Pension Reform Study Commission Falls in Committee of Conference

A study commission that would have looked at instituting a defined contribution retirement plan (ie a 401(k) style plan) for state employees failed to make it pass a committee of conference.

Both the Senate and the House, while agreeing in principle to study the idea of implementing a defined contribution plan, had passed differing versions of a study commission, with the House passing a more aggressive timeline for reporting as well as a provision that would have enacted a DC plan should the legislature had failed to act on the commission report.

Though most of the disagreements were worked out over the course of three meetings, including the controversial “Sword of Damocles” provision. The major sticking point revolved around the Request for Proposals process. The House position was that the commission needed to be able to issue RFPs themselves rather than through DAS (Department of Administrative Services) to get concrete details about what a plan would look like while the Senate, uneasy with the unprecedented nature of giving a commission such authority, wanted DAS or the Retirement System to issue them and provide technical assistance which was complicated in of itself due to the nature of the NHRS as well as existing priorities of DAS.

The Senate and House could not agree on this point and in the words of Rep. Ken Hawkins had to “agree to disagree.”