HBA-SEB H.B. 2851 76(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 2851 By: Telford Pensions and Investments 4/19/1999 Introduced BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Currently, a public school employee is a member of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) and contributes 6.4 percent of each paycheck to TRS. TRS offers a defined benefit program that is similar to social security and distributed upon retirement to eligible participants. Unlike private industry, school districts do not match employee contributions for a defined contribution plan which supplements the TRS benefit. A district contribution of three percent into a defined contribution annuity combined with an employee's matching contribution could return as much as twice the benefits earned through social security. H.B. 2851 establishes an optional defined contribution plan for contributing members of TRS. The plan is separate from and in addition to the current TRS defined benefit program. The employee selects the contribution level, a minimum of three percent, and the state or school district matches the contribution. This plan also provides for the purchase of investment products selected by the participant. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking authority is expressly delegated to the Teacher Retirement System of Texas in SECTION 1 (Sections 826.002 and 826.009, Government Code) of this bill. SECTION BY SECTION ANALYSIS SECTION 1. Amends Subtitle B, Title 8, Government Code, by adding Chapter 826, as follows: CHAPTER 826. OPTIONAL DEFINED CONTRIBUTION PLAN Sec. 826.001. DEFINITIONS. Defines "optional defined contribution plan" and "qualified plan." Sec. 826.002. ESTABLISHMENT OF PLAN. (a) Requires the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) to establish and administer an optional defined contribution plan that is a qualified plan and under which members of TRS may elect to pay contributions to the optional defined contribution plan. Provides that the plan is for the purchase of investment products selected by the participant from among products that are authorized to be provided under a qualified plan and that are offered by TRS or companies that are authorized to provide the products and are selected by TRS. (b) Requires TRS to offer at least one investment product invested and administered by TRS. Authorizes TRS to adopt rules for the selection of companies to provide investment products under the optional defined contribution plan. Establishes that any rules must provide for the selection of vendors of a wide variety of investment products authorized for a qualified plan and that any selection of vendors must occur every two years. (c) Specifies that a provider of investment products is exempt from the payment of franchise or premium taxes on products issued under the optional defined contribution plan. Sec. 826.003. ELIGIBILITY AND ELECTION TO PARTICIPATE IN PLAN. Establishes that a contributing member of TRS is eligible to participate in the optional defined contribution plan. Provides that participation in the plan is in addition to participation as a contributing member of TRS for the same period. Authorizes a person eligible to participate in the optional defined contribution plan to elect to participate in the plan on a form prescribed by and filed with TRS. Requires TRS to provide an annual enrollment period during which a contributing member of TRS may make an election. Sec. 826.004. EFFECT OF EMPLOYMENT CHANGES. Establishes that a person participating in the optional defined contribution plan continues to participate in the plan when the person changes employment to another position included in the coverage of TRS. Sec. 826.005. VESTING OF BENEFITS; TERMINATION OF PARTICIPATION. Provides that benefits in the optional defined contribution plan vest in a participant on the first anniversary of the person's participation in the plan. Establishes that a person terminates participation in the program, without losing any vested benefits by death, retirement, or termination of employment in all positions included in the coverage of TRS. Provides that the benefits of an annuity purchased under the plan become available under the terms of the annuity but not before the member terminates participation or attains the age of 70-1/2 years. Sec. 826.006. INVESTMENT ADVISORY FEES. Authorizes a participant in the optional defined contribution plan to authorize the payment of investment advisory fees from the amount in the participant's custodial account or annuity under specific circumstances. Requires the executive director of TRS to request an official determination from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) concerning whether the payment of investment advisory fees is a distribution of funds that is prohibited or subject to taxation and penalty. Requires the executive director to file the determination with the secretary of state's office for publication in the Texas Register if the executive director receives an official determination from the IRS. Sec. 826.007. CONTRIBUTIONS. Requires a participant in the optional defined contribution plan to make contributions to the plan at a rate chosen by the participant that is at least three percent of the participant's monthly compensation. Requires the participant's employer to make contributions to the plan in an amount equal to the participant's contributions unless the legislature appropriates matching contributions. Requires a plan participant and the participant's employer to execute an agreement under which the salary of the participant is reduced by the determined amount of the contribution. Provides that an agreement is irrevocable until the participant terminates participation in the plan. Requires participant contributions to be made in the manner provided by Section 825.403 (Collection of Member's Contributions), and employer contributions to be made in the manner provided by Section 825.405 (Contributions Based on Compensation Above Statutory Minimum). Sec. 826.008. OPTIONAL DEFINED CONTRIBUTION PLAN ACCOUNT. Establishes that the optional defined contribution plan account is an account in the trust fund of TRS. Requires TRS to deposit contributions to the plan in the account. Requires TRS to separately account for contributions made for delivery to vendors offering investment products under the plan and contributions made for an investment product invested by TRS. Authorizes TRS to commingle assets of the optional defined contribution account with other assets of the trust fund for the purposes of investment, as long as proportionate ownership records are maintained and credited. Sec. 826.009. RULES. Authorizes TRS to adopt any rules necessary to administer this chapter. SECTION 2. Requires TRS to offer participation in the optional defined contribution plan beginning with the 2000-2001 school year. SECTION 3. Emergency clause. Effective date: 90 days after adjournment.