State lawmakers to consider new proposal on Tennessee pensions
by ERIC WATSON, State Rep.
Mar 03, 2013 | 794 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
State Treasurer David Lillard last week outlined his proposal to reform the state’s pension plan, the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System, to ensure future generations will receive the benefits promised to them during their time as state employees.

The proposed TCRS changes, which would only affect new employees hired on or after July 1, 2014, would change the current defined-benefits system to a hybrid plan that includes elements of defined-benefits and defined-contribution programs. A defined-benefit plan guarantee retirees a fixed pension benefit based on their years of service and earnings, while defined-contribution plans do not have guaranteed payment levels but rather specified contribution levels by the employer.

The new changes proposed by Lillard represent a proactive approach by the Treasurer’s office to ensure the security of pension benefits for current employees, retirees, as well as future employees who will be hired in years to come. These changes also reflect the track record of lawmakers to enact fiscally responsible, commonsense legislative reforms.

The pension changes, when passed by the Legislature, will not affect anyone who is currently a state employee, a teacher, a higher education employee or an employee of a local government participating in the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System.

For more information, visit the TCRS website at and select the tab titled “Proposed State & Teacher Plans.”

Education bill easily

clears subcommittee

A proposal presented by Gov. Bill Haslam and House legislators to improve education in Tennessee easily cleared the Education Subcommittee this week. House Bill 190, referred to as the “Tennessee Choice & Opportunity Scholarship Act,” would give low-income families with students stuck in the lowest performing schools the opportunity to seek educational options outside the traditional public education system.

If passed by the Legislature, eligible students would have the opportunity to receive a scholarship to attend the private school of their choice. The program would be capped in terms of overall statewide participation, beginning with an initial cap of 5,000 students in the first year and rising to 7,500 in the second, 10,000 in the third, and 20,000 in the fourth and thereafter. Only those students whose family income status qualifies them for free or reduced lunch and who also are zoned to a school among the bottom 5 percent in terms of student achievement would be eligible to participate in the program. House Bill 190 will next be heard in the full House Education Committee on March 5.

Other legislative

actions in the works

And in case you missed it:

- Gun Carry Permit Confidentiality: House Bill 0009 passed out of the House State Government Subcommittee last week with full support from lawmakers on the committee. As introduced, the bill makes confidential all information contained in and pertaining to handgun carry permit applications filed in Tennessee.

- Emissions Testing: Automobiles under 3 years old would be exempt from Tennessee vehicle emissions testing under legislation pending consideration in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee. The bill would apply to owners of vehicles in six Tennessee counties — Hamilton, Davidson, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson, and Wilson — where emissions testing is currently required.

- House Bill 118 Passes With Bipartisan Support: A bill which removes the criminal penalty for carry permit holders to lock a firearm securely in their vehicle in the parking lot at their place of employment passed the House of Representatives on Thursday with bipartisan support. The bill, having already passed the state Senate, will now travel to the desk of Gov. Haslam to be signed into law.