Bill Text: NY A06214 | 2019-2020 | General Assembly | Introduced


Bill Title: Relates to disability retirement for members of the department of environmental conservation, forest rangers, university police officers and the regional state park police.

Spectrum: Strong Partisan Bill (Democrat 12-1)

Status: (Introduced) 2019-06-17 - substituted by s3922 [A06214 Detail]

Download: New_York-2019-A06214-Introduced.html


                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________
                                          6214
                               2019-2020 Regular Sessions
                   IN ASSEMBLY
                                      March 4, 2019
                                       ___________
        Introduced by M. of A. ABBATE -- read once and referred to the Committee
          on Governmental Employees
        AN  ACT  to amend the retirement and social security law, in relation to
          disability retirement for members of the department  of  environmental
          conservation,  forest  rangers,  university  police  officers  and the
          regional state park police
          The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and  Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
     1    Section 1. The retirement and social security law is amended by adding
     2  a new section 363-ee to read as follows:
     3    §  363-ee.  Accidental  disability  retirement  allowance  for certain
     4  members or officers of the division of law enforcement in the department
     5  of environmental  conservation,  forest  rangers,  regional  state  park
     6  police  officers,  and university police officers. a. A member may elect
     7  to receive an accidental disability  retirement  allowance  as  provided
     8  under  this section in lieu of the benefits provided under section three
     9  hundred sixty-three-e of this title if, at the time application therefor
    10  is filed, he or she is:
    11    1. Physically or mentally incapacitated for performance of duty as the
    12  natural and proximate result of an accident not caused by his or her own
    13  willful negligence sustained in such service and while actually  a  non-
    14  seasonally  appointed  member  of the division of law enforcement in the
    15  department of  environmental  conservation,  a  police  officer  in  the
    16  department  of  environmental  conservation,  an officer in the regional
    17  state park police, a forest ranger in the service of the  department  of
    18  environmental  conservation  which  shall  mean a person who serves on a
    19  full-time basis in the title of  forest  ranger  I,  forest  ranger  II,
    20  forest  ranger  III,  assistant  superintendent  of forest fire control,
    21  superintendent of forest fire control or any  successor  titles  or  new
    22  titles  in  the forest ranger title series in the department of environ-
    23  mental conservation, or a university police officer  appointed  pursuant
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD08623-02-9

        A. 6214                             2
     1  to paragraph l of subdivision two of section three hundred fifty-five of
     2  the education law, and
     3    2.  Actually  in  service  upon  which his or her membership is based.
     4  However, in a case where a member is discontinued  from  service  subse-
     5  quent to the accident, either voluntarily or involuntarily, and provided
     6  that the member meets the requirements of paragraph one of this subdivi-
     7  sion,  application  may be made, either (a) by a vested member incapaci-
     8  tated as the result of a qualifying  World  Trade  Center  condition  as
     9  defined  in  section  two  of this chapter at any time, or (b) not later
    10  than two years after the member is first discontinued from service.
    11    b. Application for an accidental disability retirement  allowance  for
    12  such a member may be made by:
    13    1. Such member, or
    14    2.  The head of the department where such member is employed or his or
    15  her designee, or
    16    3. A person acting on behalf of and authorized by such member.
    17    c. (a) After the filing of such an application such  member  shall  be
    18  given  one  or  more  medical examinations. No such application shall be
    19  approved, however, unless the member or some other person on his or  her
    20  behalf  shall have filed written notice in the office of the comptroller
    21  within ninety days after the accident, setting forth:
    22    1. The time when and the place where such accident occurred;
    23    2. The particulars thereof;
    24    3. The nature and extent of the member's injuries; and
    25    4. His or her alleged incapacity.
    26    (b) The notice herein required need not be given:
    27    1. If notice of such accident shall be filed in  accordance  with  the
    28  provisions  of the workers' compensation law of any state within which a
    29  participating employer shall have its employees  located  or  performing
    30  functions and duties within the normal scope of their employment, or
    31    2.  If  the  application for accidental disability retirement is filed
    32  within one year after the date of such accident, or
    33    3. If a failure to file notice has been excused for good  cause  shown
    34  as provided by rules and regulations promulgated by the comptroller.
    35    d.  If  the  comptroller  determines  that the member is physically or
    36  mentally incapacitated for the performance  of  duty  and  ought  to  be
    37  retired for accidental disability, such member shall be so retired. Such
    38  retirement shall be effective as of a date approved by the comptroller.
    39    e.  Notwithstanding  any other provision of law, the retirement allow-
    40  ance payable upon accidental disability retirement shall consist of:
    41    1. An annuity which shall be the actuarial equivalent of the  member's
    42  accumulated contributions, plus
    43    2. A pension which is the actuarial equivalent of the reserved-for-in-
    44  creased-take-home-pay to which he or she may be entitled, if any, plus
    45    3. A pension of three-quarters of his or her final average salary. The
    46  payment  of  such  pension shall be subject to the provisions of section
    47  three hundred sixty-four of this title.
    48    f. If the member, at the time of the filing of  an  application  under
    49  the  provisions  of  subdivision  b  of  this section, is eligible for a
    50  service retirement benefit, then and in that event, he or she may simul-
    51  taneously file an application for service retirement in accordance  with
    52  the  provisions  of  section  seventy of this chapter, provided that the
    53  member indicates on the application for  service  retirement  that  such
    54  application is filed without prejudice to the application for accidental
    55  disability retirement.

        A. 6214                             3
     1    g.  For  purposes  of this section, the term "accident" shall have the
     2  same meaning and be interpreted in the  same  manner  as  such  term  is
     3  defined  and interpreted to mean in section three hundred sixty-three of
     4  this title.
     5    h.  1.  (a)  Notwithstanding  any provisions of this chapter or of any
     6  general, special or local law, charter, administrative code or  rule  or
     7  regulation  to the contrary, if any condition or impairment of health is
     8  caused by a qualifying  World  Trade  Center  condition  as  defined  in
     9  section  two  of  this chapter, it shall be presumptive evidence that it
    10  was incurred in the performance and discharge of duty  and  the  natural
    11  and  proximate  result  of  an  accident not caused by such member's own
    12  willful negligence, unless the contrary be proved by competent evidence.
    13    (b) The comptroller is hereby authorized to promulgate rules and regu-
    14  lations to implement the provisions of this paragraph.
    15    2. (a) Notwithstanding the provisions of this chapter or of any gener-
    16  al, special or local law, charter, administrative code or rule or  regu-
    17  lation  to  the  contrary,  if  a member who participated in World Trade
    18  Center rescue, recovery or cleanup operations, as defined in section two
    19  of this chapter, and subsequently retired on a  service  retirement,  an
    20  ordinary  disability  retirement  or  a  performance  of duty disability
    21  retirement and subsequent to such retirement is determined by the  comp-
    22  troller to have a qualifying World Trade Center condition, as defined in
    23  section  two of this chapter, upon such determination by the comptroller
    24  it shall be presumed that such disability was incurred in  the  perform-
    25  ance  and  discharge  of  duty as the natural and proximate result of an
    26  accident not caused by such member's own willful  negligence,  and  that
    27  the  member would have been physically or mentally incapacitated for the
    28  performance and discharge of duty of the position from which he  or  she
    29  retired  had the condition been known and fully developed at the time of
    30  the member's retirement, unless the  contrary  is  proven  by  competent
    31  evidence.
    32    (b)  The comptroller shall consider a reclassification of the member's
    33  retirement as an accidental disability retirement effective  as  of  the
    34  date of such reclassification.
    35    (c)  Such  member's retirement option shall not be changed as a result
    36  of such reclassification.
    37    (d) The member's former employer at the time of the  member's  retire-
    38  ment  shall  have an opportunity to be heard on the member's application
    39  for reclassification by the comptroller according to  procedures  devel-
    40  oped by the comptroller.
    41    (e) The comptroller is hereby authorized to promulgate rules and regu-
    42  lations to implement the provisions of this paragraph.
    43    i.  Notwithstanding  any  other  provision  of  this chapter or of any
    44  general, special or local law, charter, administrative code or  rule  or
    45  regulation  to  the contrary, if a retiree who: (1) has met the criteria
    46  of subdivision h of this section and retired on a service or  disability
    47  retirement,  or would have met the criteria if not already retired on an
    48  accidental disability; and (2) has not been retired for more than  twen-
    49  ty-five  years; and (3) dies from a qualifying World Trade Center condi-
    50  tion, as defined in section two of this chapter, as  determined  by  the
    51  applicable  head  of  the retirement system or applicable medical board,
    52  then unless the contrary be proven by competent evidence,  such  retiree
    53  shall  be  deemed  to  have died as a natural and proximate result of an
    54  accident sustained in the performance of duty and not  as  a  result  of
    55  willful negligence on his or her part. Such retiree's eligible benefici-
    56  ary,  as  set  forth  in  section three hundred sixty-one of this title,

        A. 6214                             4
     1  shall be entitled to an accidental death benefit as provided by  section
     2  three  hundred  sixty-one  of  this  title, however, for the purposes of
     3  determining the salary base upon which the accidental death  benefit  is
     4  calculated,  the retiree shall be deemed to have died on the date of his
     5  or her retirement. Upon the retiree's death,  the  eligible  beneficiary
     6  shall  make  a  written application to the head of the retirement system
     7  within the time for filing an application for an accidental death  bene-
     8  fit  as  set  forth  in  section  three  hundred sixty-one of this title
     9  requesting conversion of such retiree's service or disability retirement
    10  benefit to an accidental death benefit. At the time of such  conversion,
    11  the  eligible beneficiary shall relinquish all rights to the prospective
    12  benefits payable under the service  or  disability  retirement  benefit,
    13  including any post-retirement death benefits, since the retiree's death.
    14  If  the  eligible  beneficiary  is not the only beneficiary receiving or
    15  entitled to receive a benefit under the service or disability retirement
    16  benefit (including, but not limited to, post-retirement  death  benefits
    17  or benefits paid or payable pursuant to the retiree's option selection),
    18  the  accidental  death benefit payments to the eligible beneficiary will
    19  be reduced by any amounts paid or payable to any other beneficiary.
    20    j. Notwithstanding any other provision  of  this  chapter  or  of  any
    21  general,  special  or local law, charter, administrative code or rule or
    22  regulation to the contrary, if a member who: (1) has met the criteria of
    23  subdivision h of this section; and (2) dies in  active  service  from  a
    24  qualifying  World  Trade  Center condition, as defined in section two of
    25  this chapter, as determined by the applicable  head  of  the  retirement
    26  system  or applicable medical board to have been caused by such member's
    27  participation in the World Trade  Center  rescue,  recovery  or  cleanup
    28  operations,  as  defined in section two of this chapter, then unless the
    29  contrary be proven by competent evidence, such member shall be deemed to
    30  have died as a natural and proximate result of an accident sustained  in
    31  the performance of duty and not as a result of willful negligence on his
    32  or her part. Such member's eligible beneficiary, as set forth in section
    33  three  hundred  sixty-one  of  this title, shall be entitled to an acci-
    34  dental death benefit provided he or she makes written application to the
    35  head of the retirement system within the time for filing an  application
    36  for  an  accidental  death benefit as set forth in section three hundred
    37  sixty-one of this title.
    38    § 2. The section heading and subdivision a of  section  363-e  of  the
    39  retirement  and social security law, as added by chapter 208 of the laws
    40  of 1997, are amended to read as follows:
    41    Disability retirement allowance for members of  the  division  of  law
    42  enforcement  in  the  department  of  environmental conservation, police
    43  officers  in  the  department  of  environmental  conservation,   forest
    44  rangers, university police officers and the regional state park police.
    45    a. Every non-seasonally appointed sworn member or officer of the divi-
    46  sion  of law enforcement in the department of environmental conservation
    47  and the regional state park police, every police officer in the  depart-
    48  ment  of  environmental  conservation,  every  forest  ranger  and every
    49  university police officer appointed pursuant to paragraph l of  subdivi-
    50  sion  two  of  section three hundred fifty-five of the education law who
    51  becomes physically or mentally incapacitated for the performance of duty
    52  shall be covered by the provisions  of  this  section  in  lieu  of  the
    53  provisions  of  section  three hundred sixty-two or three hundred sixty-
    54  three of this [article] title; except, however, any such member or offi-
    55  cer who last entered or reentered service in the department of  environ-
    56  mental  conservation  or state park police, as the case may be, prior to

        A. 6214                             5
     1  September first, nineteen hundred ninety-seven,  shall  be  entitled  to
     2  apply for disability retirement pursuant to such sections and to receive
     3  the  benefit  so payable in lieu of the benefit payable pursuant to this
     4  section.  The  benefits  provided  by this section for university police
     5  officers shall be in lieu of section three hundred sixty-three  of  this
     6  title.
     7    § 3. This act shall take effect immediately.
          FISCAL NOTE.--Pursuant to Legislative Law, Section 50:
          This  bill  would  grant  improved  accidental and performance of duty
        disability pensions to certain members or officers of  the  division  of
        law  enforcement in the department of environmental conservation, forest
        rangers, regional state park police and university police officers.  The
        benefit for an accidental disability would be 75% of final average sala-
        ry  minus  worker's  compensation. The benefit for a performance of duty
        disability benefit would be 50% of final average salary.
          If this bill is enacted during the 2019 legislative session, we antic-
        ipate that there will be an increase of approximately  $360,000  in  the
        annual  contributions  for  the  fiscal  year  ending March 31, 2020. In
        future years, this cost will vary as the billing  rates  and  salary  of
        affected members change.
          In addition to the annual contributions discussed above, there will be
        an immediate past service cost of approximately $1.04 million which will
        be  borne  by the state of New York as a one-time payment. This estimate
        is based on the assumption that payment will be made on March 1, 2020.
          These estimated costs are based on 578 members having an annual salary
        for the fiscal  year  ending  March  31,  2018  of  approximately  $48.9
        million.
          Summary of relevant resources:
          The  membership  data  used  in  measuring  the impact of the proposed
        change was the same as that used in the March 31, 2018  actuarial  valu-
        ation.    Distributions  and  other  statistics can be found in the 2018
        Report of the  Actuary  and  the  2018  Comprehensive  Annual  Financial
        Report.
          The  actuarial assumptions and methods used are described in the 2015,
        2016, 2017 and 2018  Annual  Report  to  the  Comptroller  on  Actuarial
        Assumptions,  and  the  Codes, Rules and Regulations of the State of New
        York: Audit and Control.
          The Market Assets and GASB Disclosures are found in the March 31, 2018
        New York State and Local  Retirement  System  Financial  Statements  and
        Supplementary Information.
          I am a member of the American Academy of Actuaries and meet the Quali-
        fication Standards to render the actuarial opinion contained herein.
          This  fiscal note does not constitute a legal opinion on the viability
        of the proposed change nor is it intended to serve as a  substitute  for
        the professional judgement of an attorney.
          This  estimate,  dated  February  12, 2019, and intended for used only
        during the  2019  Legislative  Session,  is  Fiscal  Note  No.  2019-46,
        prepared  by  the  Actuary  for  the New York State and Local Retirement
        System.
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