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OKLAHOMA RETIRED EDUCATORS ASSOCIATION

- THE VOICE OF OKLAHOMA'S RETIRED EDUCATORS
FOR MORE THAN 60 YEARS -

The Oklahoma Retired Educators Association provides a voice for retired education employees,
secures and protects benefits, and enhances the quality of life for its members.

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Legislative UpdateFebruary 27, 2015

“House Committee Votes to
Establish Retiree Stipend Fund”

In language strikingly similar to that contained in the OREA-sponsored HB 1538 passed the previous week, the House Business, Labor and Retirement Laws Committee Tuesday unanimously approved HB 1735, by Randy McDaniel (R, Edmond), committee chair.

Seen as a companion bill to HB 2200 approved by the committee last week, HB 1735 would establish a special fund in the state treasury to pay a one-time stipend benefit to certain retired members of six state retirement systems, including the Teachers’ Retirement System.

Is it the Beginning of an Attitude Change?

The committee passage of HB 1735 gives further indication there is growing sentiment among key legislators that retirees have gone long enough without receiving at least some positive adjustment in their retirement benefits. The last permanent benefits improvement, commonly referred to as a COLA, was received in 2008, when retired educators received a 2% COLA, and retired members of all other systems were given 4% increases.

If passed into law this session, HB 1735 would most likely not receive funding, given this session’s $611 million state budget shortfall. However, if the legislature were to pass some form of benefits improvement via HB 2200 next session, funds could be allocated to the stipend fund.

Readers will recall last week’s report that HB 2200 received committee approval only for the purpose of referral to the legislative actuary during the legislative interim (between the 2015 and 2016 sessions). The actuary’s report must be completed and returned to the House committee no later than December 1.

It is not known at the current time what impact the approval of HB 1735 will have on the OREA-sponsored HB 1538, by Todd Thomsen (R, Ada), passed by the same committee the week before.

Committee Deadline Reached

The 2015 legislative session completed its fourth week Thursday, running up against the important deadline to have considered all bills that will be eligible for further action this year. The result was that several hundred of the more than 2,000 bills and resolutions filed for the session are now dead, although they could be considered in 2016.

The next three weeks will witness marathon sessions in both houses to consider hundreds of bills. Those that pass out of the House of Representatives will be sent to the Senate, and Senate-passed bills will be sent to the House. The road to final passage and enactment into law is long and winding.

April 7 OREA Lobby Day: Your Participation is Important

OREA members are reminded to make plans to participate in the Tuesday, April 7 OREA Lobby Day at the Capitol. It will be a great opportunity to meet face-to-face with lawmakers to discuss the issues impacting retired educators in Oklahoma. The spring issue of the OREA News Bulletin will arrive in members’ mailboxes the week of March 21-28. It will contain all the information necessary for your participation in this important association activity. See the associated article below for additional information.

Thanks for reading this legislative update, and thanks for your continued support of the OREA legislative program.

Lobby Day

“April 7 - OREA Lobby Day at the State Capitol”

Mark your calendar now to participate in the “OREA Lobby Day at the State Capitol” on Tuesday, April 7, from 8:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.

This important event will be our best opportunity this legislative session to communicate the OREA legislative program to lawmakers in the House of Representatives and Senate.

Every OREA member participating will receive a $10 cash lunch stipend as partial defrayment of personal expenses.

Retired educators not currently OREA members may join the association the day of the event, and will receive the $10 cash stipend also.

Watch your mailbox March 21-28 for the arrival of the spring issue of the OREA News Bulletin. It will contain all the information needed to participate in the day’s activities.

No registration is necessary.

Shuttle bus service from the various Capitol parking lots is planned.

Briefing sessions will be conducted, helping even the most novice member-lobbyist to have a successful and enjoyable day advocating for the interests of retired educators.

Lobbying materials will be provided, plus morning refreshments.

It’s not a rally outside the building, it’s a day of serious interaction inside the Capitol with legislators about the needs of retired educators.  

National Institute for Retirement SecurityAccording to the National Institute for Retirement Security, traditional defined benefit retirement plans - like the Oklahoma Teachers' Retirement System - are better than the individual accounts provided by defined contribution 401 (k)-style plans now being pushed aggressively across the country by some leading politicians and many leaders of the financial industry.

A recent NIRS study found that traditional defined benefit plans are 48 percent less expensive to provide the same modest retirement benefit offered by a defined contribution plan. Stated differently, it means that, for the same amount of money going into the plan, a sponsor (i.e., the state of Oklahoma) can benefit from significant savings, and the eventual retiree (i.e., the Oklahoma retired teacher) can enjoy much more money in his/her pocket. It means lifetime financial security, and not outliving your money.

More specifically, NIRS says that traditional pension plans enjoy higher investment returns and lower fees than individual accounts, generating a 27 percent cost savings.

Unlike individual investors who generally enjoy high-risk, high-reward investment strategies when they're young, but switch to lower-risk portfolios that yield far lower returns as they age, traditional pension plans can maintain a balanced portfolio that yields consistently high returns, generating an 11 percent cost savings.

Traditional pension plans pool longevity risk, meaning that they only have to save for the average life expectancy of a group of individuals. Workers in a 401(k)-style defined contribution plan need an investment strategy that provides for the event that they live longer than average life. Longevity risk pooling generates a 10 percent cost savings.

Add up the savings, and it's 48 percent. If the Oklahoma Teachers' Retirement System, as it is currently structured, is less costly to administer, and retirees get more money to last them a lifetime, why would we want to do anything else?

NEA-R Members VoteOREA members who have selected the additional optional NEA-R membership are eligible to run as candidates for two offices. The filing period is February 1-20 for the offices of:

(1) NEA-R Delegate-At-Large to the OEA Delegate Assembly which will be held at the Reed Center in Midwest City, April 24-25.

(2) NEA-R Successor Delegate-At-Large to the NEA Representative Assembly which will be held in Orlando, Florida, July 1-6.

Candidate filing forms are available by clicking here, on the OEA website www.okea.org, or at the OEA Headquarters in Oklahoma City or OEA Regional Office in Tulsa. Financial assistance from OREA is not available to winning candidates.

NEA-R members may vote online March 1-27 in the election of the two positions described above as well as for the office of OEA Vice President. Beginning March 1 a link will be provided to enable you to vote.

- ANNOUNCING A BRAND NEW BENEFIT -
GUIDED TOURS BY COLLETTE TRAVEL


Introducing the first two trips....

Bella Italia Trip Bella Italia Tour Highlights include:

- Venice
- St. Mark's Square
- High-Speed Train
- Florence
- Duomo
- Rome
- Colosseum
- and much, much more!

Click here to learn more about the OREA Bella Italia Tour

Spotlight on New York City

New York City Holiday Highlights include:

- Radio City Music Hall featuring the high kicking Rockettes
- Empire State Building
- 911 Memorial
- Statue of Liberty
- Broadway show
- and much, much more

OREA Spotlight on New York City Holiday

Enjoy the Freedom of Guided Travel
The only way to travel! Finding the perfect hotel to a blending of cultural experiences and free time with must-see inclusions, Collette Travel will handle it all while you
simply revel in the adventure.

Peace of Mind
Collette Travel is with you every step of the way. Their group travel experts make your pre-tour exerience easy. While their tour managers take care of all the pre-tour details, you will experience the tour with your group.

Worry Free
Travelers can relax and set out on their adventure worry-free with Collette's Travel Protection Plan, which offers a full refund for any reason right up to the day prior to departure.

Office Depot
NEW MEMBER BENEFIT!
OFFICE DEPOT SAVINGS PROGRAM


OREA has partnered with Office Depot® to bring you a FREE discount program.  Save up to 80% off preferred products!

- Shop online with FREE next day delivery on orders over $50 (excludes furniture orders)

- Shop in one of Oklahoma’s 17 stores

To shop online or print off your in-store savings card,  click here:

 http://orea.ctcshares.com

MEMBERS RECRUITING MEMBERS: WHY DIDN'T SOMEONE THINK OF IT BEFORE?

Click on the link below for a 2014-15 membership form and the simple rules of the new OREA member recruiting plan. Aimed at growing the already strong OREA membership base to strengthen the retired educator voice in all the places it's needed, the "Member Recruiting Members" program is so simple, yet has great potential. And, if you elect to take part, it could put some extra dollars in your purse or wallet. Take a look at the program, and we hope you'll utilize the OREA membership enrollment materials to recruit new members. We'll all be better off if you do.

2014 -15 Membership Enrollment Form & The Basics of the Program


Now Available...Join Online.
It's quick and easy.
Join today!
Please enter your county:

This option is only available
for the OREA (State) Annual Membership.

Join OREA:The Trusted Leader

 

Click here for information and to join

Idea!“Program Ideas for Local Unit Meetings and Activities”

Need a new, fresh program idea for your local county meeting? Thanks to the OREA Communications Committee and the Tulsa Metro Retired Educators Association for their suggestions.


Click here for lots of amazing ideas

Get Involved

Ever wonder how OREA members become officers, board members, or committee chairs? Perhaps there are members who would like to become more active in the association but aren't certain of the way officers are elected and the responsibilities of each. Click here for an overview of officers, board members, and committee chairs and how they achieve an office.

CALL OREA DIRECT

405.525.2230 - Local
800.310.2230 - Toll Free