State retirement plan updates advance

Senators advanced a bill from general file Feb. 29 that would make Internal Revenue Code compliance updates for county, judge, state patrol, school and state employee retirement provisions.

LB916, introduced by the Nebraska Retirement System Committee, would:
• remove per diems as compensation for purposes of retirement;
• allow terminated or retired plan members to rollover funds into a Roth IRA;
• allow a lump sum direct transfer of a death benefit into a qualified retirement plan;
• require employers to notify the Public Employees Retirement Board upon the termination of an employee member;
• allow a non-spousal beneficiary to make a direct transfer or rollover of the member’s death benefit into a qualified retirement plan; and
• allow a member’s beneficiary to be entitled to an additional death benefit that he or she would be entitled to had the member been employed during the period of qualified military service when the death occurred.

Omaha Sen. Jeremy Nordquist, chairperson of the committee, said the bill would bring state retirement plans into compliance with current IRS codes.

The committee introduced an amendment that incorporated provisions of two other bills.

Originally introduced by Nordquist, LB1036 would provide an additional opportunity for active county and state defined contribution plan members to opt in to the cash balance plans between Sept. 1 and Oct. 31, 2012.

LB973, originally introduced by Lincoln Sen. Colby Coash, would allow a judge to order the civil payment from a portion of a convict’s state or county benefits and annuities plan if he or she is a state or county employee that is convicted or pleads guilty to felony assault, sexual assault, kidnapping, child abuse, false imprisonment or theft by embezzlement and is found civilly liable for resulting damages.

Benefits and annuities necessary for the support of the employee or appointee or his or her beneficiaries would be exempt from payment.

According to Coash, the provisions would give judges an optional means of providing civil restitution to victims of particularly heinous crimes.

The amendment was adopted 31-0 and the bill advanced from general file on a 31-0 vote.

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