On February 12, over 700 Missouri retired teachers and retired education personnel attended the Missouri Retired Teachers Association’s annual Legislative Day at the Capitol in Jefferson City. Among those attending were Marie Bristol and Ida Mae Huse from the Douglas/Ozark Counties’ Retired Teachers Association.
After a short welcome by House Speaker Pro-Tem, Jason Smith and Senate President Pro Tem, Tom Dempsey, the retirees were reminded of MRTA’s issues of importance in the 2013 Legislative Session. The issues are as follows:
#1 PRIORITY MRTA strongly opposes SB 221 – Lamping. SB 221 removes the decision-making powers of the elected PSRS/PEERS Board of Trustees, which has a proven track record since 1946. The PSRS/PEERS system is currently prefunded at 82%, which by national standards is very well funded.
#2 PRIORITY MRTA opposes any legislation that puts newly hired educators into a Defined Contribution/401(K) private retirement plan or into a new or 2nd tier system that reduces educator retirement benefits. The PSRS/PEERS system is strong and prefunded at 82%.
#3 PRIORITY MRTA supports HB 313 – Thomson and SB 232 – Wallingford the permanent renewal of the “25 and OUT” and “2.55 after 31 YEARS” provisions of the PSRS retirement system with the following caveats.
1. These provisions are revenue neutral to the PSRS/PEERS System.
2. These provisions stand alone in legislative action and do not include any provisions that would negatively affect educator retirement systems or pension benefits.
NOTE: MRTA would prefer language that would prohibit the 31st year from being purchased in any way. The 31st year should be spent in the classroom. MRTA will be vigilant in monitoring the costs of certain provisions of PSRS such as Partial Lump Sum Options (PLSO), Spiking Regulations, Years of Service purchasing/credits, etc. These are areas of possible abuse that may need reformed in the future.
#4 PRIORITY MRTA supports and will protect the pension benefits the Public School Retirement systems of Kansas City and Saint Louis City Educator Retirement Systems.
1. The Saint Louis City retirees have not had a COLA (Cost-of-Living Adjustment) in 7 years. We call on the Legislature to persuade the Saint Louis City School System Board to grant a COLA increase in 2013.
2. The Kansas City System retirees have not had a COLA (Cost-of-Living Adjustment) in 5 years. We call on the Legislature to persuade the Kansas City School System Board to grant a COLA increase in 2013.
#5 PRIORITY MRTA supports full funding of K-12 public education as the Missouri Constitution mandates through HB 2, the second priority of state expenditures.
The retirees were given packets with MRTA’s current issues, Valentine Day goodies, and invitations to Senators, Representatives, and their staffs to join the group for a buffet luncheon on the 3rd floor of the Capitol Rotunda. The packets were then distributed throughout the Capitol by the MRTA members to their own Representatives and Senators. Marie and Ida Mae visited the offices of Senator Mike Cunningham and Representative Lyle Rowland.
Any retired teacher or retired school employee wanting to join the local and/or state organizations may contact Marie Bristol by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 683-4424. The local Douglas/Ozark Counties RTA Unit meets the second Tuesday of the month at the Ava Community Center. The group eats lunch with the senior citizens at 11:30 and then has a business meeting following lunch.