Pursuant to our belief the 2013 legislature unnecessarily stepped over constitutional and statutory lines when it amended reductions in guaranteed annual benefit adjustments into HB 377 that has amortized and saved the Teachers Retirement System as a pension system, this morning in a Helena district court, MEA-MFT and individual named plaintiffs filed a Complaint for Declaratory Judgment and Relief.
The following paragraph summarizes our complaint:
This lawsuit seeks declaratory and injunctive relief to prevent unnecessary benefit reductions to the beneficiaries of the Teachers’ Retirement System of the State of Montana. During the 63rd Legislature, Montana enacted House Bill 377 (Chapter 389 of the Montana Laws of 2013), which made significant and necessary changes to the administration and funding of the Teachers’ Retirement System in order to ensure its actuarial soundness, as required by state law and the Montana State Constitution, Art. VIII, §15. However, the law also contained Section 11 which was not required to make the system actuarially sound and instead illegally reduced the guaranteed annual benefit adjustment of pension benefits to TRS retirees and all TRS members hired prior to July 1, 2013. The retirement benefits due teachers in Montana constitute a contract with the State of Montana and a cognizable property interest. The illegal reduction in the guaranteed annual benefit adjustment constitutes a legislative act that illegally impairs a state contract and takes property without compensation in violation of the federal and Montana constitutions. Therefore, Plaintiffs are entitled to their sought relief.
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In the near future, MEA-MFT will join with others and file a similar complaint re the legislature’s attempt in HB 454 to abridge guaranteed annual benefit adjustments in the Public Employees’ Retirement [Pension] System.
Eric Feaver explains in this video