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:

“Sen. Johnston has been a supporter of public employee pensions in the past, and I would think that if he would associate with (Arnold) — such an obvious opponent who has spent millions of dollars nationwide to get rid of pensions — then we would expect he would make some sort of statement to reaffirm his support of pensions.”

  • Is 2018 the year for comprehensive retirement legislation? by Nick Thornton: as the retirement security crisis grows, there is increasing speculation that Congress could tackle comprehensive retirement legislation next year. Congressman Richard Neal has recently introduced legislation that would require employers to offer a retirement plan with automatic enrollment and auto-escalation of contributions.
  • Public pension funded ratio up in third quarter 2017: report by Stephanie Kelly: according to the consulting firm Milliman, the funded status of public pension plans has continued to improve throughout 2017. Looking at the 100 largest public plans, “these plans are moving in the right direction,” said Becky Sielman, author of the Milliman report.
  • Bevin right to back away from special session by Bowling Green Daily News editorial board: as the year quickly draws to a close, it appears increasingly unlikely that Kentucky Gov. Bevin will call a special legislative session to address public pensions. The editorial board argues that Bevin should not call a special session due to the high cost to taxpayers and the lack of support for the governor’s pension proposal. Furthermore, the editorial board suggests that Kentucky legislators tackle the issue of tax reform first, since a lack of revenue is a major contributor to problems Kentucky faces, not only with adequately funding public pensions, but also roads, schools, and other public priorities.
  • Democrats raise red flags about IPERS but Republicans quick to dismiss fears by William Petroski: two members of the board of the Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System have warned that Republican state legislators plan to attack IPERS next year and force future public employees into a risky and unreliable 401(k)-style plan.
  • S.C. can’t risk abandoning employee pensions by Joseph Carey: a South Carolina firefighter argues that state legislators should avoid a rush to judgement on how to deal with underfunded public pensions. He cites the examples of Alaska, Michigan, and West Virginia, three states that abandoned their pensions in favor of 401(k)-style plans and suffered the consequences.

This Week in Pensions will be off the next couple of weeks for the holiday season, but be sure to check back early in the new year for the latest news in the fight for a secure retirement!