The House passed HB 20 by Rep. Trent Ashby on a 130-10 vote Tuesday. The bill will use $212 million of Rainy Day Fund money to help lower costs for both Medicare-eligible and non-Medicare retirees. (Click here to see one scenario for how deductibles and premiums might change with the new funding.) The chief objection to the bill was the use of the Rainy Day Fund — a handful of House members expressed a preference for the Senate's method of funding approximately the same amount through a deferral of payments to managed care organizations rather than through an RDF withdrawal. The Senate version is included in SB 19 (which also incorporates a $1,000 teacher bonus) — that bill has passed the Senate but has not yet received a hearing in the House.

The House also passed HB 80 by Rep. Drew Darby, which was designed to provide a retirement benefit increase for school employees who retired between Sep. 1, 2004, and Aug. 31, 2015. The cost-of-living adjustment would be the lesser of $100/month or three percent. However, during floor debate, Darby pointed out that in its current financial state TRS could not afford the increase. He amended the bill on the House floor to instead provide that TRS would have the authority to provide the increase if and when it became affordable. It was estimated that in order to get the TRS fund to a place where it could afford the increase, the state would have had to increase its contribution rate from the current 7.7 percent of payroll to nearly 8.2 percent, or provide supplemental funding of nearly $1.3 billion, to pay for the cost-of-living increase. Additional state funding for the pension fund is not likely in the near future; however, the extent to which the fund might need additional money in order to pay for a raise could change in the future depending on how TRS investments perform.