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Minutes for HB2111 - Committee on Insurance and Pensions

Short Title

Providing membership in the KP&F retirement system for certain security officers of the department of corrections.

Minutes Content for Mon, Mar 22, 2021

The Chariperson opened the hearing on HB2111 and asked David Wiese, Assistant Revisor with the Office of the Revisor of Statutes, to give an overview of the bill. (Attachment 7)   The Chairperson then asked Melissa Renick, Assistant Director for Research, to provide an overview of the fiscal note.  Ms. Renick responded to Committee questions.

Alan Conroy, Executive Director, KPERS, provided general information on the bill.  Mr. Conroy explained that the bill would make any security officer in the Kansas Department of Corrections an enrollee as a KP&F member for all future service.  New members would automatically be enrolled as KP&F members.  However current members in Correctional Group A,according to the bill, can make an election to move to KP&F coverage.  He mentioned that this election piece is in conflict with current  IRS guidelines; that it would need to be changed to a mandate for all, not an election option for each current employee.  Mr. Conroy outlined the differences between current benefits and the KP&F benefits for this employee group.  And then he went on to provide some actuarial projections on the cost study of implementing these changes and the anticipated administrative costs associated with the changes.  Director Conroy responded to Committee questions. (Attachment 8)

Pat Proctor, State Legislator representing House District 41, provided testimony in support of the bill.  Rep. Proctor outlines the differences between the KPERS for Correction Officers  and the KP&F employees.  He briefly mentioned a couple amendments he would propose to the bill if/when it is worked.  But he concluded that he has many corrections officers in his district and that every one of them he speaks to want this change. (Attachment 9)

Jeff Fagan, Correctional Officer with the State, provided testimony in support of the bill.  Mr. Fagan outlined that correctional officers are considered law enforcement officers in the scope of their duties as outlined in Kansas law.  He went on to describe the variety and severity of the day-to-day duties he and his fellow officers encounter.  He stressed that for the past 2.5 years they have had mandatory overtime due to the inability to hire and retain staff.  He believes that participation in the KP&F retirement plan would allow them to retire earlier and that this would be beneficial to his fellow officers.  Mr. Fagan responded to Committee questions. (Attachment 10)

Sarah LaFrenz, President with the Kansas Organization of State Employees, provided testimony in support of the bill. Ms. LaFrenz stated that the risks they encounter every day, she believes that the KP&F benefit plan is more appropriate for the State's Corrections Officers than the regular KPERS.  She also stated that the passage of HB2111 would also provide the Kansas Department of Corrections a powerful tool to help in their recruitment efforts. (Attachment 11)

Randy Bowman, Executive Director of Public Affairs, Kansas Department of Corrections, provided testimony in support of the bill.  Mr. Bowman stated that he and the Department of Corrections are support of the concept in this bill and that they are currently neutral on the bill as proposed.  He stated that he is neutral on the bill because it does not address the full scope of the corrections workforce who work with persons and in settings that are comparable to current KP&F members.  Mr. Bowman stated that juvenile corrections staff, parole officers and all non-uniformed employees working in close proximity to residents must be included in the solution.  He expressed hope that the bill would move forward in the future and that it would be changed to include all these groups.  (Attachment 12)