Bills involving student athletes, veterans, others before pensions/benefits board

TRENTON – Several bills – involving veterans, student athletes and widows and widowers seeking to remarry – will be before the Division of Pension and Benefits on Friday.

The division issues recommendations to the Legislature on pending bills.

On tap this month:

A623/S1861: This bill would provide veteran status to more military personnel for the purposes of civil service hiring preferences.

The proposal would give veteran status to participants in Operation Noble Eagle, which refers to homeland security operations after the 9/11 attacks.

The bill would affect calculations of retirement benefits, among other things.

The bill, in various incarnations, dates back to 2004.

S1910/A3046: This bill would require health insurers to provide coverage for an annual physical for student athletes.

The physicals are required for clearance to participate in athletics or camp activities, the bill states.

S214: This bill, which also dates back to 2004, is in response to a change in the law that eliminated termination of police and firefighters’ death benefits to a surviving spouse upon remarriage.

This bill seeks to guarantee that surviving spouses’ benefits are not terminated upon remarriage, and also it seeks to restore the pension to survivors who lost it before enactment of this bill.

A2336: This bill seeks to give participants in the Public Employees Retirement System another option if they leave with 10 years of service accumulated.

One current option is to receive their accumulated deductions plus regular interest. This bill would allow such workers who leave for reasons other than retirement to receive the deductions and interest, as well as a portion of the employer’s contributions to the system.

It would equal 2.5 percent of the compensation upon which contributions by the member to the annuity savings fund were based for the member’s years of creditable service.

This, too, is a bill that dates back to the early 2000s.

A2942: This bill would change how certain public employees’ health care contributions are calculated.

Right now, employees and some retirees contribute toward the cost of health care coverage based upon a percentage of the cost.  The provisions regarding retirement payment do not apply to public employees who have 20 or more years of creditable service on the effective date of the 2011 pension/benefit reform law.

This bill would change the definition of those employees to those who have 20 years “in the aggregate from date of appointment to date of termination.”

Date of enrollment is not always the same as date of appointment, according to the bill.

“Regulations for PFRS, for example, provide that employees are enrolled on the first day of the month following appointment, if the employer reports on a monthly basis, and on the first day of the following pay period, if the employer reports on a biweekly basis,” the bill states as an example. 

Bills involving student athletes, veterans, others before pensions/benefits board