State Legislators Who Stood In Support of KPERS Retirees

July 24, 2012

This year, faced with an $8 billion dollar unfunded liability in Kansas’ public employee pension plan (KPERS), the Legislature embarked on reform efforts to shore up the system. Governor Brownback’s position was quickly, and forcefully, staked out in his State of the State address.  The Governor implored legislators to transition KPERS to a costly defined-contribution plan and limit benefits for retirees while shifting all the risk of funding the system from the State to retirees. While the plan was hailed by some legislators simply looking to rubber stamp the Governor’s agenda, and appease Wall Street special interests who stood to make money from new account investment fees, other legislators saw the blatant unfairness of limiting benefits while shifting all the burden to public sector retirees.

In the end, under the bipartisan leadership of Senate President Steve Morris and Senator Laura Kelly, the Legislature crafted a new approach that would create a “cash balance” styled plan for new employees coming into the system. The cash balance plan is similar to the current KPERS plan as it is a type of defined benefit plan. Under the new plan, the employer and employee would each contribute to the plan and the investment would have a guaranteed annual return. Upon retirement, it would be transitioned into an annuity and pay a defined monthly benefit based upon the total contributions to the plan. While this would be a somewhat smaller benefit than that offered in the current KPERS system, it would still be a consistent, defined benefit paid over the retiree’s entire life.

During the course of the legislative session, there were numerous attempts to force state retirees into the defined-contribution plan coveted by the Governor.  However, these efforts failed to gain approval.

KPERS reform is always a difficult issue for policymakers to grasp. But what is clear is that there are those in the Legislature who choose to ignore the fact that the state has failed miserably to meet its obligation to state retirees and want to force punitive reforms upon retirees for no reason.  Thankfully, others recognize the state’s failures and worked toward more fair and equitable reforms that will strengthen the system for current and future retirees.

The following is a list compiled by Keeping the Kansas Promise Coalition of Kansas of state legislators who stood in support of the thousands of state retirees and their families.

 Senate 

Marci Francisco (D) – District 2

Tom Holland (D) – District 3

David Haley (D) – District 4

Kelly Kultala (D) – District 5

Terry Huntington* (R) – District 7

Tim Owens (R) – District 8

John Vratil* (R) – District 11

Dwayne Umbarger (R) – District 15

Jeff Longbine (R) – District 17

Laura Kelly (D) – District 18

Anthony Hensley (D) – District 19

Vicki Schmidt (R) – District 20

Roger Reitz (R) – District 22

Pete Brungardt  (R) – District 24

Jean Schodorf (R) – District 25

Oleatha Faust-Goudeau (D) – District 29

Carolyn McGinn (R) – District 31

Ruth Teichman (R) – District 33

Jay Scott Emler (R) – District 35

Stephen Morris (R) – District 39

Allen Schmidt (D) – District 40

House

Doug Gatewood* (D) – District 1

Bob Grant (D) – District 2

Caryn Tyson (R) – District 4

Bill Feurerborn (D) – District 5

Jerry Williams* (D) – District 8

Kay Wolf (R) – District 19

Barbara Bollier (R) – District 21

Mike Slattery* (D) – District 25

Pat Colloton (R) – District 28

Sheryl Spalding (R) – District 29

Stan Frownfelter (D) – District 31

Loius Ruiz (D) – District 32

Tom Burroughs (D) – District 33

Valdenia Winn (D) – District 34

Broderick Henderson (D) – District 35

Kathy Wolfe Moore (D) – District 36

Mike Peterson (D) – District 37

Melanie Meier (D) – District 41

Barbara Ballard (D) – District 44

Tom Sloan (R) – District 45

Paul Davis (D) – District 46

Sean Gatewood (D) – District 50

Trent LeDoux (R) – District 51

Lana Gordon* (R) – District 52

Mike Burgess (R) – District 53

Anne Tietze (D) – District 53

Anne Kuether (D) – District 55

Harold Lane (D) – District 58

Don Hill (R) – District 60

Jerry Henry (D) – District 63

Vern Swanson (R) – District 64

Sydney Carlin (D) – District 66

Bob Brookens* (R) – District 70

Bill Otto (R) – District 76

Ed Trimmer (D) – District 79

Jo Anne Pottorff* (R) – District 83

Gail Finney (D) – District 84

Judy Loganbill (D) – District 86

Jim Ward (D) – District 86

Melody McCray-Millar (D) – District 89

Nile Dillmore (D) – District 92

Geraldine Flaharty (D) – District 98

Jan Pauls (D) – District 102

Ponka-We Victors (D) – District 103

Eber Phelps (D) – District 11

Bob Bethell (R) District 113

Vince Wetta (D) – District 116

Ward Cassidy (R) – District 120

* = Retiring

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