MISSISSIPPI LEGISLATURE

2007 Regular Session

To: Finance

By: Senator(s) Robertson

Senate Bill 2821

(As Passed the Senate)

AN ACT TO AMEND SECTIONS 25-11-103, 25-11-105, 25-11-109, 25-11-111, 25-11-113, 25-11-114, 25-11-115, 25-11-117, 25-11-311 AND 25-11-315, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO INCREASE THE NUMBER OF YEARS OF MEMBERSHIP SERVICE REQUIRED TO VEST IN THE PUBLIC EMPLOYEES' RETIREMENT SYSTEM FROM FOUR YEARS TO EIGHT YEARS FOR PERSONS WHO BECOME MEMBERS OF THE SYSTEM ON OR AFTER JULY 1, 2007; TO LIMIT THE SELECTION OF THE PARTIAL LUMP-SUM DISTRIBUTION OPTION TO THOSE WHO HAVE 28 OR MORE YEARS OF CREDITABLE SERVICE AT THE TIME OF RETIREMENT FOR PERSONS WHO BECOME MEMBERS OF THE SYSTEM ON OR AFTER JULY 1, 2007; TO CONFORM THE USE OF THE TERMS "MEMBERSHIP SERVICE" AND "CREDITABLE SERVICE"; TO DELETE OBSOLETE LANGUAGE REGARDING THE PHASE-IN OF THE NEW RETIREMENT FORMULA AND REFERENCES TO OPTION 4-C, WHICH IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE; TO AMEND SECTIONS 25-11-123, 25-11-141, 25-15-3, 25-15-9, 25-15-11, 25-15-14 AND 25-15-15, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REMOVE CERTAIN PROVISIONS REGARDING THE IMPLEMENTATION OF A PLAN OF HEALTH INSURANCE DESIGNED BY THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE PUBLIC EMPLOYEES RETIREMENT SYSTEM; TO REPEAL SECTIONS 25-11-143 AND 25-11-145, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, WHICH REQUIRE THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE PUBLIC EMPLOYEES RETIREMENT SYSTEM TO DESIGN A PLAN OF HEALTH INSURANCE FOR ALL CURRENT AND FUTURE RETIREES AND PROVIDE WHEN SUCH PLAN SHALL BE IMPLEMENTED; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.

†††† BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:

†††† SECTION 1.† Section 25-11-103, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

†††† 25-11-103.† The following words and phrases as used in Articles 1 and 3, unless a different meaning is plainly required by the context, have the following meanings:

††††††††† (a)† "Accumulated contributions" means the sum of all the amounts deducted from the compensation of a member and credited to his individual account in the annuity savings account, together with regular interest as provided in Section 25-11-123.

††††††††† (b)† "Actuarial cost" means the amount of funds presently required to provide future benefits as determined by the board based on applicable tables and formulas provided by the actuary.

††††††††† (c)† "Actuarial equivalent" means a benefit of equal value to the accumulated contributions, annuity or benefit, as the case may be, when computed upon the basis of such mortality tables as adopted by the board of trustees, and regular interest.

††††††††† (d)† "Actuarial tables" means such tables of mortality and rates of interest as adopted by the board in accordance with the recommendation of the actuary.

††††††††† (e)† "Agency" means any governmental body employing persons in the state service.

††††††††† (f)† "Average compensation" means the average of the four (4) highest years of earned compensation reported for an employee in a fiscal or calendar year period, or combination thereof that do not overlap, or the last forty-eight (48) consecutive months of earned compensation reported for an employee.† The four (4) years need not be successive or joined years of service.† In no case shall the average compensation so determined be in excess of One Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($150,000.00).† In computing the average compensation, any amount lawfully paid in a lump sum for personal leave or major medical leave shall be included in the calculation to the extent that the amount does not exceed an amount that is equal to thirty (30) days of earned compensation and to the extent that it does not cause the employees' earned compensation to exceed the maximum reportable amount specified in Section 25-11-103(k); however, this thirty-day limitation shall not prevent the inclusion in the calculation of leave earned under federal regulations before July 1, 1976, and frozen as of that date as referred to in Section 25-3-99.† Only the amount of lump-sum pay for personal leave due and paid upon the death of a member attributable for up to one hundred fifty (150) days shall be used in the deceased member's average compensation calculation in determining the beneficiary's benefits.† In computing the average compensation, no amounts shall be used that are in excess of the amount on which contributions were required and paid, and no nontaxable amounts paid by the employer for health or life insurance premiums for the employee shall be used.† If any member who is or has been granted any increase in annual salary or compensation of more than eight percent (8%) retires within twenty-four (24) months from the date that the increase becomes effective, then the board shall exclude that part of the increase in salary or compensation that exceeds eight percent (8%) in calculating that member's average compensation for retirement purposes.† The board may enforce this provision by rule or regulation.† However, increases in compensation in excess of eight percent (8%) per year granted within twenty-four (24) months of the date of retirement may be included in the calculation of average compensation if satisfactory proof is presented to the board showing that the increase in compensation was the result of an actual change in the position held or services rendered, or that the compensation increase was authorized by the State Personnel Board or was increased as a result of statutory enactment, and the employer furnishes an affidavit stating that the increase granted within the last twenty-four (24) months was not contingent on a promise or agreement of the employee to retire.† Nothing in Section 25-3-31 shall affect the calculation of the average compensation of any member for the purposes of this article.† The average compensation of any member who retires before July 1, 1992, shall not exceed the annual salary of the Governor.

††††††††† (g)† "Beneficiary" means any person entitled to receive a retirement allowance, an annuity or other benefit as provided by Articles 1 and 3.† The term "beneficiary" may also include an organization, estate, trust or entity; however, a beneficiary designated or entitled to receive monthly payments under an optional settlement based on life contingency or under a statutory monthly benefit may only be a natural person.† In the event of the death before retirement of any member who became a member of the system before July 1, 2007, and whose spouse and/or children are not entitled to a retirement allowance on the basis that the member has less than four (4) years of service credit, or who became a member of the system on or after July 1, 2007, and whose spouse and/or children are not entitled to a retirement allowance on the basis that the member has less than eight (8) years of service credit, and/or has not been married for a minimum of one (1) year or the spouse has waived his or her entitlement to a retirement allowance under Section 25-11-114, the lawful spouse of a member at the time of the death of the member shall be the beneficiary of the member unless the member has designated another beneficiary after the date of marriage in writing, and filed that writing in the office of the executive director of the board of trustees.† No designation or change of beneficiary shall be made in any other manner.

††††††††† (h)† "Board" means the board of trustees provided in Section 25-11-15 to administer the retirement system created under this article.

††††††††† (i)† "Creditable service" means "prior service," "retroactive service" and all lawfully credited unused leave not exceeding the accrual rates and limitations provided in Section 25-3-91 et seq., as of the date of withdrawal from service plus "membership service" and other service for which credit is allowable as provided in Section 25-11-109.† Except to limit creditable service reported to the system for the purpose of computing an employee's retirement allowance or annuity or benefits provided in this article, nothing in this paragraph shall limit or otherwise restrict the power of the governing authority of a municipality or other political subdivision of the state to adopt such vacation and sick leave policies as it deems necessary.

††††††††† (j)† "Child" means either a natural child of the member, a child that has been made a child of the member by applicable court action before the death of the member, or a child under the permanent care of the member at the time of the latter's death, which permanent care status shall be determined by evidence satisfactory to the board.

††††††††† (k)† "Earned compensation" means the full amount earned by an employee for a given pay period including any maintenance furnished up to a maximum of One Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($150,000.00) per year, and proportionately for less than one (1) year of service.† The value of that maintenance when not paid in money shall be fixed by the employing state agency, and, in case of doubt, by the board of trustees as defined in Section 25-11-15.† Earned compensation shall not include any nontaxable amounts paid by the employer for health or life insurance premiums for an employee.† In any case, earned compensation shall be limited to the regular periodic compensation paid, exclusive of litigation fees, bond fees, and other similar extraordinary nonrecurring payments.† In addition, any member in a covered position, as defined by Public Employees' Retirement System laws and regulations, who is also employed by another covered agency or political subdivision shall have the earnings of that additional employment reported to the Public Employees' Retirement System regardless of whether the additional employment is sufficient in itself to be a covered position.† In addition, computation of earned compensation shall be governed by the following:

††††††††††††† (i)† In the case of constables, the net earnings from their office after deduction of expenses shall apply, except that in no case shall earned compensation be less than the total direct payments made by the state or governmental subdivisions to the official.

††††††††††††† (ii)† In the case of chancery or circuit clerks, the net earnings from their office after deduction of expenses shall apply as expressed in Section 25-11-123(f)(4).

††††††††††††† (iii)† In the case of members of the State Legislature, all remuneration or amounts paid, except mileage allowance, shall apply.

††††††††††††† (iv)† The amount by which an eligible employee's salary is reduced under a salary reduction agreement authorized under Section 25-17-5 shall be included as earned compensation under this paragraph, provided this inclusion does not conflict with federal law, including federal regulations and federal administrative interpretations under the federal law, pertaining to the Federal Insurance Contributions Act or to Internal Revenue Code Section 125 cafeteria plans.

††††††††††††† (v)† Compensation in addition to an employee's base salary that is paid to the employee under the vacation and sick leave policies of a municipality or other political subdivision of the state that employs him that exceeds the maximums authorized by Section 25-3-91 et seq. shall be excluded from the calculation of earned compensation under this article.

††††††††††††† (vi)† The maximum salary applicable for retirement purposes before July 1, 1992, shall be the salary of the Governor.

††††††††††††† (vii)† Nothing in Section 25-3-31 shall affect the determination of the earned compensation of any member for the purposes of this article.

††††††††† (l)† "Employee" means any person legally occupying a position in the state service, and shall include the employees of the retirement system created under this article.

††††††††† (m)† "Employer" means the State of Mississippi or any of its departments, agencies or subdivisions from which any employee receives his compensation.

††††††††† (n)† "Executive director" means the secretary to the board of trustees, as provided in Section 25-11-15(9), and the administrator of the Public Employees' Retirement System and all systems under the management of the board of trustees.† Wherever the term "Executive Secretary of the Public Employees' Retirement System" or "executive secretary" appears in this article or in any other provision of law, it shall be construed to mean the Executive Director of the Public Employees' Retirement System.

††††††††† (o)† "Fiscal year" means the period beginning on July 1 of any year and ending on June 30 of the next succeeding year.

††††††††† (p)† "Medical board" means the board of physicians or any governmental or nongovernmental disability determination service designated by the board of trustees that is qualified to make disability determinations as provided for in Section 25-11-119.

††††††††† (q)† "Member" means any person included in the membership of the system as provided in Section 25-11-105.† For purposes of Sections 25-11-103, 25-11-105, 25-11-109, 25-11-111, 25-11-113, 25-11-114, 25-11-115 and 25-11-117, if a member of the system withdrew from state service and received a refund of the amount of the accumulated contributions to the credit of the member in the annuity savings account before July 1, 2007, and the person reenters state service and becomes a member of the system again on or after July 1, 2007, and repays all or part of the amount received as a refund and interest in order to receive creditable service for service rendered before July 1, 2007, the member shall be considered to have become a member of the system on or after July 1, 2007, subject to the eight (8) year membership service requirement, as applicable in those sections.

††††††††† (r)† "Membership service" means service as an employee in a covered position rendered while a contributing member of the retirement system.

††††††††† (s)† "Position" means any office or any employment in the state service, or two (2) or more of them, the duties of which call for services to be rendered by one (1) person, including positions jointly employed by federal and state agencies administering federal and state funds.† The employer shall determine upon initial employment and during the course of employment of an employee who does not meet the criteria for coverage in the Public Employees' Retirement System based on the position held, whether the employee is or becomes eligible for coverage in the Public Employees' Retirement System based upon any other employment in a covered agency or political subdivision.† If or when the employee meets the eligibility criteria for coverage in the other position, then the employer must withhold contributions and report wages from the noncovered position in accordance with the provisions for reporting of earned compensation.† Failure to deduct and report those contributions shall not relieve the employee or employer of liability thereof. The board shall adopt such rules and regulations as necessary to implement and enforce this provision.

††††††††† (t)† "Prior service" means:

              (i)  For persons who became members of the system before July 1, 2007, service rendered before February 1, 1953, for which credit is allowable under Sections 25-11-105 and 25-11-109, and which shall allow prior service for any person who is now or becomes a member of the Public Employees' Retirement System and who does contribute to the system for a minimum period of four (4) years.

              (ii)  For persons who became members of the system on or after July 1, 2007, service rendered before February 1, 1953, for which credit is allowable under Sections 25-11-105 and 25-11-109, and which shall allow prior service for any person who is now or becomes a member of the Public Employees' Retirement System and who does contribute to the system for a minimum period of eight (8) years.

††††††††† (u)† "Regular interest" means interest compounded annually at such a rate as determined by the board in accordance with Section 25-11-121.

††††††††† (v)† "Retirement allowance" means an annuity for life as provided in this article, payable each year in twelve (12) equal monthly installments beginning as of the date fixed by the board.† The retirement allowance shall be calculated in accordance with Section 25-11-111.† However, any spouse who received a spouse retirement benefit in accordance with Section 25-11-111(d) before March 31, 1971, and those benefits were terminated because of eligibility for a social security benefit, may again receive his spouse retirement benefit from and after making application with the board of trustees to reinstate the spouse retirement benefit.

††††††††† (w)† "Retroactive service"means service rendered after February 1, 1953, for which credit is allowable under Section 25-11-105(b) and Section 25-11-105(k).

††††††††† (x)† "System" means the Public Employees' Retirement System of Mississippi established and described in Section 25-11-101.

††††††††† (y)† "State" means the State of Mississippi or any political subdivision thereof or instrumentality of the state.

††††††††† (z)† "State service" means all offices and positions of trust or employment in the employ of the state, or any political subdivision or instrumentality of the state, that elect to participate as provided by Section 25-11-105(f), including the position of elected or fee officials of the counties and their deputies and employees performing public services or any department, independent agency, board or commission thereof, and also includes all offices and positions of trust or employment in the employ of joint state and federal agencies administering state and federal funds and service rendered by employees of the public schools.† Effective July 1, 1973, all nonprofessional public school employees, such as bus drivers, janitors, maids, maintenance workers and cafeteria employees, shall have the option to become members in accordance with Section 25-11-105(b), and shall be eligible to receive credit for services before July 1, 1973, provided that the contributions and interest are paid by the employee in accordance with that section;in addition, the county or municipal separate school district may pay the employer contribution and pro rata share of interest of the retroactive service from available funds.† From and after July 1, 1998, retroactive service credit shall be purchased at the actuarial cost in accordance with Section 25-11-105(b).

††††††††† (aa)† "Withdrawal from service" or "termination from service" means complete severance of employment in the state service of any member by resignation, dismissal or discharge.

††††††††† (bb)† The masculine pronoun, wherever used, includes the feminine pronoun.

†††† SECTION 2.† Section 25-11-105, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

†††† 25-11-105.† I.† THOSE WHO ARE ELIGIBLE FOR MEMBERSHIP

†††† The membership of this retirement system shall be composed as follows:

††††††††† (a)† (i)† All persons who become employees in the state service after January 31, 1953, and whose wages are subject to payroll taxes and are lawfully reported on IRS Form W-2, except those specifically excluded, or as to whom election is provided in Articles 1 and 3, shall become members of the retirement system as a condition of their employment.

††††††††††††† (ii)† From and after July 1, 2002, any individual who is employed by a governmental entity to perform professional services shall become a member of the system if the individual is paid regular periodic compensation for those services that is subject to payroll taxes, is provided all other employee benefits and meets the membership criteria established by the regulations adopted by the board of trustees that apply to all other members of the system; however, any active member employed in such a position on July 1, 2002, will continue to be an active member for as long as they are employed in any such position.

††††††††† (b)† All persons who become employees in the state service after January 31, 1953, except those specifically excluded or as to whom election is provided in Articles 1 and 3, unless they file with the board before the lapse of sixty (60) days of employment or sixty (60) days after the effective date of the cited articles, whichever is later, on a form prescribed by the board, a notice of election not to be covered by the membership of the retirement system and a duly executed waiver of all present and prospective benefits that would otherwise inure to them on account of their participation in the system, shall become members of the retirement system; however, no credit for prior service will be granted to members who became members of the system before July 1, 2007, until they have contributed to Article 3 of the retirement system for a minimum period of at least four (4) years, or to members who became members of the system on or after July 1, 2007, until they have contributed to Article 3 of the retirement system for a minimum period of at least eight (8) years.† Those members shall receive credit for services performed before January 1, 1953, in employment now covered by Article 3, but no credit shall be granted for retroactive services between January 1, 1953, and the date of their entry into the retirement system, unless the employee pays into the retirement system both the employer's and the employee's contributions on wages paid him during the period from January 31, 1953, to the date of his becoming a contributing member, together with interest at the rate determined by the board of trustees.† Members reentering after withdrawal from service shall qualify for prior service under the provisions of Section 25-11-117.† From and after July 1, 1998, upon eligibility as noted above, the member may receive credit for such retroactive service provided:

††††††††††††† (i)† The member shall furnish proof satisfactory to the board of trustees of certification of that service from the covered employer where the services were performed; and

††††††††† †††† (ii)† The member shall pay to the retirement system on the date he or she is eligible for that credit or at any time thereafter before the date of retirement the actuarial cost for each year of that creditable service.† The provisions of this subparagraph (ii) shall be subject to the limitations of Section 415 of the Internal Revenue Code and regulations promulgated under Section 415.

†††† Nothing contained in this paragraph (b) shall be construed to limit the authority of the board to allow the correction of reporting errors or omissions based on the payment of the employee and employer contributions plus applicable interest.

††††††††† (c)† All persons who become employees in the state service after January 31, 1953, and who are eligible for membership in any other retirement system shall become members of this retirement system as a condition of their employment, unless they elect at the time of their employment to become a member of that other system.

††††††††† (d)† All persons who are employees in the state service on January 31, 1953, and who are members of any nonfunded retirement system operated by the State of Mississippi, or any of its departments or agencies, shall become members of this system with prior service credit unless, before February 1, 1953, they file a written notice with the board of trustees that they do not elect to become members.

††††††††† (e)† All persons who are employees in the state service on January 31, 1953, and who under existing laws are members of any fund operated for the retirement of employees by the State of Mississippi, or any of its departments or agencies, shall not be entitled to membership in this retirement system unless, before February 1, 1953, any such person indicates by a notice filed with the board, on a form prescribed by the board, his individual election and choice to participate in this system, but no such person shall receive prior service credit unless he becomes a member on or before February 1, 1953.

††††††††† (f)† Each political subdivision of the state and each instrumentality of the state or a political subdivision, or both, is authorized to submit, for approval by the board of trustees, a plan for extending the benefits of this article to employees of any such political subdivision or instrumentality.† Each such plan or any amendment to the plan for extending benefits thereof shall be approved by the board of trustees if it finds that the plan, or the plan as amended, is in conformity with such requirements as are provided in Articles 1 and 3; however, upon approval of the plan or any such plan previously approved by the board of trustees, the approved plan shall not be subject to cancellation or termination by the political subdivision or instrumentality, except that any community hospital serving a municipality that joined the Public Employees' Retirement System as of November 1, 1956, to offer social security coverage for its employees and† later extended retirement annuity coverage to its employees as of December 1, 1965, may, upon documentation of extreme financial hardship, have future retirement annuity coverage cancelled or terminated at the discretion of the board of trustees.† No such plan shall be approved unless:

††††††††††††† (i)† It provides that all services that constitute employment as defined in Section 25-11-5 and are performed in the employ of the political subdivision or instrumentality, by any employees thereof, shall be covered by the plan, with the exception of municipal employees who are already covered by existing retirement plans; however, those employees in this class may elect to come under the provisions of this article;

††††††††††††† (ii)† It specifies the source or sources from which the funds necessary to make the payments required by paragraph (d) of Section 25-11-123 and of paragraph (f)(v)2 and 3 of this section are expected to be derived and contains reasonable assurance that those sources will be adequate for that purpose;

††††††††††††† (iii)† It provides for such methods of administration of the plan by the political subdivision or instrumentality as are found by the board of trustees to be necessary for the proper and efficient administration thereof;

††††††††††††† (iv)† It provides that the political subdivision or instrumentality will make such reports, in such form and containing such information, as the board of trustees may from time to time require;

††††††††††††† (v)† It authorizes the board of trustees to terminate the plan in its entirety in the discretion of the board if it finds that there has been a failure to comply substantially with any provision contained in the plan, the termination to take effect at the expiration of such notice and on such conditions as may be provided by regulations of the board and as may be consistent with applicable federal law.

†††††††††††††††††† 1.† The board of trustees shall not finally refuse to approve a plan submitted under paragraph (f), and shall not terminate an approved plan without reasonable notice and opportunity for hearing to each political subdivision or instrumentality affected by the board's decision.† The board's decision in any such case shall be final, conclusive and binding unless an appeal is taken by the political subdivision or instrumentality aggrieved by the decision to the Circuit Court of Hinds County, Mississippi, in accordance with the provisions of law with respect to civil causes by certiorari.

†††††††††††††††††† 2.† Each political subdivision or instrumentality as to which a plan has been approved under this section shall pay into the contribution fund, with respect to wages (as defined in Section 25-11-5), at such time or times as the board of trustees may by regulation prescribe, contributions in the amounts and at the rates specified in the applicable agreement entered into by the board.

†††††††††††††††††† 3.† Every political subdivision or instrumentality required to make payments under paragraph (f)(v)2 of this section is authorized, in consideration of the employees' retention in or entry upon employment after enactment of Articles 1 and 3, to impose upon its employees, as to services that are covered by an approved plan, a contribution with respect to wages (as defined in Section 25-11-5) not exceeding the amount provided in Section 25-11-123(d) if those services constituted employment within the meaning of Articles 1 and 3, and to deduct the amount of the contribution from the wages as and when paid.† Contributions so collected shall be paid into the contribution fund as partial discharge of the liability of the political subdivisions or instrumentalities under paragraph (f)(v)2 of this section.† Failure to deduct the contribution shall not relieve the employee or employer of liability for the contribution.

†††††††††††††††††† 4.† Any state agency, school, political subdivision, instrumentality or any employer that is required to submit contribution payments or wage reports under any section of this chapter shall be assessed interest on delinquent payments or wage reports as determined by the board of trustees in accordance with rules and regulations adopted by the board and delinquent payments, assessed interest and any other amount certified by the board as owed by an employer, may be recovered by action in a court of competent jurisdiction against the reporting agency liable therefor or may, upon due certification of delinquency and at the request of the board of trustees, be deducted from any other monies payable to the reporting agency by any department or agency of the state.

†††††††††††††††††† 5.† Each political subdivision of the state and each instrumentality of the state or a political subdivision or subdivisions that submit a plan for approval of the board, as provided in this section, shall reimburse the board for coverage into the expense account, its pro rata share of the total expense of administering Articles 1 and 3 as provided by regulations of the board.

††††††††† (g)† The board may, in its discretion, deny the right of membership in this system to any class of employees whose compensation is only partly paid by the state or who are occupying positions on a part-time or intermittent basis.† The board may, in its discretion, make optional with employees in any such classes their individual entrance into this system.

††††††††† (h)† An employee whose membership in this system is contingent on his own election, and who elects not to become a member, may thereafter apply for and be admitted to membership; but no such employee shall receive prior service credit unless he becomes a member before July 1, 1953, except as provided in paragraph (b).

††††††††† (i)† If any member of this system changes his employment to any agency of the state having an actuarially funded retirement system, the board of trustees may authorize the transfer of the member's creditable service and of the present value of the member's employer's accumulation account and of the present value of the member's accumulated membership contributions to that other system, provided that the employee agrees to the transfer of his accumulated membership contributions and provided that the other system is authorized to receive and agrees to make the transfer.

†††† If any member of any other actuarially funded system maintained by an agency of the state changes his employment to an agency covered by this system, the board of trustees may authorize the receipt of the transfer of the member's creditable service and of the present value of the member's employer's accumulation account and of the present value of the member's accumulated membership contributions from the other system, provided that the employee agrees to the transfer of his accumulated membership contributions to this system and provided that the other system is authorized and agrees to make the transfer.

††††††††† (j)† Wherever state employment is referred to in this section, it includes joint employment by state and federal agencies of all kinds.

††††††††† (k)† Employees of a political subdivision or instrumentality who were employed by the political subdivision or instrumentality before an agreement between the entity and the Public Employees' Retirement System to extend the benefits of this article to its employees, and which agreement provides for the establishment of retroactive service credit, and who became members of the retirement system before July 1, 2007, and have remained contributors to the retirement system for four (4) years, or who became members of the retirement system on or after July 1, 2007, and have remained contributors to the retirement system for eight (8) years, may receive credit for that retroactive service with the political subdivision or instrumentality, provided that the employee and/or employer, as provided under the terms of the modification of the joinder agreement in allowing that coverage, pay into the retirement system the employer's and employee's contributions on wages paid the member during the previous employment, together with interest or actuarial cost as determined by the board covering the period from the date the service was rendered until the payment for the credit for the service was made.† Those wages shall be verified by the Social Security Administration or employer payroll records.† Effective July 1, 1998, upon eligibility as noted above, a member may receive credit for that retroactive service with the political subdivision or instrumentality provided:

††††††††††††† (i)† The member shall furnish proof satisfactory to the board of trustees of certification of those services from the political subdivision or instrumentality where the services were rendered or verification by the Social Security Administration; and

††††††††††††† (ii)† The member shall pay to the retirement system on the date he or she is eligible for that credit or at any time thereafter before the date of retirement the actuarial cost for each year of that creditable service.† The provisions of this subparagraph (ii) shall be subject to the limitations of Section 415 of the Internal Revenue Code and regulations promulgated under Section 415.

†††† Nothing contained in this paragraph (k) shall be construed to limit the authority of the board to allow the correction of reporting errors or omissions based on the payment of employee and employer contributions plus applicable interest.† Payment for that time shall be made in increments of not less than one-quarter (1/4) year of creditable service beginning with the most recent service.† Upon the payment of all or part of the required contributions, plus interest or the actuarial cost as provided above, the member shall receive credit for the period of creditable service for which full payment has been made to the retirement system.

††††††††† (l)† Through June 30, 1998, any state service eligible for retroactive service credit, no part of which has ever been reported, and requiring the payment of employee and employer contributions plus interest, or, from and after July 1, 1998, any state service eligible for retroactive service credit, no part of which has ever been reported to the retirement system, and requiring the payment of the actuarial cost for that creditable service, may, at the member's option, be purchased in quarterly increments as provided above at the time that its purchase is otherwise allowed.

††††††††† (m)† All rights to purchase retroactive service credit or repay a refund as provided in Section 25-11-101 et seq. shall terminate upon retirement.

II.† THOSE WHO ARE NOT ELIGIBLE FOR MEMBERSHIP

†††† The following classes of employees and officers shall not become members of this retirement system, any other provisions of Articles 1 and 3 to the contrary notwithstanding:

††††††††† (a)† Patient or inmate help in state charitable, penal or correctional institutions;

††††††††† (b)† Students of any state educational institution employed by any agency of the state for temporary, part-time or intermittent work;

††††††††† (c)† Participants of Comprehensive Employment and Training Act of 1973 (CETA) being Public Law 93-203, who enroll on or after July l, 1979;

††††††††† (d)† From and after July 1, 2002, individuals who are employed by a governmental entity to perform professional service on less than a full-time basis who do not meet the criteria established in I(a)(ii) of this section.

III.† TERMINATION OF MEMBERSHIP

†††† Membership in this system shall cease by a member withdrawing his accumulated contributions, or by a member withdrawing from active service with a retirement allowance, or by a member's death.

†††† SECTION 3.† Section 25-11-109, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

†††† 25-11-109.† (1)† Under such rules and regulations as the board of trustees shall adopt, each person who becomes a member of this retirement system, as provided in Section 25-11-105, on or †before July 1, 1953, or who became a member of the system before July 1, 2007, and contributes to the system for a minimum period of four (4) years, or who became a member of the system on or after July 1, 2007, and contributes to the system for a minimum period of eight (8) years, shall receive credit for all state service rendered before February 1, 1953.† To receive that credit, †the member shall file a detailed statement of all services as an employee rendered by him in the state service before February 1, 1953.† For any member who joined the system after July 1, 1953, and before July 1, 2007, any creditable service for which the member is not required to make contributions shall not be credited to the member until the member has contributed to the system for a minimum period of at least four (4) years.† For any member who joined the system on or after July 1, 2007, any creditable service for which the member is not required to make contributions shall not be credited to the member until the member has contributed to the system for a minimum period of at least eight (8) years.

†††† (2)† In the computation of creditable service under the provisions of this article, the total months of accumulative service during any fiscal year shall be calculated in accordance with the schedule as follows:† ten (10) or more months of creditable service during any fiscal year shall constitute a year of creditable service; seven (7) months to nine (9) months inclusive, three-quarters (3/4) of a year of creditable service; four (4) months to six (6) months inclusive, one-half-year of creditable service; one (1) month to three (3) months inclusive, one-quarter (1/4) of a year of creditable service.† In no case shall credit be allowed for any period of absence without compensation except for disability while in receipt of a disability retirement allowance, nor shall less than fifteen (15) days of service in any month, or service less than the equivalent of one-half (1/2) of the normal working load for the position and less than one-half (1/2) of the normal compensation for the position in any month, constitute a month of creditable service, nor shall more than one (1) year of service be creditable for all services rendered in any one (1) fiscal year; however, for a school employee, substantial completion of the legal school term when and where the service was rendered shall constitute a year of service credit * * *.† Any state or local elected official shall be deemed a full-time employee for the purpose of creditable service * * *.† However, an appointed or elected official compensated on a per diem basis only shall not be allowed creditable service for terms of office.

†††† In the computation of any retirement allowance or any annuity or benefits provided in this article, any fractional period of service of less than one (1) year shall be taken into account and a proportionate amount of such retirement allowance, annuity or benefit shall be granted for any such fractional period of service.

†††† In the computation of unused leave for creditable service authorized in Section 25-11-103, the following shall govern: twenty-one (21) days of unused leave shall constitute one (1) month of creditable service and in no case shall credit be allowed for any period of unused leave of less than fifteen (15) days.† The number of months of unused leave shall determine the number of quarters or years of creditable service in accordance with the above schedule for membership and prior service. †In order for the member to receive creditable service for the number of days of unused leave, the system must receive certification from the governing authority.

†††† For the purpose of this subsection, for members of the system who are elected officers and who retire on or after July 1, 1987, the following shall govern:

††††††††† (a)† For service before July 1, 1984, the members shall receive credit for leave (combined personal and major medical) for service as an elected official before that date at the rate of thirty (30) days per year.

††††††††† (b)† For service on and after July 1, 1984, the member shall receive credit for personal and major medical leave beginning July 1, 1984, at the rates authorized in Sections 25-3-93 and 25-3-95, computed as a full-time employee.

†††† (3)† Subject to the above restrictions and to such other rules and regulations as the board may adopt, the board shall verify, as soon as practicable after the filing of such statements of service, the services therein claimed.

†††† (4)† Upon verification of the statement of prior service, the board shall issue a prior service certificate certifying to each member the length of prior service for which credit shall have been allowed on the basis of his statement of service.† So long as membership continues, a prior service certificate shall be final and conclusive for retirement purposes as to such service, provided that any member may within five (5) years from the date of issuance or modification of such certificate request the board of trustees to modify or correct his prior service certificate. Any modification or correction authorized shall only apply prospectively.

†††† When membership ceases, such prior service certificates shall become void.† Should the employee again become a member, he shall enter the system as an employee not entitled to prior service credit except as provided in Sections 25-11-105(I), 25-11-113 and 25-11-117.

†††† (5)† Creditable service at retirement, on which the retirement allowance of a member shall be based, shall consist of the membership service rendered by him since he last became a member, and also, if he has a prior service certificate that is in full force and effect, the amount of the service certified on his prior service certificate.

†††† (6)† Any member who served on active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States, who served in the Commissioned Corps of the United States Public Health Service before 1972 or who served in maritime service during periods of hostility in World War II, shall be entitled to creditable service at no cost for his service on active duty in the Armed Forces, in the Commissioned Corps of the United States Public Health Service before 1972 or in such maritime service, provided he entered state service after his discharge from the Armed Forces or entered state service after he completed such maritime service.† The maximum period for such creditable service for all military service as defined in this subsection (6) shall not exceed four (4) years unless positive proof can be furnished by such person that he was retained in the Armed Forces during World War II or in maritime service during World War II by causes beyond his control and without opportunity of discharge.† The member shall furnish proof satisfactory to the board of trustees of certification of military service or maritime service records showing dates of entrance into active duty service and the date of discharge.† From and after July 1, 1993, no creditable service shall be granted for any military service or maritime service to a member who qualifies for a retirement allowance in another public retirement system administered by the Board of Trustees of the Public Employees' Retirement System based in whole or in part on such military or maritime service.† In no case shall the member receive creditable service if the member received a dishonorable discharge from the Armed Forces of the United States.

†††† (7)† (a)† Any member of the Public Employees' Retirement System whose membership service is interrupted as a result of qualified military service within the meaning of Section 414(u)(5) of the Internal Revenue Code, and who has received the maximum service credit available under subsection (6) of this section, shall receive creditable service for the period of qualified military service that does not qualify as creditable service under subsection (6) of this section upon reentering membership service in an amount not to exceed five (5) years if:

††††††††††††† (i)† The member pays the contributions he would have made to the retirement system if he had remained in membership service for the period of qualified military service based upon his salary at the time his membership service was interrupted;

††††††††††††† (ii)† The member returns to membership service within ninety (90) days of the end of his qualified military service; and

††††††††† †††† (iii)† The employer at the time the member's service was interrupted and to which employment the member returns pays the contributions it would have made into the retirement system for such period based on the member's salary at the time the service was interrupted.

††††††††† (b)† The payments required to be made in paragraph (a)(i) of this subsection may be made over a period beginning with the date of return to membership service and not exceeding three (3) times the member's qualified military service; however, in no event shall such period exceed five (5) years.

††††††††† (c)† The member shall furnish proof satisfactory to the board of trustees of certification of military service showing dates of entrance into qualified service and the date of discharge as well as proof that the member has returned to active employment within the time specified.

†††† (8)† Any member of the Public Employees' Retirement System †who became a member of the system before July 1, 2007, and who has at least four (4) years of membership service credit, or who became a member of the system on or after July 1, 2007, and who has at least eight (8) years of membership service credit, shall be entitled to receive a maximum of five (5) years creditable service for service rendered in another state as a public employee of such other state, or a political subdivision, public education system or other governmental instrumentality thereof, or service rendered as a teacher in American overseas dependent schools conducted by the Armed Forces of the United States for children of citizens of the United States residing in areas outside the continental United States, provided that:

††††††††† (a)† The member shall furnish proof satisfactory to the board of trustees of certification of such services from the state, public education system, political subdivision or retirement system of the state where the services were performed or the governing entity of the American overseas dependent school where the services were performed; and

††††††††† (b)† The member is not receiving or will not be entitled to receive from the public retirement system of the other state or from any other retirement plan, including optional retirement plans, sponsored by the employer, a retirement allowance including such services; and

††††††††† (c)† The member shall pay to the retirement system on the date he or she is eligible for credit for such out-of-state service or at any time thereafter before the date of retirement the actuarial cost as determined by the actuary for each year of out-of-state creditable service.† The provisions of this subsection are subject to the limitations of Section 415 of the Internal Revenue Code and regulations promulgated under that section.

†††† (9)† Any member of the Public Employees' Retirement System who became a member of the system before July 1, 2007, and has at least four (4) years of membership service credit, or who became a member of the system on or after July 1, 2007, and has at least eight (8) years of membership service credit, and who receives, or has received, professional leave without compensation for professional purposes directly related to the employment in state service shall receive creditable service for the period of professional leave without compensation provided:

††††††††† (a)† The professional leave is performed with a public institution or public agency of this state, or another state or federal agency;

††††††††† (b)† The employer approves the professional leave showing the reason for granting the leave and makes a determination that the professional leave will benefit the employee and employer;

††††††††† (c)† Such professional leave shall not exceed two (2) years during any ten-year period of state service;

††††††††† (d)† The employee shall serve the employer on a full-time basis for a period of time equivalent to the professional leave period granted immediately following the termination of the leave period;

††††††††† (e)† The contributing member shall pay to the retirement system the actuarial cost as determined by the actuary for each year of professional leave.† The provisions of this subsection are subject to the regulations of the Internal Revenue Code limitations;

††††††††† (f)† Such other rules and regulations consistent herewith as the board may adopt and in case of question, the board shall have final power to decide the questions.

†††† Any actively contributing member participating in the School Administrator Sabbatical Program established in Section 37-9-77 shall qualify for continued participation under this subsection (9).

†††† (10)† Any member of the Public Employees' Retirement System who became a member of the system before July 1, 2007, and has at least four (4) years of credited membership service, or who became a member of the system on or after July 1, 2007, and has at least eight (8) years of credited membership service, shall be entitled to receive a maximum of ten (10) years creditable service for:

††††††††† (a)† Any service rendered as an employee of any political subdivision of this state, or any instrumentality thereof, that does not participate in the Public Employees' Retirement System; or

††††††††† (b)† Any service rendered as an employee of any political subdivision of this state, or any instrumentality thereof, that participates in the Public Employees' Retirement System but did not elect retroactive coverage; or

††††††††† (c)† Any service rendered as an employee of any political subdivision of this state, or any instrumentality thereof, for which coverage of the employee's position was or is excluded; provided that the member pays into the retirement system the actuarial cost as determined by the actuary for each year, or portion thereof, of such service.† Payment for such service may be made in increments of one-quarter-year of creditable service.† After a member has made full payment to the retirement system for all or any part of such service, the member shall receive creditable service for the period of such service for which full payment has been made to the retirement system.

†††† SECTION 4.† Section 25-11-111, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

†††† 25-11-111.† (a)† (1)† Any member who became a member of the system before July 1, 2007, upon withdrawal from service upon or after attainment of the age of sixty (60) years who has completed at least four (4) years of membership service, or any member upon withdrawal from service regardless of age who has completed at least twenty-five (25) years of creditable service, shall be entitled to receive a retirement allowance, which shall begin on the first of the month following the date the member's application for the allowance is received by the board, but in no event before withdrawal from service.

          (2)  Any member who became a member of the system on or after July 1, 2007, upon withdrawal from service upon or after attainment of the age of sixty (60) years who has completed at least eight (8) years of membership service, or any member who became a member of the system on or after July 1, 2007, upon withdrawal from service regardless of age who has completed at least twenty-five (25) years of creditable service, shall be entitled to receive a retirement allowance, which shall begin on the first of the month following the date the member's application for the allowance is received by the board, but in no event before withdrawal from service.

†††† (b)† (1)† Any member who became a member of the system before July 1, 2007, whose withdrawal from service occurs before attaining the age of sixty (60) years who has completed four (4) or more years of membership service and has not * * * received a refund of his accumulated contributions, shall be entitled to receive a retirement allowance, beginning upon his attaining the age of sixty (60) years, of the amount earned and accrued at the date of withdrawal from service.

         (2)  Any member who became a member of the system on or after July 1, 2007, whose withdrawal from service occurs before attaining the age of sixty (60) years who has completed eight (8) or more years of membership service and has not received a refund of his accumulated contributions, shall be entitled to receive a retirement allowance, beginning upon his attaining the age of sixty (60) years, of the amount earned and accrued at the date of withdrawal from service.

†††† (c)† Any member in service who has qualified for retirement benefits may select any optional method of settlement of retirement benefits by notifying the Executive Director of the Board of Trustees of the Public Employees' Retirement System in writing, on a form prescribed by the board, of the option he has selected and by naming the beneficiary of the option and furnishing necessary proof of age.† The option, once selected, may be changed at any time before actual retirement or death, but upon the death or retirement of the member, the optional settlement shall be placed in effect upon proper notification to the executive director.

†††† (d)† The annual amount of the retirement allowance shall consist of:

††††††††† (1)† A member's annuity, which shall be the actuarial equivalent of the accumulated contributions of the member at the time of retirement computed according to the actuarial table in use by the system; and

††††††††† (2)† An employer's annuity, which, together with the member's annuity provided above, shall be equal to two percent (2%) of the average compensation for each year of * * * service up to and including twenty-five (25) years of creditable service, and two and one-half percent (2-1/2%) of the average compensation for each year of * * * service exceeding twenty-five (25) years of creditable service. * * *

 * * *

††††††††† (3)† Any retired member or beneficiary thereof who was eligible to receive a retirement allowance before July 1, 1991, and who is still receiving a retirement allowance on July 1, 1992, shall receive an increase in the annual retirement allowance of the retired member equal to one-eighth of one percent (1/8 of 1%) of the average compensation for each year of state service in excess of twenty-five (25) years of membership service up to and including thirty (30) years.† The maximum increase shall be five-eighths of one percent (5/8 of 1%).† In no case shall a member who has been retired before July 1, 1987, receive less than Ten Dollars ($10.00) per month for each year of creditable service and proportionately for each quarter year thereof.† Persons retired on or after July 1, 1987, shall receive at least Ten Dollars ($10.00) per month for each year of service and proportionately for each quarter year thereof reduced for the option selected.† However, such Ten Dollars ($10.00) minimum per month for each year of creditable service shall not apply to a retirement allowance computed under Section 25-11-114 based on a percentage of the member's average compensation.

 * * *

†††† (e)† No member, except members excluded by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act Amendments of 1986 (Public Law 99-592), under either Article 1 or Article 3 in state service shall be required to retire because of age.

†††† (f)† No payment on account of any benefit granted under the provisions of this section shall become effective or begin to accrue until January 1, 1953.

†††† (g)† (1)† A retiree or beneficiary may, on a form prescribed by and filed with the retirement system, irrevocably waive all or a portion of any benefits from the retirement system to which the retiree or beneficiary is entitled.† The waiver shall be binding on the heirs and assigns of any retiree or beneficiary and the same must agree to forever hold harmless the Public Employees' Retirement System of Mississippi from any claim to the waived retirement benefits.

††††††††† (2)† Any waiver under this subsection shall apply only to the person executing the waiver.† A beneficiary shall be entitled to benefits according to the option selected by the member at the time of retirement.† However, a beneficiary may, at the option of the beneficiary, execute a waiver of benefits under this subsection.

††††††††† (3)† The retirement system shall retain in the annuity reserve account amounts that are not used to pay benefits because of a waiver executed under this subsection.

††††††††† (4)† The board of trustees may provide rules and regulations for the administration of waivers under this subsection.

†††† SECTION 5.† Section 25-11-113, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

†††† 25-11-113.† (1)† (a)† Upon the application of a member or his employer, any active member in state service who became a member of the system before July 1, 2007, and who has at least four (4) years of membership service credit, or any active member in state service who became a member of the system on or after July 1, 2007, who has at least eight (8) years of membership service credit, may be retired by the board of trustees on the first of the month following the date of filing the application on a disability retirement allowance, but in no event shall the disability retirement allowance begin before termination of state service, provided that the medical board, after an evaluation of medical evidence that may or may not include an actual physical examination by the medical board, certifies that the member is mentally or physically incapacitated for the further performance of duty, that the incapacity is likely to be permanent, and that the member should be retired; however, the board of trustees may accept a disability medical determination from the Social Security Administration in lieu of a certification from the medical board.† For the purposes of disability determination, the medical board shall apply the following definition of disability:† the inability to perform the usual duties of employment or the incapacity to perform such lesser duties, if any, as the employer, in its discretion, may assign without material reduction in compensation, or the incapacity to perform the duties of any employment covered by the Public Employees' Retirement System (Section 25-11-101 et seq.) that is actually offered and is within the same general territorial work area, without material reduction in compensation. The employer shall be required to furnish the job description and duties of the member.† The employer shall further certify whether the employer has offered the member other duties and has complied with the applicable provisions of the Americans With Disabilities Act in affording reasonable accommodations that would allow the employee to continue employment.

††††††††† (b)† Any inactive member who became a member of the system before July 1, 2007, with four (4) or more years of membership service credit, or any inactive member who became a member of the system on or after July 1, 2007, with eight (8) or more years of membership service credit, who has withdrawn from active state service, is not eligible for a disability retirement allowance unless the disability occurs within six (6) months of the termination of active service and unless satisfactory proof is presented to the board of trustees that the disability was the direct cause of withdrawal from state service.

††††††††† (c)† Any member who is or becomes eligible for service retirement benefits under Section 25-11-111 while pursuing a disability retirement allowance under this section or Section 25-11-114 may elect to receive a service retirement allowance pending a final determination on eligibility for a disability retirement allowance or withdrawal of the application for the disability retirement allowance.† In such a case, an application for a disability retirement allowance must be on file with the system before the beginning of a service retirement allowance.† If the application is approved, the option selected and beneficiary designated on the retirement application shall be used to determine the disability retirement allowance.† If the application is not approved or if the application is withdrawn, the service retirement allowance shall continue to be paid in accordance with the option selected.† No person may apply for a disability retirement allowance after the person begins to receive a service retirement allowance.

††††††††† (d)† If the medical board certifies that the member is not mentally or physically incapacitated for the future performance of duty, the member may request, within sixty (60) days, a hearing before the hearing officer as provided in Section 25-11-120.† All hearings shall be held in accordance with rules and regulations adopted by the board to govern those hearings.† †The hearing may be closed upon the request of the member.

††††††††† (e)† The medical board may request additional medical evidence and/or other physicians to conduct an evaluation of the member's condition.† If the medical board requests additional medical evidence and the member refuses the request, the application shall be considered void.

†††† (2)† Allowance on disability retirement.

††††††††† (a)† Upon retirement for disability, an eligible member shall receive a retirement allowance if he has attained the age of sixty (60) years.

††††††††† (b)† Except as provided in paragraph (c) of this subsection (2), an eligible member who is retired for disability and who has not attained sixty (60) years of age shall receive a disability benefit as computed in Section 25-11-111(d)(1) through (d)(4), which shall consist of:

††††††††††††† (i)† A member's annuity, which shall be the actuarial equivalent of his accumulated contributions at the time of retirement; and

††††††††††††† (ii)† An employer's annuity equal to the amount that would have been payable as a retirement allowance for †eligible creditable service if the member had continued in service to the age of sixty (60) years, which shall apply to the allowance for disability retirement paid to retirees receiving such allowance upon and after April 12, 1977.† This employer's annuity shall be computed on the basis of the average "earned compensation" as defined in Section 25-11-103.

††††††††† (c)† For persons who become members after June 30, 1992, and for active members on June 30, 1992, who elect benefits under this paragraph (c) instead of those provided under paragraph (b) of this subsection (2), the disability allowance shall consist of two (2) parts:† a temporary allowance and a deferred allowance.

†††† The temporary allowance shall equal the greater of (i) forty percent (40%) of average compensation at the time of disability, plus ten percent (10%) of average compensation for each of the first two (2) dependent children, as defined in Sections 25-11-103 and 25-11-114, or (ii) the accrued benefit based on actual service.† It shall be payable for a period of time based on the member's age at disability, as follows:

†††† Age at Disability†††††††††††††††††††† Duration

†††† †60 and earlier†††††††††††††††††† ††† to age 65

††††††††† †61††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††† to age 66

††††††††† †62††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††† to age 66

††††††††† †63††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††† to age 67

††††††††† †64††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††† to age 67

††††††††† †65††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††† to age 68

††††††††† †66††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††† to age 68

††††††††† †67††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††† to age 69

††††††††† †68††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††† to age 70

†††† † 69 and over†††††††††††††††††††††††† one year

†††† The deferred allowance shall begin when the temporary allowance ends and shall be payable for life.† The deferred allowance shall equal the greater of (i) the allowance that would have been payable had the member continued in service to the termination age of the temporary allowance, but no more than forty percent (40%) of average compensation, or (ii) the accrued benefit based on actual service at the time of disability.† The deferred allowance as determined at the time of disability shall be adjusted in accordance with Section 25-11-112 for the period during which the temporary annuity is payable.† In no case shall a member receive less than Ten Dollars ($10.00) per month for each year of service and proportionately for each quarter year thereof reduced for the option selected.

††††††††† (d) †The member may elect to receive the actuarial equivalent of the disability retirement allowance in a reduced allowance payable throughout life under any of the provisions of the options provided under Section 25-11-115.

††††††††† (e)† If a disability retiree who has not selected an option under Section 25-11-115 dies before being repaid in disability benefits the sum of his total contributions, then his named beneficiary shall receive the difference in cash, which shall apply to all deceased disability retirees from and after January 1, 1953.

†††† (3)† Reexamination of retirees retired on account of disability.† Except as otherwise provided in this section, once each year during the first five (5) years following retirement of a member on a disability retirement allowance, and once in every period of three (3) years thereafter, the board of trustees may, and upon his application shall, require any disability retiree who has not yet attained the age of sixty (60) years or the termination age of the temporary allowance under subsection (2)(c) of this section to undergo a medical examination, the examination to be made at the place of residence of the retiree or other place mutually agreed upon by a physician or physicians designated by the board.† The board, however, in its discretion, may authorize the medical board to establish reexamination schedules appropriate to the medical condition of individual disability retirees.† If any disability retiree who has not yet attained the age of sixty (60) years or the termination age of the temporary allowance under subsection (2)(c) of this section refuses to submit to any medical examination provided in this section, his allowance may be discontinued until his withdrawal of that refusal; and if his refusal continues for one (1) year, all his rights to a disability benefit shall be revoked by the board of trustees.

†††† (4)† If the medical board reports and certifies to the board of trustees, after a comparable job analysis or other similar study, that the disability retiree is engaged in, or is able to engage in, a gainful occupation paying more than the difference between his disability allowance, exclusive of cost of living adjustments, and the average compensation, and if the board of trustees concurs in the report, the disability benefit shall be reduced to an amount that, together with the amount earnable by him, equals the amount of his average compensation.† If his earning capacity is later changed, the amount of the benefit may be further modified, provided that the revised benefit shall not exceed the amount originally granted.† A retiree receiving a disability benefit who is restored to active service at a salary less than the average compensation shall not become a member of the retirement system.

†††† (5)† If a disability retiree under the age of sixty (60) years or the termination age of the temporary allowance under subsection (2)(c) of this section is restored to active service at a compensation not less than his average compensation, his disability benefit shall end, he shall again become a member of the retirement system, and contributions shall be withheld and reported.† Any such prior service certificate, on the basis of which his service was computed at the time of retirement, shall be restored to full force and effect.† In addition, upon his later retirement he shall be credited with all creditable service as a member, but the total retirement allowance paid to the retired member in his previous retirement shall be deducted from his retirement reserve and taken into consideration in recalculating the retirement allowance under a new option selected.

†††† (6)† If following reexamination in accordance with the provisions contained in this section, the medical board determines that a retiree retired on account of disability is physically and mentally able to return to the employment from which he is retired, the board of trustees, upon certification of those findings from the medical board, shall, after a reasonable period of time, terminate the disability allowance, whether or not the retiree is reemployed or seeks that reemployment.† In addition, if the board of trustees determines that the retiree is no longer sustaining a loss of income as established by documented evidence of the retiree's earned income, the eligibility for a disability allowance shall terminate and the allowance terminated within a reasonable period of time.† If the retirement allowance is terminated under the provisions of this section, the retiree may †later qualify for a retirement allowance under Section 25-11-111 based on actual years of service credit plus credit for the period during which a disability allowance was paid.

†††† (7)† Any current member as of June 30, 1992, who retires on a disability retirement allowance after June 30, 1992, and who has not elected to receive benefits under subsection (2)(c) of this section, shall relinquish all rights under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, as amended, with regard to the benefits payable under this section.

†††† SECTION 6.† Section 25-11-114, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

†††† 25-11-114.† (1)† The applicable benefits provided in subsections (2) and (3) of this section shall be paid to eligible beneficiaries of any member who became a member of the system before July 1, 2007, and has completed four (4) or more years of †membership service, or who became a member of the system on or after July 1, 2007, and has completed eight (8) or more years of membership service, and who dies before retirement and who has not filed a Pre-Retirement Optional Retirement Form as provided in Section 25-11-111.

†††† (2)† (a)† The member's surviving spouse who has been married to the member for not less than one (1) year immediately preceding his death shall receive an annuity computed in accordance with paragraph (d) of this subsection (2) as if the member:

††††††††††††† (i)† Had retired on the date of his death with entitlement to an annuity provided for in Section 25-11-111, notwithstanding that he might not have attained age sixty (60) or acquired twenty-five (25) years of creditable service;

††††††††††††† (ii)† Had nominated his spouse as beneficiary; and

††††††††† (b)† If, at the time of the member's death, there are no dependent children, and the surviving spouse, who otherwise would receive the annuity under this subsection (2), has filed with the system a signed written waiver of his or her rights to the annuity and that waiver was in effect at the time of the member's death, a lump sum distribution of the deceased member's accumulated contributions shall be refunded in accordance with Section 25-11-117.

††††††††† (c)† The spouse annuity shall begin on the first day of the month following the date of the member's death, but in case of late filing, retroactive payments will be made for a period of not more than one (1) year.

††††††††† (d)† The spouse annuity shall be payable for life and shall be the greater of twenty percent (20%) of the deceased member's average compensation as defined in Section 25-11-103 at the time of death or Fifty Dollars ($50.00) monthly.† Surviving spouses of deceased members who previously received spouse retirement benefits under this paragraph (d) from and after July 1, 1992, and whose benefits were terminated before July 1, 2004, because of remarriage, may again receive the retirement benefits authorized under this paragraph (d) by making application with the board to reinstate those benefits.† Any reinstatement of the benefits shall be prospective only and shall begin after the first of the month following the date of the application for reinstatement, but no earlier than July 1, 2004.

††††††††† (e)† However, the spouse may elect by an irrevocable agreement on a form prescribed by the board of trustees to receive a monthly allowance as computed under either paragraph (d) or this paragraph.† The irrevocable agreement shall constitute a waiver by the spouse to any current and future monthly allowance under the paragraph not elected, and the waiver shall be a complete and full discharge of all obligations of the retirement system under that paragraph.

†††† Any member who has completed the requisite minimum number of years of membership service to qualify for a retirement allowance at age sixty (60)and who dies before retirement and leaves a spouse who has been married to the member for not less than one (1) year immediately preceding his death and has not exercised any other option shall be deemed to have exercised Option 2 under Section 25-11-115 for the benefit of his spouse, which spouse shall be paid Option 2 settlement benefits under this article beginning on the first of the month following the date of death, but in case of late filing, retroactive payments will be made for a period of not more than one (1) year.† The method of calculating the retirement benefits shall be on the same basis as provided in Section 25-11-111(d).† However, if the member dies before being qualified for full unreduced benefits, then the benefits shall be reduced by three percent (3%) per year for the lesser of either the years of service or age required for full unreduced benefits in Section 25-11-111(d).

†††† (3)† (a)† Subject to the maximum limitation provided in this paragraph, the member's dependent children each shall receive an annuity of the greater of ten percent (10%) of the member's average compensation as defined in Section 25-11-103 at the time of the death of the member or Fifty Dollars ($50.00) monthly; however, if there are more than three (3) dependent children, each dependent child shall receive an equal share of a total annuity equal to thirty percent (30%) of the member's average compensation, provided that the total annuity shall not be less than One Hundred Fifty Dollars ($150.00) per month for all children.

††††††††† (b)† A child shall be considered to be a dependent child until marriage, or the attainment of age nineteen (19), whichever comes first; however, this age limitation shall be extended beyond age nineteen (19), but in no event beyond the attainment of age twenty-three (23), as long as the child is a student regularly pursuing a full-time course of resident study or training in an accredited high school, trade school, technical or vocational institute, junior or community college, college, university or comparable recognized educational institution duly licensed by a state.† A student child whose birthday falls during the school year (September 1 through June 30) is considered not to reach age twenty-three (23) until the July 1 following the actual twenty-third birthday.† A full-time course of resident study or training means a day or evening noncorrespondence course that includes school attendance at the rate of at least thirty-six (36) weeks per academic year or other applicable period with a subject load sufficient, if successfully completed, to attain the educational or training objective within the period generally accepted as minimum for completion, by a full-time day student, of the academic or training program concerned.† Any child who is physically or mentally incompetent, as adjudged by either a Mississippi court of competent jurisdiction or by the board, shall receive benefits for as long as the incompetency exists.

††††††††† (c)† If there are more than three (3) dependent children, upon a child's ceasing to be a dependent child, his annuity shall terminate and there shall be a redetermination of the amounts payable to any remaining dependent children.

††††††††† (d)† Annuities payable under this subsection (3) shall begin the first day of the month following the date of the member's death or in case of late filing, retroactive payments will be made for a period of not more than one (1) year.† Those benefits may be paid to a surviving parent or the lawful custodian of a dependent child for the use and benefit of the child without the necessity of appointment as guardian.

†††† (4)† (a)† Death benefits in the line of duty.† Regardless of the number of years of the member's creditable service, the spouse and/or the dependent children of an active member who is killed in the line of performance of duty or dies as a direct result of an accident occurring in the line of performance of duty shall qualify, on approval of the board, for a retirement allowance on the first of the month following the date of death, but in the case of late filing, retroactive payments will be made for a period of not more than one (1) year.† The spouse shall receive a retirement allowance for life equal to one-half (1/2) of the average compensation as defined in Section 25-11-103.† In addition to the retirement allowance for the spouse, or if there is no surviving spouse, the member's dependent child shall receive a retirement allowance in the amount of one-fourth (1/4) of the member's average compensation as defined in Section 25-11-103; however, if there are two (2) or more dependent children, each dependent child shall receive an equal share of a total annuity equal to one-half (1/2) of the member's average compensation.† If there are more than two (2) dependent children, upon a child's ceasing to be a dependent child, his annuity shall terminate and there shall be a redetermination of the amounts payable to any remaining dependent children.† Those benefits shall cease to be paid for the support and maintenance of each child upon the child attaining the age of nineteen (19) years; however, the spouse shall continue to be eligible for the aforesaid retirement allowance.† Those benefits may be paid to a surviving parent or lawful custodian of the children for the use and benefit of the children without the necessity of appointment as guardian.† Any spouse who received spouse retirement benefits under this paragraph (a) from and after April 4, 1984, and whose benefits were terminated before July 1, 2004, because of remarriage, may again receive the retirement benefits authorized under this paragraph (a) by making application with the board to reinstate those benefits.† Any reinstatement of the benefits shall be prospective only and shall begin after the first of the month following the date of the application for reinstatement, but not earlier than July 1, 2004.

††††††††† (b)† A child shall be considered to be a dependent child until marriage, or the attainment of age nineteen (19), whichever comes first; however, this age limitation shall be extended beyond age nineteen (19), but in no event beyond the attainment of age twenty-three (23), as long as the child is a student regularly pursuing a full-time course of resident study or training in an accredited high school, trade school, technical or vocational institute, junior or community college, college, university or comparable recognized educational institution duly licensed by a state.† A student child whose birthday falls during the school year (September 1 through June 30) is considered not to reach age twenty-three (23) until the July 1 following the actual twenty-third birthday.† A full-time course of resident study or training means a day or evening noncorrespondence course that includes school attendance at the rate of at least thirty-six (36) weeks per academic year or other applicable period with a subject load sufficient, if successfully completed, to attain the educational or training objective within the period generally accepted as minimum for completion, by a full-time day student, of the academic or training program concerned.† Any child who is physically or mentally incompetent, as adjudged by either a Mississippi court of competent jurisdiction or by the board, shall receive benefits for as long as the incompetency exists.

†††† (5)† If all the annuities provided for in this section payable on account of the death of a member terminate before there has been paid an aggregate amount equal to the member's accumulated contributions standing to the member's credit in the annuity savings account at the time of the member's death, the difference between the accumulated contributions and the aggregate amount of annuity payments shall be paid to the person that the member has nominated by written designation duly executed and filed with the board.† If there is no designated beneficiary surviving at termination of benefits, the difference shall be payable under Section 25-11-117.1(1).

†††† (6)† Regardless of the number of years of creditable service upon the application of a member or employer, any active member who becomes disabled as a direct result of an accident or traumatic event resulting in a physical injury occurring in the line of performance of duty, provided that the medical board or other designated governmental agency after a medical examination certifies that the member is mentally or physically incapacitated for the further performance of duty and the incapacity is likely to be permanent, may be retired by the board of trustees on the first of the month following the date of filing the application but in no event shall the retirement allowance begin before the termination of state service.† The retirement allowance shall equal the allowance on disability retirement as provided in Section 25-11-113 but shall not be less than fifty percent (50%) of average compensation.

†††† Permanent and total disability resulting from a cardiovascular, pulmonary or musculo-skeletal condition that was not a direct result of a traumatic event occurring in the performance of duty shall be deemed an ordinary disability.† A mental disability based exclusively on employment duties occurring on an ongoing basis shall be deemed an ordinary disability.

†††† (7)† If the deceased or disabled member has less than four (4) years of membership service, the average compensation as defined in Section 25-11-103 shall be the average of all annual earned compensation in state service for the purposes of benefits provided in this section.

†††† (8)† In case of death or total and permanent disability under subsection (4) or subsection (6) of this section and before the board shall consider any application for a retirement allowance, the employer must certify to the board that the member's death or disability was a direct result of an accident or a traumatic event occurring during and as a result of the performance of the regular and assigned duties of the employee and that the death or disability was not the result of the willful negligence of the employee.

†††† (9)† The application for the retirement allowance must be filed within one (1) year after death of an active member who is killed in the line of performance of duty or dies as a direct result of an accident occurring in the line of performance of duty or traumatic event; but the board of trustees may consider an application for disability filed after the one-year period if it can be factually demonstrated to the satisfaction of the board of trustees that the disability is due to the accident and that the filing was not accomplished within the one-year period due to a delayed manifestation of the disability or to circumstances beyond the control of the member.† However, in case of late filing, retroactive payments will be made for a period of not more than one (1) year only.

†††† (10)† Notwithstanding any other section of this article and in lieu of any payments to a designated beneficiary for a refund of contributions under Section 25-11-117, the spouse and/or children shall be eligible for the benefits payable under this section, and the spouse may elect, for both the spouse and/or children, to receive benefits in accordance with either subsections (2) and (3) or subsection (4) of this section; otherwise, the contributions to the credit of the deceased member shall be refunded in accordance with Section 25-11-117.

†††† (11)† If the member has previously received benefits from the system to which he was not entitled and has not repaid in full all amounts payable by him to the system, the annuity amounts otherwise provided by this section shall be withheld and used to effect repayment until the total of the withholdings repays in full all amounts payable by him to the system.

†††† SECTION 7.† Section 25-11-115, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

†††† 25-11-115.† (1)† Upon application for superannuation or disability retirement, any member may elect to receive his benefit in a retirement allowance payable throughout life with no further payments to anyone at his death, except that if his total retirement payments under this article do not equal his total contributions under this article, his named beneficiary shall receive the difference in cash at his death.† Or he may elect upon retirement, or upon becoming eligible for retirement, to receive the actuarial equivalent subject to the provisions of subsection (3) of this section of his retirement allowance in a reduced retirement allowance payable throughout life with the provision that:

†††† Option 1.† If he dies before he has received in annuity payment the value of the member's annuity savings account as it was at the time of his retirement, the balance shall be paid to his legal representative or to such person as he has nominated by written designation duly acknowledged and filed with the board; * * *

†††† Option 2.† Upon his death, his reduced retirement allowance shall be continued throughout the life of, and paid to, such person as he has nominated by written designation duly acknowledged and filed with the board of trustees at the time of his retirement;

†††† Option 3.† Upon his death, one-half (1/2) of his reduced retirement allowance shall be continued throughout the life of, and paid to, such person as he has nominated by written designation duly acknowledged and filed with the board of trustees at the time of his retirement, and the other one-half (1/2) of his reduced retirement allowance to some other designated beneficiary;

†††† Option 4-A.† Upon his death, one-half (1/2) of his reduced retirement allowance, or such other specified amount, shall be continued throughout the life of, and paid to, such person as he †has nominated by written designation duly acknowledged and filed with the board of trustees at the time of his retirement; * * *

†††† Option 4-B.† A reduced retirement allowance shall be continued throughout the life of the retirant, but with the further guarantee of payments to the named beneficiary, beneficiaries or to the estate for a specified number of years certain.† If the retired member or the last designated beneficiary receiving annuity payments dies before receiving all guaranteed payments due, the actuarial equivalent of the remaining payments shall be paid under Section 25-11-117.1(1);

 * * *

†††† Option 6.† Any member who became a member of the system before July 1, 2007, and whohas at least twenty-eight (28) years of creditable service at the time of retirement or who is at least sixty-three (63) years of age and eligible to retire, may select the maximum retirement benefit or an optional benefit as provided in this subsection together with a partial lump-sum distribution.† Any member who became a member of the system on or after July 1, 2007, and who has at least twenty-eight (28) years of creditable service at the time of retirement may select the maximum retirement benefit or any optional benefit as provided in this subsection together with a partial lump-sum distribution.† The amount of the lump-sum distribution under this option shall be equal to the maximum monthly benefit multiplied by twelve (12), twenty-four (24) or thirty-six (36) as selected by the member.† The maximum retirement benefit shall be actuarially reduced to reflect the amount of the lump-sum distribution selected and further reduced for any other optional benefit selected.† The annuity and lump-sum distribution shall be computed to result in no actuarial loss to the system.† The lump-sum distribution shall be made as a single payment payable at the time the first monthly annuity payment is paid to the retiree.† The amount of the lump-sum distribution shall be deducted from the member's annuity savings account in computing what contributions remain at the death of the retiree and/or a beneficiary.† The lump-sum distribution option may be elected only once by a member upon initial retirement, and may not be elected by a retiree, by members applying for a disability retirement annuity, or by survivors * * *.

†††† (2)† No change in the option selected shall be permitted after the member's death or after the member has received his first retirement check except as provided in subsections (3) and (4) of this section and in Section 25-11-127.† Members who are pursuing a disability retirement allowance and simultaneously or †later elect to begin to receive a service retirement allowance while continuing to pursue a disability retirement allowance, shall not be eligible to select * * * Option 6 and that option may not be selected at a later time if the application for a disability retirement allowance is voided or denied.† However, any retired member who is receiving a retirement allowance under Option 2 or Option 4-A upon July 1, 1992, and whose designated beneficiary predeceased him or whose marriage to a spouse who is his designated beneficiary is terminated by divorce or other dissolution, upon written notification to the retirement system of the death of the designated beneficiary or of the termination of his marriage to his designated beneficiary, the retirement allowance payable to the member after receipt of that notification by the retirement system shall be equal to the retirement allowance that would have been payable if the member had not elected the option.† In addition, any retired member who is receiving the maximum retirement allowance for life, a retirement allowance under Option 1 or who is receiving a retirement allowance under Option 2 or Option 4-A on July 1, 1992, may elect to provide survivor benefits under Option 2 or Option 4-A to a spouse who was not previously the member's beneficiary and whom the member married before July 1, 1992.

†††† (3)† Any retired member who is receiving a reduced retirement allowance under Option 2 or Option 4-A whose designated beneficiary predeceases him, or whose marriage to a spouse who is his designated beneficiary is terminated by divorce or other dissolution, may elect to cancel his reduced retirement allowance and receive the maximum retirement allowance for life in an amount equal to the amount that would have been payable if the member had not elected Option 2 or Option 4-A.† That election must be made in writing to the office of the executive director of the system on a form prescribed by the board.† Any such election shall be effective the first of the month following the date the election is received by the system.

†††† (4)† Any retired member who is receiving the maximum retirement allowance for life, or a retirement allowance under Option 1, and who marries after his retirement may elect to cancel his maximum retirement allowance and receive a reduced retirement allowance under Option 2 or Option 4-A to provide continuing lifetime benefits to his spouse.† That election must be made in writing to the office of the executive director of the system on a form prescribed by the board not earlier than the date of the marriage.† Any such election shall be effective the first of the month following the date the election is received by the system.

†††† (5)† If the election of an optional benefit is made after the member has attained the age of sixty-five (65) years, the actuarial equivalent factor shall be used to compute the reduced retirement allowance as if the election had been made on his sixty-fifth birthday; however, from and after January 1, 2003, if there is an election of Option 6 after the member has attained the age of sixty-five (65) years, the actuarial equivalent factor based on the retiree's age at the time of retirement shall be used to compute the reduced maximum monthly retirement allowance.† However, if a retiree marries or remarries after retirement and elects either Option 2 or Option 4-A as provided in subsection (2) or (4) of this section, the actuarial equivalent factor used to compute the reduced retirement allowance shall be the factor for the age of the retiree and his or her beneficiary at the time such election for recalculation of benefits is made.

†††† (6)† Notwithstanding any provision of Section 25-11-1 et seq., no payments may be made for a retirement allowance on a monthly basis for a period of time in excess of that allowed by federal law.

†††† (7)† If a retirant and his eligible beneficiary, if any, both die before they have received in annuity payments a total amount equal to the accumulated contributions standing to the retirant's credit in the annuity savings account at the time of his retirement, the difference between the accumulated contributions and the total amount of annuities received by them shall be paid to such persons as the retirant has nominated by written designation duly executed and filed in the office of the executive director.† If no designated person survives the retirant and his beneficiary, the difference, if any, shall be paid under Section 25-11-117.1(1).

†††† (8)† Any retired member who retired on Option 2(5) or 4-A(5) †before July 1, 1992, who is still receiving a retirement allowance on July 1, 1994, shall receive an increase in the annual retirement allowance effective July 1, 1994, equal to the amount they would have received under Option 2 or Option 4-A without a reduction for Option 5 based on the ages at retirement of the retiree and beneficiary and option factors in effect on July 1, 1992.† That increase shall be prospective only.

†††† SECTION 8.† Section 25-11-117, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

†††† 25-11-117.† (1)† A member may be paid a refund of the amount of accumulated contributions to the credit of the member in the annuity savings account, provided that the member has withdrawn from state service and has not returned to state service on the date the refund of the accumulated contributions would be paid.† That refund of the contributions to the credit of the member in the annuity savings account shall be paid within ninety (90) days from receipt in the office of the retirement system of the properly completed form requesting the payment.† In the event of death before retirement of any member whose spouse and/or children are not entitled to a retirement allowance, the accumulated contributions to the credit of the deceased member in the annuity savings account shall be paid to the designated beneficiary on file in writing in the office of the executive director of the board of trustees within ninety (90) days from receipt of a properly completed form requesting the payment.† If there is no such designated beneficiary on file for the deceased member in the office of the system, upon the filing of a proper request with the board, the contributions to the credit of the deceased member in the annuity savings account shall be refunded under Section 25-11-117.1(1).† The payment of the refund shall discharge all obligations of the retirement system to the member on account of any creditable service rendered by the member before the receipt of the refund.† By the acceptance of the refund, the member shall waive and relinquish all accrued rights in the system.

†††† (2)† Under the Unemployment Compensation Amendments of 1992 (Public Law 102-318 (UCA)), a member or the spouse of a member who is an eligible beneficiary entitled to a refund under this section may elect, on a form prescribed by the board under rules and regulations established by the board, to have an eligible rollover distribution of accumulated contributions payable under this section paid directly to an eligible retirement plan, as defined under applicable federal law, or an individual retirement account.† If the member or the spouse of a member who is an eligible beneficiary makes that election and specifies the eligible retirement plan or individual retirement account to which the distribution is to be paid, the distribution will be made in the form of a direct trustee-to-trustee transfer to the specified eligible retirement plan.† Flexible rollovers under this subsection shall not be considered assignments under Section 25-11-129.

†††† (3)† (a)† If any person who became a member of the system before July 1, 2007, has received a refund reenters the state service and again becomes a member of the system, the member may repay all or part of the amounts previously received as a refund, together with regular interest covering the period from the date of refund to the date of repayment; however, the amounts that are repaid by the member and the creditable service related thereto shall not be used in any benefit calculation or determination until the member has remained a contributor to the system for a period of at least four (4) years after the member's reentry into state service.† Repayment for that time shall be made in increments of not less than one-quarter (1/4) year of creditable service beginning with the most recent service for which refund has been made.† Upon the repayment of all or part of that refund and interest, the member shall again receive credit for the period of creditable service for which full repayment has been made to the system.

††††††††† (b)  If any person who became a member of the system on or after July 1, 2007, has received a refund reenters the state service and again becomes a member of the system, the member may repay all or part of the amounts previously received as a refund, together with regular interest covering the period from the date of refund to the date of repayment; however, the amounts that are repaid by the member and the creditable service related thereto shall not be used in any benefit calculation or determination until the member has remained a contributor to the system for a period of at least eight (8) years after the member's reentry into state service.  Repayment for that time shall be made in increments of not less than one-quarter (1/4) year of creditable service beginning with the most recent service for which refund has been made.  Upon the repayment of all or part of that refund and interest, the member shall again receive credit for the period of creditable service for which full repayment has been made to the system.

†††† (4)† (a)† In order to provide a source of income to members who have applied for disability benefits under Section 25-11-113 or 25-11-114, the board may provide, at the employee's election, a temporary benefit to be paid from the member's accumulated contributions, if any, without forfeiting the right to pursue disability benefits, provided that the member has exhausted all personal and medical leave and has terminated his or her employment.† The board may prescribe rules and regulations for carrying out the provisions of this subsection (4).

††††††††† (b)† If a member who has elected to receive temporary benefits under this subsection later applies for a refund of his or her accumulated contributions, all amounts paid under this subsection shall be deducted from the accumulated contributions and the balance will be paid to the member.† If a member who has elected to receive temporary benefits under this subsection is later approved for a disability retirement allowance, and a service retirement allowance or survivor benefits are paid on the account, the board shall adjust the benefits in such a manner that no more than the actuarial equivalent of the benefits to which the member or beneficiary was or is entitled shall be paid.

††††††††† (c)† The board may study, develop and propose a disability benefit structure, including short and long term disability benefits, provided that it is the actuarial equivalent of the benefits currently provided in Section 25-11-113 or 25-11-114.

†††† SECTION 9.† Section 25-11-311, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

†††† 25-11-311.† (1)† A member may be paid a refund of the amount of accumulated contributions to the credit of the member in the annuity savings account, provided the member has withdrawn from state service and further provided the member has not returned to state service on the date the refund of the accumulated contributions would be paid.† The refund of the contributions to the credit of the member in the annuity savings account shall be paid within ninety (90) days from receipt in the office of the retirement system of the properly completed form requesting that payment.† In the event of death before retirement of any member whose spouse and/or children are not entitled to a retirement allowance, the accumulated contributions to the credit of the deceased member in the annuity savings account shall be paid to the designated beneficiary on file in writing in the office of executive secretary of the board of trustees within ninety (90) days from receipt of a properly completed form requesting that payment.† If there is no such designated beneficiary on file for †the deceased member in the office of the system, upon the filing of a proper request with the board, the contributions to the credit of the deceased member in the annuity savings account shall be refunded under Section 25-11-311.1(1).† The payment of the refund shall discharge all obligations of the retirement system to the member on account of any creditable service rendered by the member before the receipt of the refund.† By the acceptance of the refund, the member shall waive and relinquish all accrued rights in the plan.

†††† (2)† Under the Unemployment Compensation Amendments of 1992 (Public Law 102-318 (USCS)), a member or eligible beneficiary making application for a refund under this section may elect, on a form prescribed by the board under rules and regulations established by the board, to have an eligible rollover distribution of accumulated contributions payable under this section paid directly to an eligible retirement plan, as defined under applicable federal law, or an individual retirement account.† If the member or eligible beneficiary makes that election and specifies the eligible retirement plan or individual retirement account to which the distribution is to be paid, the distribution will be made in the form of a direct trustee-to-trustee transfer to the specified eligible retirement plan.† Flexible rollovers under this subsection shall not be considered assignments under Section 25-11-129.

†††† (3)† (a)† If any person who became a member of the system before July 1, 2007, has received a refund is reelected to the Legislature or as President of the Senate and again becomes a member of the plan, the member may repay all or part of the amounts previously received as a refund, together with regular interest covering the period from the date of refund to the date of repayment; however, the amounts that are repaid by the member and the creditable service related thereto shall not be used in any benefit calculation or determination until the member has remained a contributor to the system for a period of at least four (4) years after the member's reentry into state service.† Repayment for that time shall be made in increments of not less than one-quarter (1/4) year of creditable service beginning with the most recent service for which refund has been made.† Upon the repayment of all or part of that refund and interest, the member shall again receive credit for the period of creditable service for which full repayment has been made to the system.

††††††††† (b)† If any person who became a member of the system on or after July l, 2007, has received a refund reenters the state service and again becomes a member of the system, the member may repay all or part of the amount previously received as a refund, together with regular interest covering the period from the date of refund to the date of repayment; however, the amounts that are repaid by the member and the creditable service related thereto shall not be used in any benefit calculation or determination until the member has remained a contributor to the system for a period of at least eight (8) years after the memberís reentry into state service.† Repayment for that time shall be made in increments of not less than one-quarter (1/4) year of creditable service beginning with the most recent service for which refund has been made.† Upon the repayment of all or part of that refund and interest, the member shall again receive credit for the period of creditable service for which full repayment has been made to the system.

†††† SECTION 10.† Section 25-11-315, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

†††† 25-11-315.† (1)† Any member of the State Legislature or the President of the Senate who becomes a member of the plan on July 1, 1989, shall be eligible for prior service as a member of the State Legislature or as President of the Senate.† Each member shall submit to the board a verification of prior service as a member of the State Legislature or as President of the Senate. Upon receipt of that prior service statement, the board shall issue a prior service certificate certifying to each member the length of prior service for which credit has been allowed on the basis of the statement of service.† Additional prior service regulations in force shall be those found in Section 25-11-101 et seq.

†††† (2)† (a)† Any member of the State Legislature or the President of the Senate who becomes a member of this plan after July 1, 1989, but before July 1, 2007,shall not be allowed prior service unless the member serves as a member of the State Legislature or as President of the Senate for a minimum of four (4) years and contributes to the plan for a minimum period of four (4) years.

††††††††† (b)† Any member of the State Legislature or the President of the Senate who becomes a member of this plan on or after July 1, 2007, shall not be allowed prior service unless the member serves as a member of the State Legislature or as President of the Senate for a minimum of eight (8) years and contributes to the plan for a minimum period of eight (8) years.

†††† SECTION 11.† Section 25-11-123, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

†††† 25-11-123.† All of the assets of the system shall be credited according to the purpose for which they are held to one (1) of four (4) reserves; namely, the annuity savings account, the annuity reserve, the employer's accumulation account, and the expense account.

†††† (a)† Annuity savings account.† In the annuity savings account shall be accumulated the contributions made by members to provide for their annuities, including interest thereon which shall be posted monthly.† Credits to and charges against the annuity savings account shall be made as follows:

††††††††† (1)† Beginning July 1, 1991, the employer shall cause to be deducted from the salary of each member on each and every payroll of the employer for each and every payroll period seven and one-fourth percent (7-1/4%) of earned compensation as defined in Section 25-11-103.† Future contributions shall be fixed biennially by the board on the basis of the liabilities of the retirement system for the various allowances and benefits as shown by actuarial valuation; however, any member earning at a rate less than Sixteen Dollars and Sixty-seven Cents ($16.67) per month, or Two Hundred Dollars ($200.00) per year, shall contribute not less than One Dollar ($1.00) per month, or Twelve Dollars ($12.00) per year.

††††††††† (2)† The deductions provided herein shall be made notwithstanding that the minimum compensation provided by law for any member is reduced thereby.† Every member shall be deemed to consent and agree to the deductions made and provided for herein and shall receipt for his full salary or compensation, and payment of salary or compensation less the deduction shall be a full and complete discharge and acquittance of all claims and demands whatsoever for the services rendered by the person during the period covered by the payment, except as to the benefits provided under Articles 1 and 3.† The board shall provide by rules for the methods of collection of contributions from members and the employer.† The board shall have full authority to require the production of evidence necessary to verify the correctness of amounts contributed.

†††† (b)† Annuity reserve.† The annuity reserve shall be the account representing the actuarial value of all annuities in force, and to it shall be charged all annuities and all benefits in lieu of annuities, payable as provided in this article.† If a beneficiary retired on account of disability is restored to active service with a compensation not less than his average final compensation at the time of his last retirement, the remainder of his contributions shall be transferred from the annuity reserve to the annuity savings account and credited to his individual account therein, and the balance of his annuity reserve shall be transferred to the employer's accumulation account.

†††† (c)† Employer's accumulation account.† The employer's accumulation account shall represent the accumulation of all reserves for the payment of all retirement allowances and other benefits payable from contributions made by the employer, and against this account shall be charged all retirement allowances and other benefits on account of members.† Credits to and charges against the employer's accumulation account shall be made as follows:

††††††††† (1)† On account of each member there shall be paid monthly into the employer's accumulation account by the employers for the preceding fiscal year an amount equal to a certain percentage of the total earned compensation, as defined in Section 25-11-103, of each member.† The percentage rate of those contributions shall be fixed biennially by the board on the basis of the liabilities of the retirement system for the various allowances and benefits as shown by actuarial valuation.† Beginning January 1, 1990, the rate shall be fixed at nine and three-fourths percent (9-3/4%). * * *† Political subdivisions joining Article 3 of the Public Employees' Retirement System after July 1, 1968, may adjust the employer's contributions by agreement with the Board of Trustees of the Public Employees' Retirement System to provide service credits for any period before execution of the agreement based upon an actuarial determination of employer's contribution rates.

††††††††† (2)† On the basis of regular interest and of such mortality and other tables as are adopted by the board of trustees, the actuary engaged by the board to make each valuation required by this article during the period over which the accrued liability contribution is payable, immediately after making that valuation, shall determine the uniform and constant percentage of the earnable compensation of each member which, if contributed by the employer on the basis of compensation of the member throughout his entire period of membership service, would be sufficient to provide for the payment of any retirement allowance payable on his account for that service.† The percentage rate so determined shall be known as the "normal contribution rate."† After the accrued liability contribution has ceased to be payable, the normal contribution rate shall be the percentage rate of the salary of all members obtained by deducting from the total liabilities on account of membership service the amount in the employer's accumulation account, and dividing the remainder by one percent (1%) of the present value of the prospective future salaries of all members as computed on the basis of the mortality and service tables adopted by the board of trustees and regular interest.† The normal rate of contributions shall be determined by the actuary after each valuation.

††††††††† (3)† The total amount payable in each year to the employer's accumulation account shall not be less than the sum of the percentage rate known as the "normal contribution rate" and the "accrued liability contribution rate" of the total compensation earnable by all members during the preceding year, provided that the payment by the employer shall be sufficient, when combined with the amounts in the account, to provide the allowances and other benefits chargeable to this account during the year then current.

††††††††† (4)† The accrued liability contribution shall be discontinued as soon as the accumulated balance in the employer's accumulation account shall equal the present value, computed on the basis of the normal contribution rate then in force, or the prospective normal contributions to be received on account of all persons who are at that time members.

††††††††† (5)† All allowances and benefits in lieu thereof, with the exception of those payable on account of members who receive no prior service credit, payable from contributions of the employer, shall be paid from the employer's accumulation account.

††††††††† (6)† Upon the retirement of a member, an amount equal to his retirement allowance shall be transferred from the employer's accumulation account to the annuity reserve.

†††† (d)† Expense account.† The expense account shall be the account to which the expenses of the administration of the system shall be charged, exclusive of amounts payable as retirement allowances and as other benefits provided herein.† The Legislature shall make annual appropriations in amounts sufficient to administer the system, which shall be credited to this account. There shall be transferred to the State Treasury from this account, not less than once per month, an amount sufficient for payment of the estimated expenses of the system for the succeeding thirty (30) days.† Any interest earned on the expense account shall accrue to the benefit of the system.† However, notwithstanding the provisions of Sections 25-11-15(10) and 25-11-105(f)(5)E, all expenses of the administration of the system shall be paid from the interest earnings, provided the interest earnings are in excess of the actuarial interest assumption as determined by the board, and provided the present cost of the administrative expense fee of two percent (2%) of the contributions reported by the political subdivisions and instrumentalities shall be reduced to one percent (1%) from and after July 1, 1983, through June 30, 1984, and shall be eliminated thereafter.

†††† (e)† Collection of contributions.† The employer shall cause to be deducted on each and every payroll of a member for each and every payroll period, beginning subsequent to January 31, 1953, the contributions payable by the member as provided in Articles 1 and 3.

†††† The employer shall make deductions from salaries of employees as provided in Articles 1 and 3 and shall transmit monthly, or at such time as the board of trustees designates, the amount specified to be deducted to the Executive Director of the Public Employees' Retirement System.† The executive director, after making a record of all those receipts, shall deposit such amounts as provided by law.

†††† (f)† (1)† Upon the basis of each actuarial valuation provided herein, the board of trustees shall biennially determine the normal contribution rate and the accrued liability contribution rate as provided in this section.† The sum of these two (2) rates shall be known as the "employer's contribution rate."† Beginning on earned compensation effective January 1, 1990, the rate computed as provided in this section shall be nine and three-fourths percent (9-3/4%). * * *† The percentage rate of those contributions shall be fixed biennially by the board on the basis of the liabilities of the retirement system for the various allowances and benefits as shown by actuarial

valuation.

††††††††† (2)† The amount payable by the employer on account of normal and accrued liability contributions shall be determined by applying the employer's contribution rate to the amount of compensation earned by employees who are members of the system.† Monthly, or at such time as the board of trustees designates, each department or agency shall compute the amount of the employer's contribution payable, with respect to the salaries of its employees who are members of the system, and shall cause that amount to be paid to the board of trustees from the personal service allotment of the amount appropriated for the operation of the department or agency, or from funds otherwise available to the agency, for the payment of salaries to its employees.

††††††††† (3)† Constables shall pay employer and employee contributions on their net fee income as well as the employee contributions on all direct treasury or county payroll income.† The county shall be responsible for the employer contribution on all direct treasury or county payroll income of constables.

††††††††† (4)† Chancery and circuit clerks shall be responsible for both the employer and employee share of contributions on the proportionate share of net income attributable to fees, as well as the employee share of net income attributable to direct treasury or county payroll income, and the employing county shall be responsible for the employer contributions on the net income attributable to direct treasury or county payroll income.

††††††††† (5)† Once each year, under procedures established by the system, each employer shall submit to the Public Employees' Retirement System a copy of their report to Social Security of all employees' earnings.

††††††††† (6)† The board shall provide by rules for the methods of collection of contributions of employers and members.† The amounts determined due by an agency to the various funds as specified in Articles 1 and 3 are made obligations of the agency to the board and shall be paid as provided herein.† Failure to deduct those contributions shall not relieve the employee and employer from liability thereof.† Delinquent employee contributions and any accrued interest shall be the obligation of the employee and delinquent employer contributions and any accrued interest shall be the obligation of the employer.† The employer may, in its discretion, elect to pay any or all of the interest on delinquent employee contributions.† From and after July 1, 1996, under rules and regulations established by the board, all employers are authorized and shall transfer all funds due to the Public Employees' Retirement System electronically and shall transmit any wage or other reports by computerized reporting systems.

†††† SECTION 12.† Section 25-11-141, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

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†††† 25-11-141.† The board of trustees may enter into an agreement with insurance companies, hospital service associations, medical or health care corporations, health maintenance organizations, or government agencies authorized to do business in the state for issuance of a policy or contract of life, health, medical, hospital or surgical benefits, or any combination thereof, for those persons receiving a service, disability or survivor retirement allowance from any system administered by the board. Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, the policy or contract also may include coverage for the spouse and dependent children of such eligible person and for such sponsored dependents as the board considers appropriate.† If all or any portion of the policy or contract premium is to be paid by any person receiving a service, disability or survivor retirement allowance, such person shall, by written authorization, instruct the board to deduct from the retirement allowance the premium cost and to make payments to such companies, associations, corporations or agencies.

†††† The board may contract for such coverage on the basis that the cost of the premium for the coverage will be paid by the person receiving a retirement allowance.

†††† The board is authorized to accept bids for such optional coverage and benefits and to make all necessary rules pursuant to the purpose and intent of this section.

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†††† SECTION 13.† Section 25-15-3, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

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†††† 25-15-3.† For the purposes of this article, the words and phrases used herein shall have the following meanings:

††††††††† (a)† "Employee" means a person who works full time for the State of Mississippi and receives his compensation in a direct payment from a department, agency or institution of the state government and any person who works full time for any school district, community/junior college, public library or university-based program authorized under Section 37-23-31 for deaf, aphasic and emotionally disturbed children or any regular nonstudent bus driver.† This shall include legislators, employees of the legislative branch and the judicial branch of the state and "employees" shall include full-time salaried judges and full-time district attorneys and their staff and full-time compulsory school attendance officers.† For the purposes of this article, any "employee" making contributions to the State of Mississippi retirement plan shall be considered a full-time employee.

††††††††† (b)† "Department" means the Department of Finance and Administration.

††††††††† (c)† "Plan" means the State and School Employees Life and Health Insurance Plan created under this article.

††††††††† (d)† "Fund" means the State and School Employees Insurance Fund set up under this article.

††††††††† (e)† "Retiree" means any employee retired under the Mississippi retirement plan.

††††††††† (f)† "Board" means the State and School Employees Health Insurance Management Board created under Section 25-15-303.

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†††† SECTION 14.† Section 25-15-9, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

 * * *

†††† 25-15-9.† (1)† (a)† The board shall design a plan of health insurance for state employees which provides benefits for semiprivate rooms in addition to other incidental coverages which the board deems necessary.† The amount of the coverages shall be in such reasonable amount as may be determined by the board to be adequate, after due consideration of current health costs in Mississippi. †The plan shall also include major medical benefits in such amounts as the board shall determine.† The board is also authorized to accept bids for such alternate coverage and optional benefits as the board shall deem proper.† Any contract for alternative coverage and optional benefits shall be awarded by the board after it has carefully studied and evaluated the bids and selected the best and most cost-effective bid.† The board may reject all such bids; however, the board shall notify all bidders of the rejection and shall actively solicit new bids if all bids are rejected.† The board may employ or contract for such consulting or actuarial services as may be necessary to formulate the plan, and to assist the board in the preparation of specifications and in the process of advertising for the bids for the plan.† Such contracts shall be solicited and entered into in accordance with Section 25-15-5.† The board shall keep a record of all persons, agents and corporations who contract with or assist the board in preparing and developing the plan.† The board in a timely manner shall provide copies of this record to the members of the advisory council created in this section and those legislators, or their designees, who may attend meetings of the advisory council.† The board shall provide copies of this record in the solicitation of bids for the administration or servicing of the self-insured program.† Each person, agent or corporation which, during the previous fiscal year, has assisted in the development of the plan or employed or compensated any person who assisted in the development of the plan, and which bids on the administration or servicing of the plan, shall submit to the board a statement accompanying the bid explaining in detail its participation with the development of the plan.† This statement shall include the amount of compensation paid by the bidder to any such employee during the previous fiscal year.† The board shall make all such information available to the members of the advisory council and those legislators, or their designees, who may attend meetings of the advisory council before any action is taken by the board on the bids submitted.† The failure of any bidder to fully and accurately comply with this paragraph shall result in the rejection of any bid submitted by that bidder or the cancellation of any contract executed when the failure is discovered after the acceptance of that bid.† The board is authorized to promulgate rules and regulations to implement the provisions of this subsection.

†††† The board shall develop plans for the insurance plan authorized by this section in accordance with the provisions of Section 25-15-5.

†††† Any corporation, association, company or individual that contracts with the board for the third-party claims administration of the self-insured plan shall prepare and keep on file an explanation of benefits for each claim processed.† The explanation of benefits shall contain such information relative to each processed claim which the board deems necessary, and, at a minimum, each explanation shall provide the claimant's name, claim number, provider number, provider name, service dates, type of services, amount of charges, amount allowed to the claimant and reason codes.† The information contained in the explanation of benefits shall be available for inspection upon request by the board.† The board shall have access to all claims information utilized in the issuance of payments to employees and providers.

††††††††† (b)† There is created an advisory council to advise the board in the formulation of the State and School Employees Health Insurance Plan.† The council shall be composed of the State Insurance Commissioner or his designee, an employee-representative of the institutions of higher learning appointed by the board of trustees thereof, an employee-representative of the Department of Transportation appointed by the director thereof, an employee-representative of the State Tax Commission appointed by the Commissioner of Revenue, an employee-representative of the Mississippi Department of Health appointed by the State Health Officer, an employee-representative of the Mississippi Department of Corrections appointed by the Commissioner of Corrections, and an employee-representative of the Department of Human Services appointed by the Executive Director of Human Services, two (2) certificated public school administrators appointed by the State Board of Education, two (2) certificated classroom teachers appointed by the State Board of Education, a noncertificated school employee appointed by the State Board of Education and a community/junior college employee appointed by the State Board for Community and Junior Colleges.

†††† The Lieutenant Governor may designate the Secretary of the Senate, the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, the Chairman of the Senate Education Committee and the Chairman of the Senate Insurance Committee, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives may designate the Clerk of the House, the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, the Chairman of the House Education Committee and the Chairman of the House Insurance Committee, to attend any meeting of the State and School Employees Insurance Advisory Council.† The appointing authorities may designate an alternate member from their respective houses to serve when the regular designee is unable to attend such meetings of the council.† Such designees shall have no jurisdiction or vote on any matter within the jurisdiction of the council.† For attending meetings of the council, such legislators shall receive per diem and expenses which shall be paid from the contingent expense funds of their respective houses in the same amounts as provided for committee meetings when the Legislature is not in session; however, no per diem and expenses for attending meetings of the council will be paid while the Legislature is in session.† No per diem and expenses will be paid except for attending meetings of the council without prior approval of the proper committee in their respective houses.

††††††††† (c)† No change in the terms of the State and School Employees Health Insurance Plan may be made effective unless the board, or its designee, has provided notice to the State and School Employees Health Insurance Advisory Council and has called a meeting of the council at least fifteen (15) days before the effective date of such change.† In the event that the State and School Employees Health Insurance Advisory Council does not meet to advise the board on the proposed changes, the changes to the plan shall become effective at such time as the board has informed the council that the changes shall become effective.

††††††††† (d)† Medical benefits for retired employees and dependents under age sixty-five (65) years and not eligible for Medicare benefits.† For employees who retire before July 1, 2005, and for employees retiring due to work-related disability under the Public Employees' Retirement System, the same health insurance coverage as for all other active employees and their dependents shall be available to retired employees and all dependents under age sixty-five (65) years who are not eligible for Medicare benefits, the level of benefits to be the same level as for all other active participants.† For employees who retire on or after July 1, 2005, and not retiring due to work-related disability under the Public Employees' Retirement System, the same health insurance coverage as for all other active employees and their dependents shall be available to such retiring employees and all dependents under age sixty-five (65) years who are not eligible for Medicare benefits only if the retiring employees were participants in the State and School Employees Health Insurance Plan for four (4) years or more before their retirement, the level of benefits to be the same level as for all other active participants. †This section will apply to those employees who retire due to one hundred percent (100%) medical disability as well as those employees electing early retirement.

††††††††† (e)† Medical benefits for retired employees and dependents over age sixty-five (65) years or otherwise eligible for Medicare benefits.† For employees who retire before July 1, 2005, and for employees retiring due to work-related disability under the Public Employees' Retirement System, the health insurance coverage available to retired employees over age sixty-five (65) years or otherwise eligible for Medicare benefits, and all dependents over age sixty-five (65) years or otherwise eligible for Medicare benefits, shall be the major medical coverage with the lifetime maximum of One Million Dollars ($1,000,000.00).† For employees retiring on or after July 1, 2005, and not retiring due to work-related disability under the Public Employees' Retirement System, the health insurance coverage described herein shall be available to such retiring employees only if they were participants in the State and School Employees Health Insurance Plan for four (4) years or more and are over age sixty-five (65) years or otherwise eligible for Medicare benefits, and to all dependents over age sixty-five (65) years or otherwise eligible for Medicare benefits.† Benefits shall be reduced by Medicare benefits as though such Medicare benefits were the base plan.

†††† All covered individuals shall be assumed to have full Medicare coverage, Parts A and B; and any Medicare payments under both Parts A and B shall be computed to reduce benefits payable under this plan.

†††† (2)† Nonduplication of benefits--reduction of benefits by Title XIX benefits:† When benefits would be payable under more than one (1) group plan, benefits under those plans will be coordinated to the extent that the total benefits under all plans will not exceed the total expenses incurred.

†††† Benefits for hospital or surgical or medical benefits shall be reduced by any similar benefits payable in accordance with Title XIX of the Social Security Act or under any amendments thereto, or any implementing legislation.†††

†††† Benefits for hospital or surgical or medical benefits shall be reduced by any similar benefits payable by workers' compensation.

†††† (3)† (a)† Schedule of life insurance benefits--group term:† The amount of term life insurance for each active employee of a department, agency or institution of the state government shall not be in excess of One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000.00), or twice the amount of the employee's annual wage to the next highest One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00), whichever may be less, but in no case less than Thirty Thousand Dollars ($30,000.00), with a like amount for accidental death and dismemberment on a twenty-four-hour basis.† The plan will further contain a premium waiver provision if a covered employee becomes totally and permanently disabled prior to age sixty-five (65) years.† Employees retiring after June 30, 1999, shall be eligible to continue life insurance coverage in an amount of Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00), Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00) or Twenty Thousand Dollars ($20,000.00) into retirement.

††††††††† (b)† Effective October 1, 1999, schedule of life insurance benefits--group term:† The amount of term life insurance for each active employee of any school district, community/junior college, public library or university-based program authorized under Section 37-23-31 for deaf, aphasic and emotionally disturbed children or any regular nonstudent bus driver shall not be in excess of One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000.00), or twice the amount of the employee's annual wage to the next highest One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00), whichever may be less, but in no case less than Thirty Thousand Dollars ($30,000.00), with a like amount for accidental death and dismemberment on a twenty-four-hour basis.† The plan will further contain a premium waiver provision if a covered employee of any school district, community/junior college, public library or university-based program authorized under Section 37-23-31 for deaf, aphasic and emotionally disturbed children or any regular nonstudent bus driver becomes totally and permanently disabled prior to age sixty-five (65) years.† Employees of any school district, community/junior college, public library or university-based program authorized under Section 37-23-31 for deaf, aphasic and emotionally disturbed children or any regular nonstudent bus driver retiring after September 30, 1999, shall be eligible to continue life insurance coverage in an amount of Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00), Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00) or Twenty Thousand Dollars ($20,000.00) into retirement.

†††† (4)† Any eligible employee who on March 1, 1971, was participating in a group life insurance program which has provisions different from those included herein and for which the State of Mississippi was paying a part of the premium may, at his discretion, continue to participate in such plan.† Such employee shall pay in full all additional costs, if any, above the minimum program established by this article.† Under no circumstances shall any individual who begins employment with the state after March 1, 1971, be eligible for the provisions of this subsection.

†††† (5)† The board may offer medical savings accounts as defined in Section 71-9-3 as a plan option.

†††† (6)† Any premium differentials, differences in coverages, discounts determined by risk or by any other factors shall be uniformly applied to all active employees participating in the insurance plan.† It is the intent of the Legislature that the state contribution to the plan be the same for each employee throughout the state.

†††† (7)† On October 1, 1999, any school district, community/junior college district or public library may elect to remain with an existing policy or policies of group life insurance with an insurance company approved by the State and School Employees Health Insurance Management Board, in lieu of participation in the State and School Life Insurance Plan.† On or after July 1, 2004, until October 1, 2004, any school district, community/junior college district or public library may elect to choose a policy or policies of group life insurance existing on October 1, 1999, with an insurance company approved by the State and School Employees Health Insurance Management Board in lieu of participation in the State and School Life Insurance Plan.† The state's contribution of up to fifty percent (50%) of the active employee's premium under the State and School Life Insurance Plan may be applied toward the cost of coverage for full-time employees participating in the approved life insurance company group plan.† For purposes of this subsection (7), "life insurance company group plan" means a plan administered or sold by a private insurance company.† After October 1, 1999, the board may assess charges in addition to the existing State and School Life Insurance Plan rates to such employees as a condition of enrollment in the State and School Life Insurance Plan.† In order for any life insurance company group planto be approved by the State and School Employees Health Insurance Management Board under this subsection (7), it shall meet the following criteria:

††††††††† (a)† The insurance company offering the group life insurance plan shall be rated "A-" or better by A.M. Best state insurance rating service and be licensed as an admitted carrier in the State of Mississippi by the Mississippi Department of Insurance.

††††††††† (b)† The insurance company group life insurance plan shall provide the same life insurance, accidental death and dismemberment insurance and waiver of premium benefits as provided in the State and School Life Insurance Plan.

††††††††† (c)† The insurance company group life insurance plan shall be fully insured, and no form of self-funding life insurance by such company shall be approved.

†††† †††† (d)† The insurance company group life insurance plan shall have one (1) composite rate per One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) of coverage for active employees regardless of age and one (1) composite rate per One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) of coverage for all retirees regardless of age or type of retiree.

††††††††† (e)† The insurance company and its group life insurance plan shall comply with any administrative requirements of the State and School Employees Health Insurance Management Board.† In the event any insurance company providing group life insurance benefits to employees under this subsection (7) fails to comply with any requirements specified herein or any administrative requirements of the board, the state shall discontinue providing funding for the cost of such insurance.

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†††† SECTION 15.† Section 25-15-11, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

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†††† 25-15-11.† (1)† The board is authorized to execute a contract or contracts to provide the benefits under the plan.† Such contract or contracts may be executed with one or more corporations or associations licensed to transact life and accident and health insurance business in this state; however, no such contract shall be executed with any corporation, association or company domiciled in any other state except that such corporation, association or company shall meet the conditions and terms for a like contract established by the state of the domicile of such corporation, association or company for a Mississippi corporation, association or company.† No corporation, association or company with less than five (5) years' experience in the life and health field may bid.† All of the benefits to be provided under the plan may be included in one or more similar contracts, or the benefits may be classified into different types with each type included under one or more similar contracts issued by the same or different companies.

†††† The board shall supply the statistical information upon which a quotation is to be calculated, upon request, to all carriers licensed in the state.† Bids may be accepted at the discretion of the board, and the board shall have the right to adjust rates on an annual basis if the board shall deem such adjustment necessary.† The plan for active employees shall be on retention accounting basis, and a separate retention accounting basis shall be used for retired employees.† Any additional written information the carrier wishes to submit, supporting the proposed benefits and premium rate, may accompany the proposal.† After receiving the proposals, the board shall determine whether to contract with the carrier which has been determined to have submitted the lowest and best bid, or to reject all such bids and receive new proposals.

†††† The board shall authorize any corporation licensed to transact accident and health insurance business in this state issuing any such contract to reinsure portions of such contract with any other such corporation which elected to be a reinsurer and is legally competent to enter into a reinsurance agreement.† The board may designate one or more of such corporations as the administering corporation or corporations.† Each employee who is covered under any such contract or contracts shall receive a certificate setting forth the benefits to which the employee is entitled thereunder, to whom such benefits shall be payable, to whom claims should be submitted, and summarizing the provisions of the contract principally affecting the employee.† Such certificate shall be in lieu of the certificate which the corporation or corporations issuing such contract or contracts would otherwise issue.

†††† The board may, as of the end of any contract year, discontinue any contract or contracts it has executed with any corporation or corporations and replace it or them with a contract or contracts in any other corporation or corporations meeting the requirements of this section.

†††† The board may reject any and all bids and contracts under this section and may elect for the state to become a self-insurer; however, administration and service of any such self-insured program may be contracted to a third party by the board.

†††† Any contract with a third party to administer the plan shall be bid and entered into in accordance with the procedures provided in Section 25-15-301.

†††† (2)† By September 30 of each year, the board shall report to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, Senate Insurance Committee, House Insurance Committee, Senate Education Committee, House Education Committee and Joint Legislative Committee on Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review the condition of the State and School Employees Life and Health Insurance Plan.† Such report shall contain for the most recently completed fiscal year, but not be limited to, the following:

††††††††† (a)† The plan's financial condition at the close of the fiscal year.

††††††††† (b)† The history of yearly claims paid and premiums received for each premium class, including, but not limited to, active employees, dependents and retirees.

††††††††† (c)† The history of loss ratios for the active employees, dependents and retirees premium classes as well as historical trend of such ratios.† For the purposes of this section, the term "loss ratios" means claims paid by the plan for each premium class divided by premiums received by the plan for insurance coverage of the members in that premium class.

††††††††† (d)† Budgetary information, including:

††††††††††††† (i)† A detailed breakdown of all expenditures of the plan, administrative and otherwise, for the most recently completed fiscal year and projected expenditures, administrative and otherwise, for the current and next fiscal year;

††††††††††††† (ii)† A schedule of all contracts, administrative and otherwise, executed for the benefit of the plan during the most recent completed fiscal year and those executed and anticipated for the current fiscal year; and

††††††††††††† (iii)† A description of the processes used by the board to procure all contracts, administrative and otherwise, as well as a description of the scope of services to be provided by each contractor.

†††† Budgetary information shall be provided in a format designated by the Joint Legislative Budget Committee.

†††† The Joint Legislative Budget Committee, Senate Insurance Committee, House Insurance Committee, Senate Education Committee, House Education Committee and Joint Legislative Committee on Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review may request additional information or reports from the board on an as-needed basis.

†††† (3)† Annually, the board shall request, and the Department of Audit shall conduct, a comprehensive audit of the State and School Employees Life and Health Insurance Plan.† For purposes of this section, the audit required herein shall be separate and distinct from any audit prepared in conjunction with the development of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR).

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†††† SECTION 16.† Section 25-15-14, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

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†††† 25-15-14.† Any elected state or district official who does not run for reelection or who is defeated before being entitled to receive a retirement allowance shall be eligible to continue to participate in the State and School Employees Health Insurance Plan under the same conditions and coverages for retired employees.

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†††† SECTION 17.† Section 25-15-15, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

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†††† 25-15-15.† (1)† The board is authorized to determine the manner in which premiums and contributions by the state agencies, local school districts, colleges, universities, community/junior colleges and public libraries shall be collected to provide the self-insured health insurance program for employees as provided under this article.† The state shall provide fifty percent (50%) of the cost of the above life insurance plan for all active full-time employees.† The state shall provide one hundred percent (100%) of the cost of the health insurance plan for active full-time employees initially employed before January 1, 2006.† For active full-time employees initially employed on or after January 1, 2006, the state shall provide one hundred percent (100%) of the cost of a basic level of health insurance and the employees may pay additional amounts to purchase additional benefits or levels of coverage offered under the plan.† All active full-time employees shall be given the opportunity to purchase coverage for their eligible dependents with the premiums for such dependent coverage, as well as the employee's fifty percent (50%) share for his life insurance coverage, to be deductible from the employee's salary by the agency, department or institution head, which deductions, together with the fifty percent (50%) share of such life insurance premiums of such employing agency, department or institution head from funds appropriated to or authorized to be expended by the employing agency, department or institution head, shall be deposited directly into a depository bank or special fund in the State Treasury, as determined by the board.† These funds and interest earned on these funds may be used for the disbursement of claims and shall be exempt from the appropriation process.†

†††† (2)† The state shall provide annually, by line item in the Mississippi Library Commission appropriation bill, such funds to pay one hundred percent (100%) of the cost of health insurance under the State and School Employees Health Insurance Plan for full-time library staff members in each public library in Mississippi initially employed before January 1, 2006.† For full-time library staff members initially employed on or after January 1, 2006, the state shall provide one hundred percent (100%) of the cost of a basic level of health insurance under the State and School Employees Health Insurance Plan and the employees may pay additional amounts to purchase additional benefits or levels of coverage offered under the plan.† The commission shall allot to each public library a sufficient amount of those funds appropriated to pay the costs of insurance for eligible employees.† Any funds so appropriated by line item which are not expended during the fiscal year for which such funds were appropriated shall be carried forward for the same purposes during the next succeeding fiscal year.† If any premiums for the health insurance and/or late charges and interest penalties are not paid by a public library in a timely manner, as defined by the board, the Mississippi Library Commission, upon notice by the board, shall immediately withhold all subsequent disbursements of funds to that public library.

†††† (3)† The state shall annually provide one hundred percent (100%) of the cost of the health insurance plan for public school district employees who work no less than twenty (20) hours during each week and regular nonstudent school bus drivers, if such employees and school bus drivers were initially employed before January 1, 2006.† For such employees and school bus drivers initially employed on or after January 1, 2006, the state shall provide one hundred percent (100%) of the cost of a basic level of health insurance under the State and School Employees Health Insurance Plan and the employees may pay additional amounts to purchase additional benefits or levels of coverage offered under the plan.† Where federal funding is allowable to defray, in full or in part, the cost of participation in the program by district employees who work no less than twenty (20) hours during the week and regular nonstudent bus drivers, whose salaries are paid, in full or in part, by federal funds, the allowance under this section shall be reduced to the extent of such federal funding.† Where the use of federal funds is allowable but not available, it is the intent of the Legislature that school districts contribute the cost of participation for such employees from local funds, except that parent fees for child nutrition programs shall not be increased to cover such cost.

†††† (4)† The state shall provide annually, by line item in the community/junior college appropriation bill, such funds to pay one hundred percent (100%) of the cost of the health insurance plan for community/junior college district employees initially employed before January 1, 2006, who work no less than twenty (20) hours during each week.† For such employees initially employed on or after January 1, 2006, the state shall provide one hundred percent (100%) of the cost of a basic level of health insurance under the State and School Employees Health Insurance Plan and the employees may pay additional amounts to purchase additional benefits or levels of coverage offered under the plan.

†††† (5)† When the use of federal funding is allowable to defray, in full or in part, the cost of participation in the insurance plan by community/junior college district employees who work no less than twenty (20) hours during each week, whose salaries are paid, in full or in part, by federal funds, the allowance under this section shall be reduced to the extent of the federal funding.† Where the use of federal funds is allowable but not available, it is the intent of the Legislature that community/junior college districts contribute the cost of participation for such employees from local funds.

†††† (6)† Any community/junior college district may contribute to the cost of coverage for any district employee from local community/junior college district funds, and any public school district may contribute to the cost of coverage for any district employee from nonminimum program funds.† Any part of the cost of such coverage for participating employees of public school districts and public community/junior college districts that is not paid by the state shall be paid by the participating employees, which shall be deducted from the salaries of the employees in a manner determined by the board.

†††† (7)† Any funds appropriated for the cost of insurance by line item in the community/junior colleges appropriation bill which are not expended during the fiscal year for which such funds were appropriated shall be carried forward for the same purposes during the next succeeding fiscal year.†

†††† (8)† The board may establish and enforce late charges and interest penalties or other penalties for the purpose of requiring the prompt payment of all premiums for life and health insurance permitted under Chapter 15 of Title 25.† All funds in excess of the amount needed for disbursement of claims shall be deposited in a special fund in the State Treasury to be known as the State and School Employees Insurance Fund.† The State Treasurer shall invest all funds in the State and School Employees Insurance Fund and all interest earned shall be credited to the State and School Employees Insurance Fund.† Such funds shall be placed with one or more depositories of the state and invested on the first day such funds are available for investment in certificates of deposit, repurchase agreements or in United States Treasury bills or as otherwise authorized by law for the investment of Public Employees' Retirement System funds, as long as such investment is made from competitive offering and at the highest and best market rate obtainable consistent with any available investment alternatives; however, such investments shall not be made in shares of stock, common or preferred, or in any other investments which would mature more than one (1) year from the date of investment.† The board shall have the authority to draw from this fund periodically such funds as are necessary to operate the self-insurance plan or to pay to the insurance carrier the cost of operation of this plan, it being the purpose to limit the amount of participation by the state to fifty percent (50%) of the cost of the life insurance program and not to limit the contracting for additional benefits where the cost will be paid in full by the employee.† The state shall not share in the cost of coverage for retired employees.

†††† (9)† The board shall also provide for the creation of an Insurance Reserve Fund and funds therein shall be invested by the State Treasurer with all interest earned credited to the State and School Employees Insurance Fund.

†††† (10)† Any retired employee electing to purchase retired life and health insurance will have the full cost of such insurance deducted monthly from his State of Mississippi retirement plan check or direct billed for the cost of the premium if the retirement check is insufficient to pay for the premium.† If the board determines actuarially that the premium paid by the participating retirees adversely affects the overall cost of the plan to the state, then the board may impose a premium surcharge, not to exceed fifteen percent (15%), upon such participating retired employees who are under the age for Medicare eligibility and who were initially employed before January 1, 2006.† For participating retired employees who are under the age for Medicare eligibility and who were initially employed on or after January 1, 2006, the board may impose a premium surcharge in an amount the board determines actuarially to cover the full cost of insurance.†

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†††† SECTION 18.† Sections 25-11-143 and 25-11-145, Mississippi Code of 1972, which require the Board of Trustees of the Public Employees Retirement System to design a plan of health insurance for all current and future retirees and provide when such plan shall be implemented, are repealed.

†††† SECTION 19.† This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2007.