The Public Employees Benefits Program (PEBP)
The PEBP Board, meeting July 27 at their Board Room in Carson City at the Richard Bryan Building, 901 South Stewart Street, Suite 1002 re-elected RPEN Member Don Bailey to serve another term as Vice-Chair of the PEBP Board. During public comment at this meeting, RPEN's Legislative Advocate Marlene Lockard thanked the board and Executive Officer Damon Haycock for their work during the recent legislative session and for expediting assistance approved by the legislature to help lower costs experienced by the dwindling group on Non-State Medicare Retirees, also known as orphans. Haycock also recognized the collaboration during the session among RPEN, AFSCME and the Nevada Faculty Alliance as they worked on Senate Bill 502 (referenced in depth below). It was also revealed during an Operations Report from Towers Watson One Exchange that Stacy Nelson, the HRA Analyst who visits PEBP's offices one week every month to offer one-on-one meetings will be in Carson City August 14-18 and September 11-15. Appointments with Stacy should be made in advance by calling her at 1-801-415-0575 or 1-844-266-1395 or emailing her at StacyNelson3@willistowerswatson.com
The Board's next meet will be September 28.
PEBP JOINS WITH WILLIS TOWERS WATSON ONE EXCHANGE TO HOST PRE-MEDICARE AND MEDICARE RETIREE MEETINGS IN SEPTEMBER
To view the schedule of meetings, that will take place in Las Vegas, Henderson, Carson City and Reno, please click on the link below:
PEBP BILLS, SB 551 AND 552 HAVE BEEN APPROVED BY GOVERNOR SANDOVAL!
To read the full content of both bills, please click on the links below. The first link is to SB 551, the subsidy bill.
The second link is to SB 552, that appropriates funding over a four year plan to assist the non-state PEBP participants often referred
to as "orphans" who have faced escalating health care premiums
due to their dwindling pool.
SB 552 dealt with an issue that RPEN has been asking the Legislature to address for several sessions, and so we are grateful it has been approved and signed by the Governor. Both bills sailed through the Senate June 3 with a unanimous vote and nearly the same outcome in the Assembly, although SB 552 had four "nay" votes in the Assembly that included John Ellison from Elko, Lisa Krasner from Reno and Jim Marchant and Richard McArthur from Las Vegas.
SENATE BILL 502 IS SIGNED BY
GOVERNOR SANDOVAL AND
BECOMES EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2017!
PEBP BOARD REVERSES VOTE FROM
EARLIER MEETING AND AT APRIL 20 MEETING VOTES TO SUPPORT
SENATE BILL 502!!!
What a difference a couple of weeks make! When the PEBP Board met April 6 for a special legislative meeting to consider the bills they are tracking there was a lot of discussion about SB 502 that was followed by a vote to oppose the bill as it was introduced by PEBP Board Chairman Patrick Cates, who is also Director of the Department of Administration. As originally introduced, SB 502 sought to eliminate 3 board members, including one of the two Retiree positions on the board that RPEN fought so hard for several years ago! The bill also sought to make the PEBP advisory rather than governing. But prior to a hearing on the bill in Senate Government Affairs, Cates met with RPEN's Lead Lobbyist Marlene Lockard and two other public employee members in our coalition, and hammered out a compromise that included several amendments to the bill. Once the bill was heard it was approved as amended, and that led to a do-pass at a work session on the bill April 21. Then came the April 20 PEBP Board Legislative meeting where the board reversed its' April 6 decision and voted to support the bill as amended. SB 502 has been declared exempt but the bill remains with the Senate Government Affairs Committee who heard more on the amendments to the bill during an early evening meeting May 3. Cates and Lockard presented the amendments to the committee and Cates testified how much cooperation went into the amendments and urged the committee's passage. The bill received unanimous approval in both Houses and received the Governors' signature June 2!
PEBP Executive Officer Damon Haycock puts out a new, re-designed Newsletter. To view the latest information from PEBP, please click on the link below:
PEBP OFFERS WEEKLY PRE-MEDICARE INFORMATION ONLINE AND IN PERSON
The Public Employees' Benefits Program (PEBP), in an effort to further assist retirees about to enter the Medicare Exchange is introducing a new offering that includes weekly walk-in meetings in Carson City intended to go over the retirement process, options and enrollment into the Medicare Exchange. If you are NOT a member of PEBP as a Pre-Medicare participant, you can disregard this information. However, if you are a Pre-Medicare participant of PEBP, this information applies to you!
PEBP Operations Officer Laura Rich says PEBP decided to add these weekly walk-in meetings due to recent high demand and says participants will be able to get their questions answered and the meetings will also include a TW One Exchange representative available during the week that they are already scheduled to have hours in Carson City. Rich adds that PEBP hopes to one day offer a webinar version of this meeting that will extend the reach to those outside Carson City, especiall in the rural areas of the state. Currently PEBP and TW One Exchange take their informational meetings on the road to Las Vegas, Carson City and Reno on an infrequest basis, so the webinar would extend this information to those unable to attend those other meetings.
But for those in close proximity to Carson City, these new, weekly meetings will also be available and Rich says information the PEBP Pre-Medicare informational sessions is now up on the PEBP website under the "What's New" section.
The direct link is as follows: https://pebp.state.nv.us/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/PreMedi_Intro.pdf
Pre-Medicare Retiree Presentation: https://pebp.state.nv.us/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/MedicareTWpresentation.pdf
Pre-Medicare Retiree Events Calendar: https://pebp.state.nv.us/events/category/pre-medicare-retirees/2017-03/?tribe_events_cat=pre-medicare-retirees&tribe-bar-date=2017-03
For more information on PEBP and the meeting scheduled, please contact PEBP directly at 1-775-684-7000 to speak with a Member Services Representative. www.pebp.state.nv.us
Additionally, PEBP will have a representative from Towers Watson in their Carson City offices one week in August and September for one-on-one meetings. Appointments must be made in advance, however, and can be done by calling 1-844-266-1395. Appointments will be available Monday-Friday, from 8am-5pm.
For additional information about PEBP, please visit their web-site by clicking on the link below.
Public Employees Retirement System of Nevada (PERS)
The PERS Board will meet again Thursday, August 17, at their meeting room at offices located on Nye Lane in Carson City. To view the board packet (189 pages) for this meeting, please click on the link below.
At the board's July meeting, held in Las Vegas, one of the "guests" in the audience was Las Vegas Review Journal columnist Victor Joecks, a regular critic of Nevada PERS, and a former employee at the Nevada Policy Research Institute. He authored a column critical of PERS the next day, which was rebutted by PERS Board Chairman Mark Vincent. His letter to the RJ can be viewed by clicking the link below:
Meanwhile, during a recent visit to the Washoe Chapter of the Retired Public Employees of Nevada, NV PERS Executive Officer Tina Leiss told the group that investment returns for PERS through the end of their fiscal year was 11.8%, well above their target rate assumption of around 8%. She explained that this is very good news and puts the market value of the fund's assets as of June 30 (the end of PERS' fiscal year) at $38.5 billion.
SENATE BILL 384, RPEN'S PRIVACY BILL
GETS VETOED BY
The decision from the Governor's office came late in the afternoon on Saturday, June 3. It followed action to amend the bill to remove the words "identifying number" and replaces it with the word "name" in an effort to gain favor from Governor Sandoval and remove a potential threat of a veto but it didn't stop him from adding this bill to the long list of bills he's already vetoed this session, many of them involving public employees.
The amendment came following a meeting of RPEN's Legislative/Insurance Committee, made up of leaders from 9 RPEN Chapters. They met for a special teleconference meeting Sunday, May 21, to discuss the situation. On a 5-1 vote, the committee agreed to have Lead Lobbyist Marlene Lockard seek an amendment from the bill sponsor, Senator Julia Ratti, to change from an "identifying number" to allow a retiree's name be shown, along with pension and last employer. Lockard told the committee she had gotten word SB 384 was on Governor Sandoval's "concerned" list of bills, and that he would only sign it if it included name, pension and last employer, something the original bill included before it was amended to remove name and insert an "identifying number" instead. Those would be the ONLY things that would be included in the bill as permissable identifying information available to the public.
In his veto message the Governor said "the goal of protecting public employee information from misuse was a worthy endeavor but making certain information (number of years of service credit and retirement date) secret wasn't the way to go". He added "SB 384 seeks to achieve its goals by limiting the public's right to access public information, upsetting the established balance between the privacy and transparency. In deciding how to balance these competing interests, the public's right to know cannot be compromised absent a compelling case that such limits are justified and in the public interest. SB 384 does not overcome this significant test in favor of less transparency. Although the proponents raised the possibility of identity theft, there is no assurance that SB 384 would actually prevent such risk".
Ironically, this is the exact same argument presented by the Nevada Policy Research Institute (NPRI) when they took the Nevada Public Employees' Retirement System (PERS) to court earlier this year. So, it appears the issue may have to be decided in court as this case goes to the Nevada Supreme Court on appeal later this month following a District Court ruling that favored NPRI.
PERS RETIREMENT BOARD
The Public Employees' Retirement System (PERS) Board will meet again for a regular session August 17in Carson City at their offices located at 693 W. Nye Lane. The agenda and board packet will be posted when it is available.
Nevada Policy Research Institute Continually Targets NV PERS
NPRI published their legislative agenda in late 2016 outlining issues they fought for at the 79th Session of the Nevada State Legislature. Called "Solutions 2017", it can be view by clicking the link below. As you know NPRI has actively sought many PERS reforms such as adding non-PERS participants to the PERS Board and instituting a 401K/Hybrid pension plan for new hires. Thankfully these "reforms" have been rejected at recent legislative sessions, including the 2017 session that ended June 5. The document below is 121 pages long, and the PERS recommendations start on page 26 and conclude on page 33.
RPEN also obtained a document being used by NPRI in a fundraising attempt that names NV PERS many times in an effort to once again target PERS as another legislative session fast approaches. The document was given to RPEN anonymously. All public employees, those retired as well as those still working, need to be alarmed by this document, that can be viewed by clicking on the link below.
NPRI won the first round of court action in late January 2017 before District Court Judge James Wilson after they filed a petition for a writ of mandamus in Carson City seeking the release of data requested from PERS in a format that is more usable for NPRI, which maintains a searchable online database of public employee salary and benefit information. In the document NPRI said it requested data about pension payouts last year to add to a website it maintains called Transparent Nevada. They said they received a report that listed pension payouts not by retiree name but by Social Security number, which by law must be redacted. NPRI complained this information leaves nothing more than a list of payments to unknown individuals. NPRI also said in their complaint a 2015 Nevada Supreme Court decision indicates that agencies are not excused from their disclosure duties if they have a computer program that could compile the information. The request for information from NV PERS started several years ago with a request from the Reno Gazette Journal.
Following the ruling favoring NPRI, Nevada PERS filed an appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court and briefs are being prepared by both sides. A hearing date for this latest effort has not been set.
For more information about Nevada PERS please visit their web-site by clicking on the link below.
RPEN LEGISLATIVE ALERTS
79TH SESSION OF THE
NEVADA STATE LEGISLATURE
TO VIEW PLEASE CLICK ON THE LINKS BELOW:
To go straight to the Nevada Legislative website now, please click on the link below:
(ALSO SEE THE LINK "LEGISLATIVE ACTIONS" ON OUR HOME PAGE FOR ADDITIONAL LEGISLATIVE INFORMATION)
Retired Public Employees of Nevada (RPEN)
Annual Board of Directors will meet
September 19 through September 22 in Summerlin
The RPEN Board of Directors (Chapter Officers and Delegates) will come together again September 19-22 at the Suncoast Hotel/Casino in Summerlin. There are many great things planned for this year's meeting. Our "legislative panel" discussion Thursday, September 21, will feature several lawmakers who will discuss the outcome from the 2017 Legislative Session. We will also bring back the workshop format held Wednesday morning, September 20, and there will be a few workshops from 2016 returning, along with several new topics to be covered.
For additional information on RPEN business, please contact the State Office at 1-775-882-7832, or email us at email@example.com
* Legislative meetings can also be seen/heard live over the Internet at: www.leg.state.nv.us Just go to that Web site and click on Listen to Meetings Live on the Internet