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Introduced Version Senate Bill 71 History

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sb71 intr
Senate Bill No. 71

(By Senator Bowman)

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[Introduced February 9, 2005; referred to the Committee

on Pensions; and then to the Committee on Finance.]

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A BILL to amend and reenact §51-9-6, §51-9-6a and §51-9-6b of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, all relating to the judges' retirement system; providing that a judge of a court of record first elected to the office after the first day of July, two thousand five, shall have his or her retirement benefit calculated on the basis of his or her salary at the time of retirement; and, irrespective of any salary increases that may be granted to active members of the judiciary, the retired judge's benefit may not be increased unless expressly provided for by legislative enactment.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §51-9-6, §51-9-6a and §51-9-6b of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 9. RETIREMENT SYSTEM FOR JUDGES OF COURTS OF RECORD.
§51-9-6. Eligibility for and payment of benefits.
(a) Except as otherwise provided in sections five, twelve and thirteen of this article, and subject to the provisions of subsection (e) of this section, any person who is now serving, or who shall hereafter serve, as a judge of any court of record of this state and shall have served as such judge for a period of not less than sixteen full years and shall have reached the age of sixty-five years, or who has served as judge of such court or of that court and other courts of record of the State for a period of sixteen full years or more (whether continuously or not and whether said service be entirely before or after this article became effective, or partly before and partly after said date, and whether or not said judge shall be in office on the date he or she shall become eligible to benefits hereunder) and shall have reached the age of sixty-five years, or who is now serving, or who shall hereafter serve, as a judge of any court of record of this State and shall have served as such judge for a period of not less than twenty-four full years, regardless of age, shall, upon a determination and certification of his or her eligibility as provided in section nine hereof, be paid from the fund annual retirement benefits, so long as he or she shall live, in an amount equal to seventy-five percent of the annual salary of the office from which he or she has retired based upon such salary of such office and as such salary may be changed from time to time during the period of his or her retirement and the amount of his or her retirement benefits shall be based upon and be equal to seventy-five percent of the highest annual salary of such office for any one calendar year during the period of his or her retirement, and shall be payable in monthly installments: Provided, That such retirement benefits shall be paid only after such judge has resigned as such or, for any reason other than his or her impeachment, his or her service as such has ended: Provided, however, That every such person seeking to retire and to receive the annual retirement benefits provided by this subsection must have served a minimum of twelve years as a sitting judge of any such court of record.
(b) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this article with the exception of sections twelve-a and twelve-b, any person who is now serving or who shall hereafter serve as a judge of any court of record of this State and who shall have accumulated sixteen years or more of credited service, at least twelve years of which is as a sitting judge of a court of record, and who has attained the age of sixty-two years or more but less than the age of sixty-five years, may elect to retire from his or her office and to receive the pension to which he or she would otherwise be entitled to receive at age sixty-five, but with an actuarial reduction of pension benefit to be established as a reduced annuity receivable throughout retirement. The reduced percentage (less than seventy-five percent) actuarially computed, determined and established at time of retirement in respect of this reduced pension benefit shall also continue and be applicable to any subsequent new annual salary set for the office from which such judge has retired and as such salary may be changed from time to time during the period of his or her retirement.
(c) In determining eligibility for the benefits provided by this section, active full-time duty (including leaves and furloughs) in the armed forces of the United States shall be eligible for qualification as credited military service for the purposes of this article by any judge with twelve or more years actual service as a sitting judge of a court of record, such awardable military service to not exceed five years.
(d) If a judge of a court of record who is presently sitting as such on the effective date of the amendments to this section enacted by the Legislature at its regular session held in the year one thousand nine hundred eighty-seven, and who has served for a period of not less than twelve full years and has made payments into the judges' retirement fund as provided in this article for each month during which he or she served as judge, following the effective date of this section, any portion of time which he or she had served as prosecuting attorney in any county in this State shall qualify as years of service, if such judge shall pay those sums required to be paid pursuant to the provisions of section four of this article: Provided, That any term of office as prosecuting attorney, or part thereof, commencing after the thirty-first day of December, one thousand nine hundred eighty-eight, shall not hereafter in any way qualify as eligible years of service under this retirement system.
(e) Any retirement benefit accruing under the provisions of this section shall not be paid if otherwise barred under the provisions of article ten-a, chapter five of this code.
(f) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this article, forfeitures under the system shall not be applied to increase the benefits any member would otherwise receive under the system.
(g) Notwithstanding any provision in this section to the contrary, a judge of a court of record first elected to the office after the first day of July, two thousand five, shall have his or her retirement benefit calculated on the basis of his or her salary at the time of retirement, and irrespective of any salary increases that may be granted to active members of the judiciary, the retiree's benefit may not be increased unless expressly provided for by legislative enactment.
§51-9-6a. Eligibility benefits; service and retirement of judges over sixty-five years of age.

(a) Any judge of a court of record of this State, who shall have served for a period of not less than eight full years after attaining the age of sixty-five years and who shall have made payments into the judges' retirement fund as provided in this article for each month during which he or she served as such judge following the effective date of this section, shall be subject to all the applicable terms and provisions of this article, not inconsistent with the provisions hereof, and shall receive retirement benefits in an amount equal to seventy-five percent of the annual salary of the office from which he or she has retired based upon such salary of such office as such salary may be changed from time to time during the period of his or her retirement and the amount of his or her retirement benefits shall be based upon and be equal to seventy-five percent of the highest annual salary of such office for any one calendar year during the period of his or her retirement, and shall be payable in monthly installments. If such judge shall become incapacitated to perform his or her said duties before the expiration of his or her said term and after serving for six years thereof, and upon the acceptance of his or her resignation as in this article provided, he or she shall be paid the annual retirement benefits as herein provided so long as he or she shall live. The provisions of this section shall prevail over any language to the contrary in this article contained, except those provisions of sections twelve-a and twelve-b of this article.
(b) Notwithstanding any provision in this section to the contrary, a judge of a court of record first elected to the office after the first day of July, two thousand five, shall have his or her retirement benefit calculated on the basis of his or her salary at the time of retirement, and irrespective of any salary increases that may be granted to active members of the judiciary, the retiree's benefit may not be increased unless expressly provided for by legislative enactment.
§51-9-6b. Annuities for surviving spouses and surviving dependent children of judges; automatic escalation and increase of annuity benefit; proration designation by judge permitted.

(a) There shall be paid, from the fund created or continued by section two of this article, or from such funds as may be appropriated by the Legislature for such purpose, an annuity to the surviving spouse of a judge, if such judge at the time of his or her death is eligible for the retirement benefits provided by any of the provisions of this article, or who has, at death, actually served five years or more as a sitting judge of any court of record of this State, exclusive of any other service credit to which such judge may otherwise be entitled, and who dies either while in office or after resignation or retirement from office pursuant to the provisions of this article. Said annuity shall amount to forty percent of the annual salary of the office which said judge held at his or her death or from which he or she resigned or retired. In the event said salary is increased or decreased while an annuitant is receiving the benefits hereunder, his or her annuity shall amount to forty percent of the new salary. The annuity granted hereunder shall accrue monthly and shall be due and payable in monthly installments on the first business day of the month following the month for which the annuity shall have accrued. Such annuity shall commence on the first day of the month in which said judge dies and shall, subject to the provisions of subsection (b) of this section, terminate upon the death of the annuitant or shall terminate upon the remarriage of the annuitant.
(b) If there be no surviving spouse at the time of death of a judge who dies after serving five years or more as a sitting judge of any court of record and such judge leaves surviving him or her any dependent child or children such dependent child or children shall receive an amount equal to twenty percent of the annual salary of the office which said judge held at the time of his or her death: Provided, That the total of all such annuities payable to each such child shall not exceed in the aggregate an amount equal to forty percent of such salary. Such annuity shall continue as to each such child until: (i) He or she attains the age of eighteen years; or (ii) attains the age of twenty-three years so long as such child remains a full-time student. The auditor shall by legislative rule establish the criteria for determining a person's status as a full-time student within the meaning and intent of this subsection. In the event there are surviving any such judge three or more dependent children, then each such child's annuity shall be proratably reduced in order that the aggregate annuity received by all such dependent children does not exceed forty percent of such salary and the amount to be so received by any such child shall continue throughout the entire period during which each such child is eligible to receive such annuity. The provisions of this subsection shall also apply to those circumstances and situations wherein a surviving spouse of a deceased judge shall die while receiving benefits pursuant to subsection (a) of this section and who shall leave surviving dependent children of such deceased judge who would be entitled to benefits under this subsection as if they had succeeded to such annuity benefits upon the death of such judge in the first instance. In the event the salary of judges is increased or decreased while an annuitant is receiving benefits pursuant to this subsection, the annuities payable shall be likewise increased or decreased proportionately to reflect such change in salary. The annuities granted hereunder shall accrue monthly and shall be due and payable in monthly installments on the same day as surviving spouses benefits are required to be paid. Such annuities shall commence on the first day of the month in which any such dependent child becomes eligible for benefits hereunder and shall terminate on the last day of the month during which such eligibility ceases.
(c) Notwithstanding any provision in this section to the contrary, a surviving spouse or dependent child receiving an annuity upon the death of a judge of a court of record first elected to the office after the first day of July, two thousand five, shall have his or her annuity benefit calculated on the basis of the judge's salary at the time of retirement, and irrespective of any salary increases that may be granted to active members of the judiciary, the annuity may not be increased unless expressly provided for by legislative enactment.



NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to provide that a judge of a court of record first elected to the office after the first day of July, two thousand five, shall have his or her retirement benefit calculated on the basis of his or her salary at the time of retirement, and irrespective of any salary increases that may be granted to active members of the judiciary, the retired judge's benefit may not be increased unless expressly provided for by legislative enactment.

Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.

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