Welcome to the latest edition of This Week in Pensions! As we do most weeks, we have gathered the best stories about pensions and retirement security from the previous week. This is the news you need to know in the fight for a secure retirement.

Here are this week’s top stories:

  • KPERS needs to be funded by Michael Soza: during National Correctional Officers’ Week, Soza writes to the Topeka Capital-Journal to remind readers of the value of public pensions for correctional officers. Politicians in Kansas have raided the public pension fund to fill holes in the state budget caused by irresponsible tax policy. Unless Kansas lawmakers can find ways to raise revenue, then the retirement security of public employees like Soza will be threatened.
  • Qualifying for pension won’t take as long for some Missouri workers under bill OK’d by lawmakers by Kurt Erickson: this week, the Missouri legislature passed a bill that would lower the vesting period from 10 years to 5 years for Missouri state employees. Missouri’s public employees are the lowest paid in the nation and lawmakers hope that the shorter vesting period will encourage more workers to choose public service.
  • Largest public pension funds see funding improvements in first quarter — report by Meaghan Kilroy: according to a recent report by the actuarial firm MIlliman, the 100 largest public pension funds in the U.S. saw their aggregate funded status increase from 70% to 72% in the first quarter of 2017. The number of plans funded above 90% also increased. This report offers further evidence that public pension plans continue to recover from losses suffered during the financial crisis. 
  • States plan to move forward with auto-IRA retirement plans by Nick Thornton: Congressional Republicans recently used the Congressional Review Act to repeal an Obama-era regulation that paved the way for states to offer “Secure Choice” savings plans for private-sector employees. Despite the repeal of this regulation, states like California, Illinois, and Oregon still plan to create these retirement savings programs.
  • When a Key Democrat Left Town, Republicans Snuck Through Controversial Nominee by Naveena Sadasivam: late last month, Republicans in the Texas Senate confirmed Josh McGee – John Arnold’s right-hand man – as chairman of the Texas Pension Review Board. But they were only able to confirm him by holding a surprise vote when a Democratic state senator was out of the state. Had the full State Senate been allowed to vote on his nomination, he would have been defeated.
  • Labor Voices: GOP plan destroys pensions by Ron Bieber: this week was Teacher Appreciation Week and one way to show your appreciation for teachers is to help protect their pensions. That’s the message from Bieber who warns about plans by Republican leaders in Michigan to eliminate the pension plan for teachers and other public school employees.

Be sure to check back next week for the latest news in the fight for a secure retirement!