Gov. Rick Snyder today signed legislation extending the deadline for public school employees to make the best choice for their retirement. The deadline now is Jan. 9, 2013.
This legislation resolves the selection deadline issue that resulted from a recent court decision.. Michigan Public School Employees' Retirement System (MPSERS) employees hired before July 1, 2010 have three choices for how to handle their retirement:
Contribute more and retain the 1.5 percent pension multiplier;
Contribute the same amount and receive a 1.25 percent pension multiplier for future service;
Freeze the existing benefit and convert to a 4 percent defined contribution, 401(k)-style plan.
Employees' chosen option will take effect Feb. 1, 2013.
In addition, the legislation extends the deadline for employees hired prior to Sept. 4, 2012 to elect whether to participate in-and contribute to-the retiree health care plan. Members who wish to opt out of the retiree health plan-and the associated 3 percent contribution-will participate in a defined contribution health account that provides for an employer match of up to 2 percent.
"With the selection window now determined, I encourage MPSERS employees to decide which option is best for themselves and their families," Snyder said. "The reforms from Public Act 300 provide more than $15 billion in relief from the massive liability that is strangling the system, which is vital for our children and their education, as well as for our school employees who need to know that their benefits are secured for the future."
Senate Bill 1360, sponsored by state Sen. Roger Kahn, now is Public Act 359 of 2012.
The governor also signed 17 other bills.
S.B. 688, sponsored by state Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, clarifies that anyone making a false statement on a document signed under penalty of perjury can be prosecuted for perjury, a felony crime. This prevents a legal argument hinging on whether or not the statement constituted an "oath." The bill now is P.A. 360.
S.B. 689, also sponsored by Schuitmaker, creates rules on how to obtain properly authorized sworn statements from individuals not physically in the U.S., similar to federal law and other states' laws. The bill now is P.A. 361.
S.B. 707, also sponsored by Schuitmaker, matches many other states in creating a more efficient process for legal investigations to gather information from and issue subpoenas to outside the state. The bill now is P.A. 362.
S.B. 726, sponsored by state Sen. Rick Jones, lengthens the statute of limitation for serious crimes like kidnapping, attempted murder and manslaughter to within 10 years of when the perpetrator is identified rather than within 10 years of the crime being committed. This allows law enforcement more time to investigate a crime and identify a suspect. The legislation is called Brandon D'Annunzio's Law in honor of a 24-year-old man assaulted in East Lansing in 2000. He later died of his injuries, but no suspect was identified until recently and charges could not be filed. The bill now is P.A. 363.
S.B.s 845-848, sponsored by state Sens. Tory Rocca, Schuitmaker and Steven Bieda, increase the penalties for repeat domestic violence offenders to a maximum of five years imprisonment and a fine of $5,000. Crimes of strangulation and suffocation with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder will carry a maximum sentence of up to 10 years. The bills now are P.A.s 364-367.
S.B. 862, sponsored by state Sen. Bruce Caswell, protects farmers from unfair taxes by clarifying the definition any vacant or wooded buffer parcels of land next to their agricultural property as agricultural property, rather than as residential property. This exempts them from paying the 18-mill school operating tax on this land. The bill now is P.A. 368.
S.B.s 901-903, sponsored by Schuitmaker, adopt the Uniform Arbitration Act, bringing Michigan in line with numerous other states. The act alters the arbitration process and provides for disclosure of arbitrators personal and financial interests. The bills now are P.A.s 369-371.
S.B. 934, sponsored by Jones, expands the situations under which a person can be charged with criminal sexual conduct to include crimes revolving around foster care children and the system's parents, employees and volunteers. Since services now can extend to the age of 21, some foster care children can legally consent to sexually activity, making it difficult to charge foster care parents and others in situations of inappropriate contact. The bill now is P.A. 372.
S.B. 1039, sponsored by state Sen. Mike Nofs, allows for the exchange of two pieces of land in Jackson County, one owned by the state and the other by Grand River Environmental Action Team. Because of man-made straightening alterations to the Grand River, each group had land stranded on opposite sides of the river, and exchanging the parcels clarifies the property boundaries and eases security concerns. The bill now is P.A. 373.
S.B. 1056, sponsored by Jones, updates a fingerprinting law from 1925 to require law enforcement to collect fingerprints, palm prints and other digital images from people arrested, rather than just fingerprints. This information is called "biometric data." The bill now is P.A. 374.
S.B.s 1195 and 1196, sponsored by Caswell, moves the Detroit-Wayne County mental health system into the new Detroit-Wayne County Mental Health Authority. This creates greater administrative efficiency and frees up more funds to be used for services. The move will have to be completed by Oct. 1, 2013 to qualify for state support. The bills now are P.A.s 375 and 376.
Visit www.legislature.mi.gov for more information on the bills.