Retirement insights from a Colorado PERA perspective

Legislation & Governance

Colorado Legislators Pass Three PERA-Related Bills During 2023 Legislative Session

A close-up inside view of gold dome of Colorado State Capitol Building.
Photo credit: SeanXu/Getty Images

It was a sprint to the finish line as lawmakers finished their work on hundreds of bills in the final days of the 2023 legislative session.

Colorado’s first regular session of the 74th General Assembly ended on May 8, 2023. Over the course of 120 days, legislators took up seven bills affecting Colorado PERA. Here’s a brief summary of the three that passed and are awaiting the signature of Gov. Polis to become law.

Senate Bill 23-016 includes multiple provisions that are meant to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the state. The PERA-related provision in the bill requires a description of climate-related investment risks, impacts, and strategies to be included as part of PERA’s annual Investment stewardship Report.

Senate Bill 23-056 requires the state to make an additional payment to PERA in the amount of the remaining balance of the PERA Payment Cash Fund, plus $10 million in General Fund, which results in a total payment of approximately $14.5 million. This payment is intended to recompense PERA for the cancellation of a previously scheduled July 1, 2020, direct distribution of $225 million, in addition to the compensatory payment provided in previous legislation.

Senate Bill 23-163 modifies the definition of “State Trooper” to include wildlife officers and parks and recreation officers hired on or after January 1, 2011, by Colorado Parks and Wildlife in the Department of Natural Resources. It applies the State Trooper contribution rate and benefits to eligible employees and their employers effective July 1, 2023. Those individuals who qualify under this definition in state statute are commonly referred to as “safety officers” for the purposes of PERA benefits in our materials.

Four other bills affecting PERA were introduced but did not pass. Read more about them here.

PERA will continue to engage with lawmakers during the interim period between legislative sessions. That oversight process includes meeting with legislative panels on the Legislative Audit Committee, Pension Review Commission and Subcommittee, and the Joint Budget Committee. These are opportunities for PERA to provide updates on its policies, financial condition, administration of the association, and answer questions from lawmakers.

StewardshipThe practice of overseeing or managing something entrusted to one’s care. PERA’s approach to investment stewardship is focused on ensuring the financial sustainability of the fund that pays benefits to retirees and beneficiaries.StewardshipThe practice of overseeing or managing something entrusted to one’s care. PERA’s approach to investment stewardship is focused on ensuring the financial sustainability of the fund that pays benefits to retirees and beneficiaries.


  1. John D. Putnam says:

    Resilience is a keyword for the new normal. Congratulations to all those at PERA who brought about the passage of Senate Bill 23-056. Thank you!

  2. MaryLou says:

    Thank you to God for the passing of the bills that work out on our behalf.
    But, I do agree with the majority regarding our Social Security benefits.
    Please return to us what we so diligently and honesty earned, to us first, then to those who have not, nor lived in this country at those times, as we Americans had. Please take care of those who put our faith and trust in the system that promised to work on our behalf growing up and living in this country of ours as our parents also had. We have been committed and dedicated citizens.
    Thank you for giving us the privilege and opportunity to comment on these issues.

  3. Mark says:

    In January the PERA Board voted to award executive director Baker a 19% bonus, on his salary of more than $400k, and an annual increase of 4%. What is our AI? This is not right!

    • Mark James says:

      I agree! Why are PERA employees getting raises while retirees are getting a lousy 1.0% AI on 7/31/2023? And, I suspect Ron will tell retirees that the 2024 AI will be further reduced by 0.25% (to 0.75%) because PERA is behind schedule on funding! Retirees need the AI fixed now because our retirement income is being eroded by inflation!

  4. LP says:

    Did Baker receive his bonus before being let go?

  5. Linda Duncan> says:

    Please let me have the Social Security that I earned prior to moving to a PERA employer.
    Taking away the SS we honestly worked for and earned reeks of a form of thievery.

    • PERA On The Issues says:

      Hi Linda, the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset (GPO), which can reduce your Social Security benefit, are provisions of federal law and therefore would require an act of Congress, not the state legislature, to change or repeal them. A bill is currently under consideration in Congress to fully repeal both the WEP and GPO, and we covered that bill earlier this year: We’ll continue to monitor this and any other WEP/GPO bills and will post updates when we have them.

  6. Maggie says:

    Bill 23-016 is a ridiculous mandate. It’s just another example of unnecessary support for the Biden!administration and their pressure on everyone to support their climate change initiatives. WRONG. What do you expect from our Democrat controlled state? We are falling right behind the disastrous politics of California. Beware Colorado!

  7. Jann Todd says:

    We feel ripped off by the government for not giving us our entire SS benefits. They claim it is to expensive. Well we paid into it just like we paid into PERA. The democrats are giving the illegals and immigrants SS and Pelosi took millions of $$$ from it to impeach Trump. This is a triple slap in the face to us.

  8. Linda White says:

    I need to have the social security I worked 27 years for before working for the state. Under PERA, I will lose my husband’s SS when he passes, then I’m left without sufficient funds to maintain my home and health. Where or to whom did that SS go? Worked for the state for 17 years. No one has ever really answered this question.

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