THE SENATE

S.B. NO.

912

THIRTY-FIRST LEGISLATURE, 2021

S.D. 1

STATE OF HAWAII

H.D. 1

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

RELATING TO THE EMPLOYEES' RETIREMENT SYSTEM.

 

 

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

 


SECTION 1. The legislature finds that Hawaii is one of thirteen states, including the District of Columbia, that does not have a law that governs the forfeiture of public pensions for public employees who are convicted of a felony. The legislature further finds that while existing law requires an employee of the State or county who is convicted of a felony to have their employment terminated, the employee is still entitled to receive benefits from the employees' retirement system. Public employees who have been convicted of a felony that is directly related to the employee's position or duties ultimately lose the trust of the public by misusing their position and should no longer be eligible to receive benefits accrued during their employment with the State or county.

The purpose of this Act is to allow a court to order the forfeiture of one half of an employee's retirement benefits upon a determination by the court that the employee has been convicted of a felony that the court finds to be related to the employee's state or county employment and to allow the designated beneficiaries to receive one half of the benefits they are entitled to receive after the death of the retirant who committed the felony unless the beneficiary is convicted of a felony based on the same set of circumstances as the employee.

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

"88-    Forfeiture of benefits; felony convictions. (a) If a member, former member, or retirant is convicted of a felony and the court finds that the felony is related to the employment of the member, former member, or retirant by the State or any county, the court may order, as a civil penalty pursuant to section 706-605(8), a forfeiture by the member, former member, or retirant of one half of any:

(1) Interest;

(2) Hypothetical account balance in excess of the amount representing any employee contributions made by or on behalf of the member, former member, or retirant;

(3) Pension;

(4) Annuity; or

(5) Retirement allowance,

to which the member, former member, or retirant may otherwise be entitled under this chapter; provided that upon the death of the member, former member, or retirant, the designated beneficiary of the member, former member, or retirant shall receive the reduced benefits to which the member, former member, or retirant would be entitled under this section; provided further that designated beneficiaries who are convicted of a felony based on the same set of circumstances as the member, former member, or retirant who were subject to civil penalty under this section, shall not receive any benefits.

(b) Upon receipt of a certified copy of the order decreeing forfeiture, the system shall comply with the order and shall reduce payment to the member, former member, or retirant as provided in the order until such time as the system receives a certified copy of the order to:

(1) Resume full payments to the member, former member, or retirant; or

(2) Quash or reverse the order of forfeiture.

The system shall not be required to make inquiry into the propriety of the order of forfeiture or recoup any payments made to the member, former member, or retirant prior to receipt by the system of the order of forfeiture.

(c) For the purposes of this section, a felony is "related to the employment" of an employee of the State or a county if the employee uses or attempts to use the employee's official position to commit the felony, including:

(1) Felonies in which state or county time, equipment, or other facilities are used in the commission of the felony;

(2) Bribery;

(3) Embezzlement, theft, or other unlawful taking, receiving, retaining, or failing to account properly for any property or funds that belong to the State, any county, or any department, bureau, board, or other agency thereof; or

(4) Felonies committed against a person over whom the employee, in the course of the employee's duties, exercises custody or supervision.

(d) This section shall not impair or diminish benefits accrued prior to the effective date of this section.

(e) This section shall not apply to accrued retirement benefits that are nonforfeitable pursuant to sections 88-73(f), 88-281(g), and 88-331(f)."

SECTION 3. This Act does not affect rights and duties that matured, penalties that were incurred, and proceedings that were begun before its effective date.

SECTION 4. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 5. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2050.



 

Report Title:

Employees' Retirement System; Retirement Benefits; Felony Convictions; Forfeiture

 

Description:

Authorizes a court to order the forfeiture of one half of the employees' retirement system (ERS) benefits of an ERS member, former member, or retirant upon conviction of the individual for a felony related to the state or county employment of the individual. Authorizes designated beneficiaries to receive the ERS benefits to which the member, former member, or retirant would be entitled under this section upon the death of the member, former member, or retirant. Prohibits designated beneficiaries convicted of a felony under the same set of circumstances as the member, former member, or retirant who was subject to forfeiture of ERS benefits from receiving benefits. Effective 7/1/2050. (HD1)

 

 

 

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