Retirement insights from a Colorado PERA perspective

Legislation & Governance

2017 Legislative Session Wrap-Up

The first session of the 71st Colorado General Assembly ended on Wednesday, May 12. Six bills affecting PERA were introduced, two of which passed and are awaiting review before being sent to the governor. Three bills, all of which were opposed by the PERA Board of Trustees, failed in the House Committee on State, Veterans, & Military Affairs. Another bill the PERA Board did not have the opportunity to vote on failed in the Senate Committee on Finance. A summary of that legislation is below.

House Bill 17-1265

PERA Judicial Division Total Employer Contribution

Concerning an increase in the total employer contribution for employers in the Judicial Division of the Public Employees’ Retirement Association.

Summary: The Judicial Division Amortization Equalization Disbursement (AED) was capped at 2.20% in 2010. The Supplemental Amortization Equalization Disbursement (SAED) was capped at 1.50% in 2010. This bill would increase the AED and SAED to 3.4% each beginning in 2019 and increase each disbursement rate by .4% every year thereafter until they cap at 5% in 2023.

Sponsors: Rep. KC Becker (D-Boulder) and Rep. Dan Nordberg (R-Colorado Springs) | Sen. Andy Kerr (D-Lakewood) and Sen. Kevin Priola (R-Henderson)

Status: Passed by the legislature, pending review by the governor.

PERA Board position: Support

House Bill 17-1176

PERA Retirees Employed By Rural School Districts

Concerning an extension of the employment after retirement limitations for retirees of the public employees’ retirement association employed by a rural school district after retirement.

Summary: The bill modifies the current PERA employment after retirement provisions for certain retirees hired by an employer in the school division if:

  • The employer that hires the service retiree is a rural school district as determined by the department of education based on certain criteria and the school district enrolls 6,500 students or fewer in kindergarten through 12th grade;
  • The school district hires the service retiree for the purpose of providing classroom instruction or school bus transportation to students enrolled by the district or for the purpose of being a school food services cook; and
  • The school district determines that there is a critical shortage of qualified teachers, school bus drivers, or school food services cooks, as applicable, and that the service retiree has specific experience, skills, or qualifications that would benefit the district.

Sponsors: Rep. Jon Becker (R-Fort Morgan) and Rep. Barbara McLachlan (D-Durango) | Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg (R-Sterling)

Status: Passed by the legislature, pending review by the governor.

PERA Board position: Oppose

House Bill 17-1114

State Treasurer’s Authority To Access PERA Information

Concerning the authority of the State Treasurer to access information kept by the Public Employees’ Retirement Association in the Treasurer’s capacity as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Association.

Summary: The bill requires the PERA Board and its Executive Director to provide to the Treasurer of the State of Colorado the ability to review all records and information retained by PERA upon request. The request can’t be denied for any reason. The State Treasurer is responsible for any reasonable costs, beyond de Minimis expenses, and the information or records shall not be used for personal reasons by the Treasurer.

Sponsors: Rep. Justin Everett (R-Littleton) and Sen. Jack Tate (R-Centennial)

Status: Postponed Indefinitely (State, Veterans, & Military Affairs 3/1/17)

PERA Board position: Oppose

Senate Bill 17-113

Cap Employer Contribution Rates For PERA

Concerning a requirement that the total employer contribution rates for Public Employees’ Retirement Association employers in the 2018 calendar year are the maximum total employer contribution rates for future calendar years.

Summary: The bill requires that for the calendar year beginning January 1, 2018, and for each calendar year thereafter, the total of the employer contribution, the AED, and the SAED for any employer will not exceed the total contribution rates for the 2018 calendar year pursuant to current law.

Sponsors: Sen. Tim Neville (R-Littleton) and Rep. Justin Everett (R-Littleton)

Status: Postponed Indefinitely (State, Veterans, & Military Affairs 3/1/17)

PERA Board position: Oppose

Senate Bill 17-158

Modify Composition Of PERA Board Of Trustees

Concerning modifications to the composition of the Board of Trustees of the Public Employees’ Retirement Association.

Summary: The bill modifies the composition of the board by:

  • Eliminating one elected member trustee position from the state division;
  • Eliminating 2 elected member trustee positions from the school division;
  • Requiring at least one elected member from both the state division and the school division to be at least 20 years from retirement eligibility; and
  • Adding 3 more trustees appointed by the governor and confirmed by the senate who are not PERA members or retirees and who are experts in certain fields to replace the eliminated elected member trustee positions.

Sponsors: Sen. Jack Tate (R-Centennial) and Rep. Dan Nordberg (R-Colorado Springs)

Status: Postponed Indefinitely (State, Veterans, & Military Affairs 3/15/17)

PERA Board position: Oppose

Senate Bill 17-185

District Attorney Salary Compensation And PERA

Concerning the compensation of attorneys working in the office of a district attorney.

Summary: The bill allows the boards of county commissioners of the counties within a judicial district, in consultation with the district attorney, to make a one-time irrevocable election to require an assistant district attorney to become a member of the Public Employees’ Retirement Association’s defined benefit plan. In such case, the state would pay 80% and the counties would pay 20% of the employer contribution for an assistant district attorney.

Sponsors: Sen. Bob Gardner (R-Colorado Springs) and Rep. Matt Gray (D-Broomfield)

Status: Postponed Indefinitely (Finance 3/16/17)

PERA Board position: No position taken


  1. John McCracken says:

    I was looking for a reason why the PERA Board opposed HB 17-1176 Retirees Employed By Rural School Districts.

    • Colorado PERA says:

      Thank you for your question, John. The PERA Board of Trustees voted to oppose HB 17-1176 because PERA’s actuaries estimated the cost to the PERA trust fund would be approximately $80 million if this legislation were to be enacted. This cost is due to members retiring at their first eligibility, which means PERA would be paying benefits for a longer period of time. The $80 million estimate includes the offsetting working retiree and employer contributions and the Board could not support any legislation that would negatively impact the financial health of the trust fund.

  2. Delores Duarte says:

    Thank you for all of your work.

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