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Retirement plan for new state hires will become effective Jan. 1, 2025

PERS director Scott Miller testifying before the interim Retirement Committee
Dave Thompson
PERS director Scott Miller testifying before the interim Retirement Committee

North Dakota’s Public Employees Retirement System says the change in the retirement plan for new state hires will be ready to go for people hired after January First, 2025.

The current “Defined Benefit” plan is being closed to new hires, who then will be offered a 401-K style “defined contribution” plan.

A clause in the OMB budget bill – the last bill passed in the 2023 Legislature – said if ready, it could take effect for people hired after January First, 2024. But PERS Executive Director Scott Miller told the Legislature’s interim Retirement Committee that’s can’t happen. Miller said one reason is the administrative rules process – which could take 9 to 12 months.

"We've begun that process," Miller told the Committee. "Our requests are in to our special assistant Attorney General, to have him draft proposed rules for us to review and start the process. But that's not a process that we can hasten. in any way."

Miller said there are also some changes in technology that will take time.

A member of the Retirement Committee said he is “disappointed” with that.

"We knew this plan was coming, tow years before it was even voted on," said Rep. Austen Schauer (R-West Fargo). "I feel we're not moving forward as quickly as we should be."

Schauer said PERS could move forward with “emergency” rules to get the program started. But Miller told the Committee their attorneys told them the emergency process was not available.

"I would also remind the committee that HB 1040 always had a 1/1/25 date," Miller said. "HB 1039 had the 1/1/24 date. And I believe that was unanimously defeated in the House, because we had advised the Committee there was very little chance we could get this done by 1/1/24."

Miller said up until SB 2015 — the OMB budget bill — was passed at a in the morning, we were under the impression we had until 1/1/25.

"There's nothing we can do to get this done by 1/1/24," Miller said. "That's what the PERS board approved, following the original HB 1040."

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