OKLAHOMA CITY – The full Senate has approved a bill giving a cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) to state retirees. The measure was approved Friday on a bipartisan vote of 41-5. Sen. Roger Thompson, R-Okemah, is the principal Senate author of House Bill 3350.
The bill grants COLAs to those in the Oklahoma Firefighters Pension and Retirement System, the Oklahoma Police Pension and Retirement System, the Uniform Retirement System for Justices and Judges, the Teachers’ Retirement System of Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Public Employees Retirement System and the Oklahoma Law Enforcement Retirement System.
“Twelve years is a long time—the cost of living has gone up. These are public servants who worked on behalf of their fellow citizens, often for a lifetime,” Thompson said. “It’s time to take care of those who’ve taken care of us.”
Thompson, Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said the systems are well funded and can support the COLAs, which would include a 4% increase for those who have been retired for five or more years as of July 1, 2020, and 2% for those who have been retired for less than five years. The COLA would not apply to those retired less than two years as of July 1, 2020.
“I’m absolutely thrilled that the state Senate today passed legislation that will grant our state retirees this much-needed and much-deserved benefit,” said Rep. Avery Frix, R-Muskogee, House principal author of HB 3350. “I’ve fought for several years for this cost-of-living increase for those who served our state. This should give our retirees some added security in these difficult times.”
The bill now goes to the governor for his consideration. If the measure is signed, the COLAs would go into effect July 1, 2020.
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For more information, contact Sen. Roger Thompson at 405-521-5588 or email Roger.Thompson@oksenate.gov.