HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.B. NO.

1292

THIRTY-FIRST LEGISLATURE, 2021

H.D. 1

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

RELATING TO HAWAII NATIONAL GUARD RETIREMENT BENEFITS.

 

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 


SECTION 1. The legislature finds that not only is climate change real, but it is the overriding challenge of the twenty‑first century and one of the priority issues of the legislature. Climate change poses immediate and long-term threats to the State's economy, sustainability, security, and way of life.

The legislature recognizes that the fourth national climate assessment, released in November 2018 by the United States global change research program, analyzed the effects of climate change on the environment, economy, and human health, and reported the trends in global change with projected major trends for the coming decade through the end of the twenty-first century. Chapter 27 of the assessment describes climate-related risks for Hawaii and the United States-affiliated Pacific Islands and increased hazards ranging from increased storm frequency, episodic flooding, increased precipitation, drought, and wildfire.

The legislature further finds that the Hawaii National Guard's state active duty activation rates have increased along with the increase of local hazards relating to Hawaii's changing climate. In 2017, United States General Joseph L. Lengyel, Chief of the National Guard Bureau and member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, acknowledged that America's climate is changing, and hazardous storms are "becoming bigger, larger, and more violent." General Lengyel acknowledged that the national guard serves as "the military domestic response force."

The legislature also finds that the Hawaii national guard was activated multiple times to provide disaster response under the emergency proclamation for Kauai flooding in 2018 and the lava emergency proclamation in 2018 and was extended multiple times through supplemental emergency proclamations. These state active duty activations led Hawaii national guard members to serve for as long as six months of continuous service.

The legislature additionally finds that states including Alabama, California, Michigan, and Texas have expanded retirement benefits for national guard members who have been activated by their respective state governor through state active duty orders.

The purpose of this Act is to:

(1) Provide for service credit for time in service when military personnel are called to active duty in the State;

(2) Include members of the Hawaii National Guard ordered into active service by the governor within the definition of "employee" under certain circumstances, for purposes of the state deferred compensation retirement plan; and

(3) Require the department of human resources development to conduct a study and recommend state retirement benefits for Hawaii National Guard members who are activated under state active duty orders and Hawaii National Guard members who are retired.

SECTION 2. Chapter 88, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to part II, subpart E, to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"88-    Credit for military service; active duty. When ordered to active duty in the State, military personnel shall receive service credit for time in service while serving on active duty. This service credit shall count toward retirement if the individual is also a current state or county employee."

SECTION 3. Section 88F-1, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending the definition of "employee" to read as follows:

""Employee" means a part-time, temporary, seasonal or casual employee, as defined by rules of the board of trustees, who is not eligible to participate in the employees' retirement system of the State under chapter 88. "Employee" shall include any member of the Hawaii National Guard for a period of active service that begins when the member has been ordered into active service by the governor pursuant to section 121-30 and ends when the member is relieved from duty by order of the proper authority pursuant to section 121-29."

SECTION 4. (a) The department of human resources development shall conduct a study on retirement benefits for Hawaii National Guard members who are activated under state active duty orders and Hawaii National Guard members who are retired.

(b) The study shall, at minimum:

(1) Review and summarize retirement benefits policies and programs provided by other states for national guard members activated under state active duty orders and national guard members who are retired;

(2) Recommend a program with policies to provide Hawaii National Guard members with retirement benefits for any future activations under state active duty orders and retroactive retirement benefits from the events related to the emergency proclamations in 2018; provided that the department of human resources development finds that such a program is viable and feasible; and

(3) Identify and recommend any potential legislation that is necessary to provide retirement benefits to Hawaii National Guard members activated by state active duty orders and Hawaii National Guard members who are retired.

(c) The department of human resources development shall submit a report to the legislature detailing the findings and recommendations of the study, including any proposed legislation, no later than twenty days prior to the convening of the regular session of 2022.

SECTION 5. There is appropriated out of the general revenues of the State of Hawaii the sum of $           or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2021-2022 for the study and report required pursuant to section 4 of this Act.

The sum appropriated shall be expended by the department of human resources development for the purposes of this Act.

SECTION 6. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 7. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 3050.


 


 

Report Title:

Department of Human Resources Development; National Guard; Service Credit; Deferred Compensation; Study; Appropriation

 

Description:

Provides for ERS service credit for time in service when military personnel are called to active duty in the State. Includes members of the Hawaii National Guard ordered into active service by the governor in the definition of "employee" under certain circumstances, for purposes of the state deferred compensation retirement plan. Requires the department of human resources development to conduct a study on retirement benefits for National Guard members who are activated under state active duty orders and National Guard members who are retired; recommend a program with policies to provide Hawaii National Guard members with retirement benefits; and submit findings and recommendations, including potential legislation, to the legislature prior to the regular session of 2022. Appropriates funds. Effective 7/1/3050. (HD1)

 

 

 

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