning money to the county and local levels he noted, “One-third of the state budget is going to local governments already.

“Everyone in this room would probably come up with a different plan for tax reform,” he said, based upon “the taxes they pay” personally.

When his turn at microphone came Kolterman began by pointing out the session just ended as his third since being elected to the body.

“The next session is probably going to be one of the toughest” to get through, he predicted. The Unicameral, he said giving fair warning, “is looking at probably more cuts come January.”

Kolterman doesn’t speak much on the floor of the Legislature, but nonetheless influenced a majority of bills passed during the session, often by serving as a bridge between colleagues.

A big challenge on the horizon, he said, is how to stock outstate Nebraska with adequate numbers of doctors, allied health professionals and hospitals.

One answer he mentioned: Tele-medicine.

Told via a note from the audience of a mother who was forced to travel from Broken Bow to Kearney so she could give birth by C-section, Kolterman laughed and said, “Well, I guess we can’t do that by tele-medicine.”

All joking aside, Kolterman said that mother’s quandary perfectly illustrates the point.

One recurring obstacle in the body – term limits – is an enormous limiting factor.

“To turn it (legislative body) over like we’re turning it over is a big problem. With all that retirement (of senators)” the constant flood of newbies “has to rely on the institutional knowledge of the (legislative) staff” because they have none of their own. By the time they get it, they term limit out.

As to specific issues, he said, “Property taxes and how we fund education go hand-in-hand so we’ve really got to pay attention to that.”

Also, he said 53 percent of nursing home occupants today “are paid for by the state” on average.

Some in their elderly years are known to abuse the system by “giving their land away and then expecting the state to pay for them.”

Look for the legislature to tighten the screws on that and similar loopholes.

“I like to think we’re trying to listen to our constituents,” he said. “In our office we track every bill. Reality is we are nonpartisan” and thus should leave both colors – Red and Blue – at the door.

“I didn’t go down there to change the world. I went down there with the idea to help Nebraskans.”

http://www.yorknewstimes.com/news/state-chamber-pays-a-call-on-york/article_9d1c9922-8ec7-11e7-96bf-b70870cad68b.html

The Clerk’s Office of the Nebraska Legislature is Now Accepting

Applications for Legislative Page Positions

 

The application process for selecting pages for the 2018 Legislative Session is now underway in the Clerk’s Office at the Nebraska Legislature. Legislative pages are local college students employed by the Legislature to respond to senators’ requests for assistance on the Legislative Floor, answer incoming calls to the Legislative Chamber, and possibly assist in committee hearings.

The deadline for submitting an application is Fri., September 29th at 5:00 pm. A letter of recommendation from your state senator is encouraged. College students from District 24 requesting a letter of recommendation from Senator Kolterman should contact our office at (402) 471-2756 or mkolterman@leg.ne.gov.

Applications are available at the link below (PDF) or from the Clerk of the Legislature’s Office, Room 2018, State Capitol, 1445 K Street. For further information on the application process, please contact the Office of the Clerk of the Legislature at (402) 471-2271.

 

Legislative Page Application 2017

Patient Centered Medical Home Stakeholders Agenda

 

Monday, July 10th, 2017

1:30-3:30

State Capitol Hearing Room 1510

 

Welcome and anti-trust statement

Deb Bass – Update on NeHII

Update on PCMH Participation Agreement for January 2017 signatures

BCBS report on CPC+ application, award and clinic recruitment

Prairie Health Ventures- Rural ACO

Jason Schmit- myConnections- pilot in Buffalo, Hall and Adams Counties

Dave Palm – College of Public Health – PCMH survey and results

Senator Kolterman – Next meeting date and possible agenda items

 

 

For those joining via conference call,

the access # 888-820-1398 and the attendee code is #4727514

 

 

Click link below for printable version of the agenda.

Patient Centered Medical Home Stakeholders – Agenda for 7-10-2017

This will be my last weekly update for the session, as Speaker Scheer announced that the legislature finished its business earlier than expected and we adjourned sine die on Tuesday, May 23rd, the 86th day of the session.  It is not uncommon to adjourn a few days early.  Officially, the only job of the legislature is to pass a budget.  Now we will wait a few months and watch the tax receipts to see if the budget projections are correct.  If they are not, there could be a possibility of returning this fall for a special session to deal with any budget shortfalls that could occur.

I want to thank everyone that called, emailed, wrote, or visited my office this year.  I can never stress enough how valuable it is to me to listen to the views and opinions of those I represent.  We may not agree on every issue, but hearing from you is valuable insight on what issues effect you the most.  Having open and constructive conversations with those you disagree is something that I think helps make me best represent those I serve.

I had a productive session and am pleased with what the legislature accomplished, but I always feel like we could have done more.  We faced many challenges this year, especially with the budget shortfall due to the ailing agricultural industry.

I would like to have seen a comprehensive tax reform package passed, or at the very least, property tax reduction.  It is my hope that the governor can work with the revenue committee to find a solution to relieve some of the tax burden for hard working Nebraska families.

For my personal bills, the legislature passed nine bills that I introduced, including LB323, a bill that is very personal to me since it helps advocate for the use of palliative care, which is a service that is important to people such as my wife who is battling a terminal illness.  I am also pleased that we passed LB18, a dental hygienist bill that has been in the works for close to ten years, and LB92, my personal priority bill, a bill that extends insurance coverage for the use of telehealth in the state.  During the interim, the Health and Human Service Committee will be taking a closer look and examining the use of telehealth in the state through a legislative resolution that I introduced, LR178.

The legislature passed ten of my retirement bills this year.  Eight of those ten bills were included in LB415, a bill which I have commented in this column extensively about for the past couple weeks.  I introduced a few interim resolutions that will deal with retirement issues, including retired substitute teachers.

Besides interim studies, there is plenty to do this summer and fall before we reconvene next January.  Now that session is over, I look forward to having more time to spend in the community and seeing you all at county fairs, church, town halls, BBQs, and the Seward Fourth of July!

Even though we are not in session, my staff is available to be of assistance to you in any way.  Please do not hesitate to contact my office. My door is open and I have made it a goal to be accessible to the constituents of our district. Please stop by any time. My e-mail address is mkolterman@leg.ne.gov, and the office phone number is 402-471-2756. David and Katie are always available to assist you with your needs. If I am not immediately available, please do not hesitate to work with them to address any issues that you may need assistance.

May 12th – LB415 update

May 12th, 2017

Many educators question why I introduced LB 415. I want to share my reasons with you and explain some of the complexities.  I support defined benefit plans as long as they maintain a healthy funded status. I believe they are a valuable benefit for our public employees and I am committed to protecting these plans.  The State of Nebraska contributes $38 million to the School Plan and an additional $7 million to the Class V (Omaha) School Plan every year. Because of the tremendous state budget deficit, there has been some interest in reducing this annual contribution.  I objected to, and prevented an attempt on the floor to reduce this annual appropriation because I knew it would endanger the healthy funding status of this plan.  I also understand that if we don’t make these annual contributions, the State of Nebraska is liable for the funding.

In addition to keeping the plan well-funded, retirement plans must also be kept in compliance with IRS requirements for qualified plans – which includes ensuring there is a “bona fide separation of service” when a member retires.

Currently in the School Plan, intermittent substitute and voluntary service are allowed during the 180-day separation of service period following retirement.  The Nebraska Public Employees Retirement System (NPERS) advised me they are seeing a trend in retirees providing more and more substitute service during this 180-day period – service that is beyond what can be deemed “intermittent”.  As a result NPERS staff are spending significantly increasing staff time to monitor and investigate “intermittent service” in order to keep the plan in compliance with the IRS.  When NPERS has deemed service has not been intermittent, they had to suspend the retiree’s benefit for a period of time—a result that we all want to avoid.

LB 415 was introduced to eliminate retirees from providing substitute or voluntary service during the 180-day separation of service period in order to create a “bright line” to ensure that the IRS-required bona fide separation of service occurs.

The other proposed changes in LB 415 were in response to information provided by the actuary. During last summer’s examination of all the retirement plans, the actuary determined that members are living much longer — which is great news!  But it also means retirement benefits are paid over longer periods than originally assumed. The actuary also informed the Committee that when incentives are offered that encourage plan members to retire early, then benefits are paid over a longer period of time than assumed.  Both of these findings result in increased costs to the plan which is why LB 415 includes the provisions that require future hires to work until at least age 60 and a longer separation of service period for retirees who take a voluntary separation agreement or other form of early retirement inducement.

These issues were studies throughout the interim. I met numerous times with representatives of NPERS, NSEA and NCSA throughout the interim last year to discuss these proposed changes and I also made presentations to NSEA and NCSA groups.

After the hearing on LB 415, I agreed to reduce the originally proposed Rule of 90 to a modified Rule of 85 with a minimum retirement age of 60 and during debate on the bill, I further agreed to reduce the separation of service period from 3 years to 2 years for retirees who take early retirement inducements and allow voluntary service after 180 days.  During debate other alternatives were offered to reduce the 180-day period, but because of the complexity of determining whether or not they would meet IRS requirements, I agreed to eliminate my proposed changes to the 180-day separation of service and to study this issue further over the interim.

I know many educators are concerned about what I proposed in LB 415.  I want to reassure educators, the 180-day separation of service period that allows intermittent substitute and voluntary service remains in effect – there are no changes.

I also want to assure educators that the new Rule of 85 requiring a minimum retirement age of 60 does not apply to any current member or to anyone who is hired prior to July 1, 2018.  Only employees hired on or after July 1, 2018 will need to comply with the minimum retirement age of 60 requirement.  The actuary determined that this change alone is projected to save the School and Class V (Omaha) Plans a little over $100 million over the next 30 years which will help keep the School plan well- funded.

During the interim the Retirement Committee, joined by several other senators, will study these issues under LR 202, and several Education Committee members have introduced LR 130 to study a number of issues raised about substitute teaching.

I appreciate the dedication and commitment of educators and respect the service provided to our communities and our children.  I will continue to work to protect all retirement plans by keeping them in compliance with IRS requirements and making benefit adjustments in order to keep all plans fiscally healthy.  In addition, I will continue to object to any efforts to reduce funding for the School Plan or efforts to convert any of the defined benefit plans to cash balance plans as long as they remain well-funded.  I look forward to working with all educators in these efforts and welcome any questions.

As always, if we can be of assistance to you in any way, please do not hesitate to contact my office. My door is open and I have made it a goal to be accessible to the constituents of our district. Please stop by any time. My e-mail address is mkolterman@leg.ne.gov, and the office phone number is 402-471-2756. David and Katie are always available to assist you with your needs. If I am not immediately available, please do not hesitate to work with them to address any issues that you may need assistance.

 

LINCOLN — The Legislature abandoned a proposal Wednesday that would have barred newly retired teachers from working as substitutes.

Instead, lawmakers will undertake an interim study of the issue.

State Sen. Mark Kolterman of Seward proposed the study, as well as an amendment stripping restrictions on post-retirement employment from Legislative Bill 415.

The amendment resolved an issue that provoked controversy during first-round debate. Lawmakers adopted the amendment before giving the bill second-round approval. As advanced, LB 415 makes several less contentious changes in state retirement plans, including raising the retirement age for school employees who start work after July 1, 2018.

School employees now can retire at age 55 if they have accumulated 30 years of service, which is called the “rule of 85.” Under the bill, future employees will be able to retire at age 60 if they have 25 years of service.

Kolterman, chairman of the Nebraska Retirement Systems Committee, said the change would help the school retirement plan financially because it would mean paying out benefits for fewer years.

His amendment removed provisions from LB 415 that would have restricted school employees from working or volunteering in schools after they retired.

The original bill would have required teachers to stay out of the classroom for 180 days after retirement. Those who took early retirement buyouts would have had a three-year waiting period.

Kolterman had argued that the restrictions would ensure compliance with federal tax laws, which require a clear end to a person’s employment, and would discourage retirees from drawing a pension while going back to work.

But the Nebraska State Education Association and representatives of several school districts said the proposals would have worsened a shortage of substitute teachers.

Kolterman’s study resolution calls for examining the federal tax law, retirement administration challenges and substitute teacher service.

mstoddard@owh.com, 402-444-1000 x6616

http://www.omaha.com/news/legislature/nebraska-legislators-advance-bill-to-raise-teacher-retirement-age-after/article_8c5a60a9-5f7f-538b-8932-2cca0772d08a.html

We spent most of the week discussing the state budget.  During the debate there were two main parts of discussion. 1) Title X funding, which is tax dollars that are sent to the states for women’s and low income health services, and 2) the ongoing challenge of how to make up the additional revenue shortfall of around $55 million.

Regarding the first part of the debate, I want to explain why I voted the way I did. There was some language in the budget bill that would have stripped the Title X funding from the budget, even though historically it has been a part of the budget for many, many years. Let me be clear that no Title X money, by federal law, is allowed to go towards abortion services. That being said, however, with the removal of this funding, one traditionally pro-choice health clinic would have lost funding, but so would many low income health clinics that provide services throughout the state. These services are utilized extensively statewide and are sorely needed in some rural areas especially.

In addition to not wanting to see the low income clinics lose their funding, I also had concerns about how this pro-life vs. pro-choice issue was being debated as part of a budget bill, a budget bill that needed to be passed to fund the many programs of our state.

Additionally, I had concerns that if this issue being a part of the budget bill was challenged on its constitutionality, it could cause major issues for us in the future, throwing our budget bill into the courts and tying up the funding of all state programs, possibly shutting down state government.

In an effort to resolve this issue, a motion was made to remove this provision from the state budget bill and move forward with a clean budget, leaving this policy issue to be looked at separately in the future. I voted in support of the motion and also in support of the overall budget. While I understood the premise of those who wanted a certain entity to be defunded, I also didn’t believe this was the right way to go about this.

I have had a few people reach out indicating that they felt I had moved away from my pro-life values. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am pro-life and I will always be pro-life and continue to advocate for pro-life principles. Part of being pro-life is supporting all life, and allowing the low income clinics to continue serve under-privileged clients is one way to support their health and well- being.

The second part of the discussion relating to where to come up with the additional $55 million needed was also challenging. I, like many of my constituents, believe we need to do whatever we can to cut waste and create efficiency in state government. Senator Stinner, chair of appropriations, and his committee have done a great deal of work setting priorities and finding places to reduce spending. Some members of the body strongly believe we need to cut more to make up for the $55 million shortfall. While I agree that we need to continue to look at cuts, I am also concerned that across the board cuts could result in major disruption of critical services. We need to be careful as we proceed and find the right balance of cuts in a prioritized manner, while continuing to fund essential state services. The next few weeks will be challenging, and we will do what we can to make the best decisions we can for our state.

I also want to take a moment to address Senator Linehan’s LB651 and her motion to pull the bill from committee.  I supported Senator Linehan’s motion to pull the bill from committee because I believe LB651 is an issue that needs to be discussed by the legislature.  That being said, I do not support the bill in its current form and do not plan to vote to advance it.  I received many calls and emails regarding this bill, so I wanted to make my position clear.

As always, if we can be of assistance to you in any way, please do not hesitate to contact my office. My door is open and I have made it a goal to be accessible to the constituents of our district. Please stop by any time. My e-mail address is mkolterman@leg.ne.gov, and the office phone number is 402-471-2756. David and Katie are always available to assist you with your needs. If I am not immediately available, please do not hesitate to work with them to address any issues that you may need assistance.

 

April 28th – LB415

April 27th, 2017

LB 415 is one of the Retirement Committee’s Priority bills.  I have said many times that I support defined benefit plans for public employees as long as they are well-funded and sustainable.  In order to achieve that goal, I believe it is necessary to monitor events that cause funding impacts along the way, and to make adjustments before plans get into funding difficulties.

Funding levels can change quickly.  For example, in 2014 the actuary projected that the School Plan would be 100% funded in 2019 and no actuarially required contributions (ARCs) were projected for at least 30 years.  But a number of things happened since 2014 and now the School Plan is projected to not reach 100% funded status until 2040, and ARCs are projected to begin in 2020 and increase every year after that.

So what happened?  Since 2014 there have been two years of low investment returns on the retirement plans —  3.9% in 2015 and 1.6% in 2016 — and an Actuarial Experience Study was conducted which resulted in two major assumption changes.  Beginning July 1, 2017, the assumed investment rate will be reduced from 8% to 7.5% and a new mortality table will be used to reflect the fact that plan members are living longer.  While the mortality experience is great news for our plan members, it’s expensive news for the plans.  When defined benefit plan members can retire in their 50s, but mortality tables indicate they are living much longer, it means that benefits are likely to be paid over a longer period of time.

My goals in introducing this bill are to make benefit adjustments to the school plans to lower long-term funding obligations.  Plan changes will also encourage school employees to work until they are truly ready to retire and limit double dipping.  Changes also will ensure there are bona fide separations of service and no sham terminations, which are important changes in order to comply with IRS requirements for qualified pension plans.

I have been working with representatives of school employees, school administrators and the Nebraska Public Employees Retirement Systems for the past two years regarding many of these proposed changes. Since the bill was introduced, I have continued to meet with school groups and have agreed to compromise on some of the original provisions in the bill.

The bill was advanced from Committee with a number of changes to LB 415.  As introduced, the bill proposed a Rule of 90 with a minimum retirement age of 60.  This was changed to a Rule of 85 with a minimum age of 60.  This means that school employees may retire with full benefits if their age and years of school service are equal to or greater than 85.  The new Rule of 85 with a minimum retirement age of 60 applies only to new members and does not affect any of the current plan members. This change is responsive to the new actuarial information that employees are living longer and encourages and requires members to work and contribute to the plan in order to reduce the number of years that benefits will be paid.  It also encourages members to work until they are truly ready to retire so hopefully there are fewer members who return to work and “double dip”.  The actuarial analysis conducted on this benefit change indicates that this will result in a cost savings over the next 30 years of $100 million for the statewide School Plan and the Omaha School Plan.

Another major change in the school plans are new separation of service requirements.  Currently, in the school plan, a 180-day break in service is required for members before they can return to work for a school district.  However, there are current exemptions to this break in service – for example — members may currently return to work for a school if they provide intermittent voluntary or substitute service.  Allowing intermittent substitute service has resulted many challenges trying to determine what intermittent means, and in some cases has been seriously abused or ignored.  Under LB 415 these exemptions are eliminated in order to draw a bright line about what constitutes a true bona fide separation/break in service.  Retirees or terminated employees will be required to sit out the full 180 days – no exceptions.  I understand that this change can create challenges for school districts who need substitute teachers, however, let me be clear – this change has no effect on those retirees or school employees who have been retired or ceased employment once 180 days have passed.  After that 180 break in service, these former members and retirees will remain available to provide voluntary and substitute service whenever called upon.

The bill also adds an additional separation of service period for school employees who accept an early retirement inducement – also called a voluntary separation agreement.  These inducements include, for example, lump sum cash payments, payment of insurance costs until the employee is eligible for Medicare, additional wages, or purchase of a retirement annuity. This inducement is in addition to the retirement benefit that is paid for the lifetime of the member.

As originally introduced this separation period was 36 months, however I have agreed to reduce this period to 24 months.  During this 24 month period, members who accepted an early retirement inducement will not be allowed to provide any substitute service to any school district, nor work as a consultant or contractor for any school district.  Once 180 days has passed, the member can provide unpaid voluntary service to a school district.  This new requirement does not impact a school retiree’s ability to work in the private sector, and once the 24 month period has passed the retiree can provide substitute service or return to work as an employee.  Though this additional separation of service period will create limited savings for the plans, I am mindful of the tax dollars that pay for these multiple benefits particularly when most taxpayers don’t have access to either a defined benefit retirement plan or a buyout package.  As a fiscal conservative, I believe it is necessary to be mindful of how we spend taxpayers’ dollars.

Like many other Committee Priority bills, LB 415 as advanced from Committee with a number of other bills amended into it.  Most of the additional 7 bills that were added were technical clean-up bills introduced on behalf of the Nebraska Public Employees Retirement Systems – the agency that administers the plans.  Here is a brief summary of each bill:

  • LB 31 eliminates the ability of a school employer to purchase additional service for a school plan member in order to increase the member’s retirement benefit.  It also declares the only types of leave that will be counted as creditable service.
  • LB 32 makes a change in the County Employees Retirement Plan regarding the calculation of an annuity that is paid to county employees who worked for counties before the statewide County Plan was created.
  • LB 110 eliminates an annual reporting requirement for political subdivisions that offer defined contribution plans.  Governmental entities with defined benefit plans will now have to provide an annual report to the State Auditor and the Auditor will post these annual reports on the Auditor’s website.
  • LB 219 makes changes to definitions in each of the retirement plans to comply with new actuarial assumptions that were adopted last year following an Actuarial Experience Study.  The changes are primarily focused on changes to the mortality tables and to the interest rate used to calculate annuities in the State and County cash balance plans.
  • LB 278, clarifies the definition of disability in the County, State and School Employees Retirement Acts and also clarifies that a medical condition may be qualifying if it is either initially diagnosed or becomes disabling while the member is an active participant in the plan.  All disability applications must be filed within one year of termination of employment.
  • LB 413 is a technical clean-up bill introduced at the request of the Nebraska Public Employees Retirement Systems to clarify the definition of “officer” in the Nebraska State Patrol Retirement Act and to clarify language in the Judges’ Retirement Plan regarding a discretionary payment.
  • Under the changes in LB 532, the state is liable for funding any obligation in the Judges’, State Patrol and State Employees Retirement plans to provide benefits based on the period of military service for a member who has returned to work after providing military service. The county in which the employee is employed, and the school district in which a school member is employed is responsible respectively, to provide funding for benefits based on the period of military service of the returning member.  The employer is not required to pay the member and employer contributions for military service provided under the state Military Code.

If you have any questions about any of the changes in LB 415 or any of the bills that were amended into it, please don’t hesitate to contact my Committee Legal Counsel, Kate Allen.  She can be reached at 402-471-2626 or if you want to e-mail her, at kallen@leg.ne.gov.  My e-mail address is mkolterman@leg.ne.gov, and the office phone number is 402-471-2756.  My legislative staff, David and Katie, are always available to assist you with your needs. If I am not immediately available, please do not hesitate to work with them to address any issues that you may need assistance.

 

Sen. Mark Kolterman

District 24
Room #2004
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
Phone: (402) 471-2756
Email: mkolterman@leg.ne.gov
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