Legislative Update

May 17th Update from Laura Penman and Steve Beebe

The Legislature Adjourns Without Granting 13th Check or COLA to Retired Educators:
The Indiana General Assembly adjourned sine die in the early morning of April 28th without providing any pension enhancement to retired educators or public employees.  This was particularly frustrating because most legislators supported a 13th check for both years of the biennium and the money was available in the Supplemental Reserve Account, which is a dedicated account created specifically to fund pension enhancements.  
To be fair, it is important to note that the legislature focused on pension stability, appropriating nearly $3 billion to buy down the unfunded liability of the Pre 96 Fund and included language in the final budget bill directing the Indiana Public Retirement System (INPRS) to provide data and projections about the feasibility of providing a permanent, statutory COLA in .5% increments.  
HB 1028, co-authored by Rep. Bob Cherry, Rep. Mike Karickhoff, Rep. Jennifer Meltzer and Rep. Greg Porter, sailed through the House without a single “no” vote.  But the dynamic was much different in the Senate despite 100% support from the Senate Democrats and most of the Senate Republicans.  HB 1028 was not given a hearing in the Appropriations Committee and top Republican leadership stated that “the legislature is getting out of the 13th check business.” 
IRTA will continue to reach out to legislators in the coming months to discuss ways to secure future pension enhancements. During this time, we ask members to thank those legislators that continue to support us, particularly those mentioned in the previous paragraph along with Sen. Jon Ford, Sen. Vaneta Becker, Senator Ron Alting, Sen. Mike Bohacek, Sen. Jim Tomes, Sen. Mike Crider, Sen. Dan Dernulc, Sen. Dave Niezgodski and Sen. Shelli Yoder. We are also asking members to contact the legislators who rejected our requests.  This includes the Senate Republican Leadership of Sen. Rod Bray, Sen. Chris Garten, and Sen. Ryan Mishler.  Please write and share your concerns and frustrations with the failure to include language in the budget to authorize a 13th check.  But as always, please be professional and respectful.  
We must continue to stay strong as we move into unknown territory.  It is imperative that we continue our legislative advocacy for retired educators.  We may have gotten knocked down in 2023, but it is important to get up and come back stronger than ever.  



April 28th Update from Laura Penman

The Indiana General Assembly has adopted a budget for the next two years, that unlike previous years, does not contain a 13th check or COLA for retired educators or public employees. It is little consolation that HB 1001 directs the Indiana Public Retirement System (INPRS) to study and report back to the legislature “scenarios to increase the contribution rate for supplemental reserve accounts under IC 5-10.2-12 in order to fund a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) at increments of one-half of one percent (0.5%) each year.”  While it is encouraging that the legislature is considering future regular COLAs, it is disappointing that retired educators, especially those with the lowest monthly pensions, will receive no pension enhancement during this time of high inflation and rising costs.  
Additionally, nearly $3 Billion was appropriated to buy down the unfunded liability for the Pre-’96 Teacher’s Retirement fund.   



April 26th Update from Laura Penman

Information being released this afternoon from the Statehouse is not good news for retired educators. There will be no pension enhancement, neither a 13th check, nor COLA for fiscal years 2024 and 2025. This decision was driven by the Senate Republican Caucus despite strong support from the House Republicans and the Senate and House Democrats.  This news is disappointing for retired educators. As we receive more information, we will provide you with all the necessary updates.


April 7th Update from Laura Penman

Our office has sent out a second round of email blasts requesting all retired educators to act immediately and contact their local senator if they have not done so.  It is important to note for Morgan County and parts of Johnson, Owen, and Putnam counties that we have been told by reliable sources that Senator Rodric Bray has stated there will be NO 13th check for retired educators.  This could mean retired educators would receive no pension enhancement for the next two years. We need members to act now!  Please contact your local senator!


March 23rd Update from Laura Penman

It is imperative that you contact your Senator in support of a 13th check. Unless you act now, it is quite possible that retired teachers will not receive a 13th check this biennium. 


February 28th Update from Laura Penman

Make your voice heard with IRTA!
We need our Indiana Senators to vote for a “13th check.”  Here is how you can help!
Step 1
Find your Senator HERE!
Step 2
Find your suggested time to reach out, organized by first letter of your last name.
A-C • March 6-10
D-G • March 13-17
H-K • March 2--24
L-O • March 27-31
P-S • April 3-7
T-W • April 10-14
X-Z • April 17-21
Step 3
Send an email to your Senator during your suggested time slot and detail what the 13th check means to you! Follow the email address formula below.
Senator.(the last name of your Senator)@iga.in.gov
If email is unavailable to you, the mailing address is
200 W. Washington St.
Indianapolis, IN  46204



February 15th Update from Laura Penman

HB 1028 passed in the Indiana House of Representatives on 2-14-2023 by a 96-0 vote!

Please thank Reb. Bob Cherry for authoring this bill.  Also thank Rep. Mike Karickhoff, Rep. Gregory Porter, and Rep. Jennifer Meltzer as co-authors!

HB 1028 now moves to the Indiana Senate and will be sponsored by Sen. Jon Ford, Sen. Ryan Mishler, and Sen. David NiezgodskiPlease take time to also thank our Senators supporting retired educators!


Important Update from Laura Penman

February 8, 2023 - HB 1028 has passed through the Ways and Means Committee.  Thank you to Committee Chair Rep. Thompson and the committee members.  Again, thank you to Rep. Cherry for authoring this bill.

Next week, HB will go the House floor for 2nd and 3rd (final vote) readings.  If the bill passes, it will go to the Senate and the whole process begins again.

Please email your Representative Monday or Tuesday (Feb. 13th/14th) thanking them for his/her support and letting them know how much the 13th check means to you.   


February 2, 2023 - HB 1028 has passed through the Employment, Labor, and Pensions House Committee.  Thank you to Committee Chair Rep. VanNatter and the committee members.  Thank you to Rep. Cherry for authoring this bill.

This is the beginning of a long process.  The next committee to hear HB 1028 will be the Ways and Means House Committee. 


January 9, 2023 - The 2023 Legislative Session has reconvened.

Both the House and Senate have started to release the filed bills.

Two 13th Check Bills have been filed:

HB 1028 by Rep. Bob Cherry

SB 30 by Sen. David Niezgodski


IRTA Legislative Committee Update by Nancy Tolson

The committee met on October 5, with nine members present plus Executive Director Penman and President Dyer.  Our lobbyist, Steve Beebe, was also present.

We welcomed a new member, Lynne Fleming, and introduced ourselves as we finished lunch.

Lobbyist Beebe made his report with the following points:

  1. The Legislature put 2.5 billion into the pension fund this year which significantly lowers the unfunded liability of the pre’96 pensions.
  2. The chair of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Mishler, would be agreeable to enhancements for the coming years if the money does not have to come from the General Fund.
  3. Beebe and Penman attended the summer PMOC* meeting. There, the Executive Director of INPRS**, Steve Russo, gave his report on the status of Indiana pensions.  According to this year’s report, there should be enough money in the SRA^^ account to fund a “13th check” for both years on the coming biennium.
  4. With these points in mind, the Legislative Committee members voted to recommend asking and lobbying the Legislature for a “13th check” over the biennium. This recommendation went to the IRTA Executive Committee and has been approved.
  5. The committee members were asked to contact their local legislative chairs, who in turn should contact their membership. IRTA members need to support the committee by contacting their legislators, thanking them for the 2.5 billion put into the pension fund to lower the unfunded liability, and to express whatever their wishes are for pension enhancements. We were reminded that we want to be positive in our comments, and that emails are probably most effective.
  6. The committee wants to encourage our members to use this web site to easily access the legislators’ contact information.

NOTE: Your committee and IRTA officers are trying to use the term “enhancements” to refer to what has been known as “13th check” and COLA.

*PMOC—Pension Management Oversight Committee, a committee of Senators and Representatives.

** INPRS—Indiana Public Retirement System

^^SRA—Supplemental Reserve Account.  This is the fund set aside for pension relief a few years ago.  When enough money has built up, it is to be used for enhancements.

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