Division of Legislative Services > Legislative Record > 2004 

HJR 34: Joint Subcommittee to Study the Virginia Retirement System and Benefits for Public Safety Officials Injured in the Line of Duty

September 8, 2004

The focus of the joint sub-committee’s second meeting was the Virginia Law Officers’ Retirement System (VaLORS). During the past several General Assembly sessions many bills have been introduced that would have expanded the membership of VaLORS.

An official from VRS provided a general overview of VaLORS. Currently, there are 9,755 active members in VaLORS and an additional 1,000 retired members. Members of VaLORS can retire with an actuarially reduced retirement benefit at age 50 with five years of service and can retire with an unreduced retirement benefit at age 50 with 25 years of service or age 60 with five years of service. Employer contribution rates for retirement benefits of VaLORS members as a percent of annual payroll are 16.99 percent. VaLORS currently has an unfunded liability of $396 million.

Membership Criteria

An attorney with Kaufman & Canoles discussed the membership of VaLORS in more detail. There is no current objective standard for determining membership in VaLORS. In short, certain groups of employees have been approved for membership and, while these employees perform hazardous duties, there is no current objective standard that provides a description of the required duties or job functions for membership in VaLORS.

The attorney indicated that some of the benefits of an objective standard for membership in VaLORS would include (i) minimizing employee confusion in regard to who is eligible for membership, (ii) providing concrete justification for enhanced benefits, and (iii) eliminating the need for continued involvement of the General Assembly in determining membership. One disadvantage of using an objective standard for membership is that such a standard limits the ability of the General Assembly to exercise control over future VaLORS membership decisions.

The attorney concluded his presentation by recommending elements of an objective standard that could be used for purposes of determining VaLORS membership: (i) sworn law-enforcement officers with the power of arrest; (ii) positions where primary responsibilities involve hazardous duties, possibly defined in relation to those of the state police; and (iii) positions where the aging process interferes with the individual’s ability to perform the physical functions of the position.

Next Meeting

The next meeting of the joint subcommittee will be held on Tuesday, October 19th, at 1:00 p.m. in House Room D of the General Assembly building. At this meeting, the joint subcommittee will receive comment from the public in regard to VaLORS membership. Individuals wishing to speak at the public hearing should call Mark Vucci or David Rosenberg at the Division of Legislative Services, (804) 786-3591, to sign up or e-mail MVucci@leg.state.va.us. It is requested that one representative of each interested group address the subcommittee with brief comments.

The Hon. Lacey E. Putney

For information, contact:
Mark Vucci
Division of Legislative Services


Division of Legislative Services > Legislative Record > 2004 


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